A Qualitative Examination of Health Barriers and Facilitators Among African American Mothers in a Subsidized Housing Community

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Abstract

Although African American families are at particular risk for obesity and its associated health comorbidities, few interventions have directly targeted low-income members of this group living in subsidized public housing. Using a consensual qualitative research approach, we conducted 11 interviews with African American mothers living in two public housing communities to enhance understanding of their perceived barriers and facilitators to health. Five primary domains emerged, including barriers (access, financial, personal, and neighborhood concerns), resources (personal and community), current behaviors (diet, physical activity, and program participation), definition of health (mental well-being, physical well-being, and health behaviors), and needs/interests in programming (health behavior-specific programs, non–health-related programs, child-focused programming, and qualities of programs and their leaders). Results demonstrate the complex interaction among social, environmental, and personal factors on health behaviors for this priority population, and highlight the need for community members’ involvement in the development of community-based obesity prevention programming.

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