Using Photovoice to Explore Nigerian Immigrants’ Eating and Physical Activity in the United States

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Abstract

Purpose:

African immigrants are one of the fastest growing immigrant groups to the United States; there is a crucial need to learn about African immigrants’ beliefs and lifestyle behaviors that may impact health. The purposes of this study were to (a) explore the perceptions and practices of Nigerian immigrants regarding healthy eating and physical activity in the United States; (b) assess the influence of cultural beliefs of Nigerian immigrants on eating and physical activity; (c) describe the role that healthcare providers can play in helping to promote healthy eating and physical activity; and (d) evaluate the feasibility and efficacy of using Photovoice to collect data on the perceptions and practices of Nigerian immigrants regarding healthy eating and physical activity.

Design:

Qualitative visual ethnography using Photovoice.

Methods:

Thirteen Nigerian immigrants were recruited. Data were collected using photography and focus group discussions at a church. Photovoice methodology and Leininger's four phases of qualitative analysis were used to analyze photographs, field notes, and focus group transcripts.

Findings:

Four overarching themes emerged from the data: moderation is healthy, Nigerian ways of living are healthy, acquiring American ways is unhealthy, and cultural context is important to promote healthy behaviors.

Conclusions:

Photovoice was a feasible, effective methodology for collecting data on the perceptions and practices of Nigerian immigrants. Nigerian participants believed that adherence to traditional dietary and activity practices are healthy. Nurses and other healthcare providers must make concerted efforts to communicate with and educate Nigerian immigrants about healthful eating and activity behaviors within their cultural context.

Clinical Relevance:

The number of African immigrants to the United States has increased dramatically. Photovoice is a creative method to learn about the health beliefs and behaviors of the Nigerian immigrant population.

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