This study explores healthy aging and health promotion preferences, practices and perceptions of African-American and Ethiopian older adults. Participants completed a questionnaire linked to three levels relevant to an ecological framework: individual, interpersonal and community or environmental. Results indicate that the ecological environments of African-Americans and Ethiopian senior were quite different. African-American elders’ conception of healthy aging related to preserving their independence while Ethiopian elders indicated a holistic view that included close ties with extended family members. Both groups reported high levels of spirituality and belief in God. Other similarities and differences are discussed. This study points to the importance of industrialized and developing countries understanding the needs and perfections of elders as they shape flexible and responsive policy and programs for global health promotion.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Alford, P., & Nunn, P. (2004). Aging well-being: African-American women & health promotion. The Gerontologist, 44(1), 292.
Best, A., Stokols, D., Green, L. W., Leischow, S., Holmes, & Buchholz, K. (2003). An integrative framework for community partnering to translate theory into effective health promotion strategy. American Journal of Health Promotion, 18(2), 168–176.
Bongaarts, J., & Zimmer, Z. (2002). Living arrangements of older adults in the developing world: an analysis of demographic and health survey household surveys. The Journals of Gerontology, 57B(3), S145–S157.
Campbell, M., Motsinger, B., Ingram, A., Jewell, D., Makarushka, C., Beatty, B., et al. (2000). The North Carolina Black Churches United for Better Health project: intervention and process evaluation. Health Education and Behavior, 27(2), 241.
Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. Los Angeles: Sage.
Collins, C. A., Decker, S. I., & Esquibel, K. (2006). Definitions of health: comparison of Hispanic and African-American elders. Journal of Multicultural Nursing & Health, 12(1), 14.
Corwin, S. J., Laditka, J. N., B, L. S., S, W., & Liu, R. (2009). Attitudes on aging well among older African-Americans and whites in South Carolina. Prev Chronic Dis, 6(4):A113.
Dancy, J., & Ralston, P. A. (2002). Health promotion and black elders: subgroups of greatest need. Research on Aging, 24(2), 218–242.
Darkwa, O. (2006). Older adults in developing nations in handbook of social work in health and aging. In B. Berkman & S. D’ Ambruoso (Eds.), Handbook of social work in health and aging (pp. 967–972). New York: Oxford University Press.
Faye, O. (2007). Basic pensions and poverty reductions in Sub-Saharan Africa. CREPP Working Paper. HEC Management School—University of Liege, Department of Economics. 1–21. Retrieved, http://www2.ulg.ac.be/crepp/papers/crepp-wp200707.pdf.
Kirby, J. B., & Kaneda, T. (2006). Access to health care: does neighborhood residential instability matter? Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 47(2), 142–155.
Marshall, V. W., & Altpeter, M. (2005). Cultivating social work leadership in health promotion and aging: strategies for active aging interventions. Health & Social Work, 30(2), 135.
McKeehan, N. M., Trettin, L. P., & May, J. M. (2008). Improving access to health information in Rural South Carolina. Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 19(2), 484.
McLaren, L., & Hawe, P. (2005). Ecological perspectives in health research. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 59, 6–14.
McLeroy, K. R., Bibeau, D., Steckler, A., & Glanz, K. (1988). An ecological perspective on health promotion programs. Health Education Quarterly, 15, 351–377.
Okojie, F. (1988). Aging in sub-Saharan Africa: toward a redefinition of needs research and policy directions. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 3, 3–19.
Purcell, P. (2009). Income of Americans Aged 65 and Older, 1968 to 2008. Congressional Research Service, 7–5700. Retrieved http://assets.opencrs.com/rpts/RL33387_20091104.pdf.
Quandt, S., Chen, H., Bell, R., Anderson, A., Savoca, M., Kohrman, T., et al. (2009). Disparities in oral health status between older adults in a multiethnic rural community: the Rural Nutrition and Oral Health Study. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 57(8), 1369.
Reid, L., Hatch, J., & Parrish, T. (2003). American church health programs: what works. Journal of Christian Nursing, 27, 2.
Satcher, D., Fryer, G. E., McCann, J., Troutman, A., Woolf, S. H., & Rust, G. (2005). What if we were equal? a comparison of the Black-White mortality gap in 1960 and 2000. Health Affairs, 24(2), 459–464. doi:10.1377/hlthaff.24.2.459.
Sparks, P. (2010). Per capita income around the world. Retrieved, http://www.success-and-culture.net/articles/percapitaincome.shtml.
U. S. Census. (2010). American fact finder, Retrieved from http://www.factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=raleigh&_cityTown=raleigh&_state=04000US37&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010.
U. S. Census Bureau. (2006–2008). American community survey, retrieved http://www.census.gov/acs/www/.
U.S. Census. (2000). Wake county demographic population and census, http://www.factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=wake+county&_cityTown=wake+county&_state=04000US37&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010.
U.S. Census Bureau. (2010). Fast facts and figures about social security, 2009 Social Security Administration. Retrieved, http://www.ssa.gov/policy/docs/chartbooks/fast_facts/2009/fast_facts09.html.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health & National Institute on Aging. (2007). Population Aging in Sub-Saharan Africa: demographic dimensions 2006.1-38.
Walcott-McQuigg, J. A., & Prochaska, T. R. (2001). Factors influencing participation of African-American elders in exercise behavior. Public Health Nursing, 18, 194–203.
World Health Organization, HelpAge International, & U.S. National Institute on Aging. (2002). Information needs for research, policy and action on aging and older adults.
World Health Organization. (n.d.) Health statistics and health information systems. www.who.int/healthinfo/survey/aeingdefnolder/en/index.html.
Zimmer, Z., & Martin, L. G. (2007). Key topics in the study of older adult health in developing countries that are experiencing population aging. Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, 22, 235–241.
Conflict of interest
Dr. Cheryl Waites and Dr. Durrenda Onolemhemhen declare that they have no conflict of interest.
As there is no person or personal data appearing in the paper, there is no one from whom a permission should be obtained in order to publish personal data.
Ethical Treatment of Experimental Subjects (Animal and Human)
No animal or human studies were carried out by the authors for this article.
About this article
Cite this article
Waites, C.E., Onolemhemhen, D.N. Perceptions of Healthy Aging among African-American and Ethiopian Elders. Ageing Int 39, 369–384 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12126-014-9203-1