The Effect of a Walking Program on Perceived Benefits and Barriers to Exercise in Postmenopausal African American Women

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Abstract

Purpose:

Rates of exercise participation among African Americans is low. Identifying and overcoming perceived benefits/barriers unique to African American women (AAW) may increase their exercise participation. The purpose of this study was to describe perceived benefits/barriers to exercise in AAW before and after participation in a walking program.

Method:

Thirty-five postmenopausal AAW participated in a 7-week structured walking program with 2 walking goals. Perceived benefits and barriers to exercise were assessed using the Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale at the beginning and end of the program. Participants engaged in a postintervention interview to further assess benefits/barriers to exercise participation.

Results:

Perceived benefits/barriers to exercise did not change significantly with participation in a walking program. Lack of time due to work and family responsibilities affected achievement of the brisk walking goal.

Conclusions:

Postmenopausal AAW in this study strongly believed in the benefits of exercising and had increased levels of participation in a walking program when lack of time was not a barrier. Overcoming this barrier is the true challenge to health care professionals.

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