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

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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.


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.


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.


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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