Physical Activity in Older Women of Color

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The percentage of adults over age 65 is growing faster among racial and ethnic groups than among non-Hispanic whites. Among older women of color, morbidity and mortality rates for many chronic diseases are higher and rates of leisure time physical activity (PA) are lower. This article explores the challenges of assessing PA and reviews studies examining barriers to and enablers of PA in older women of color. Although research is limited, self-efficacy, social support, attitudes/outcome expectancies, enjoyment, perceived barriers, and health-related factors are important influences. In addition, the literature describes cultural-specific factors, including the values and meanings associated with PA and "leisure time," a "rest ethic," body satisfaction, cultural traditions, and appropriateness of activities. The article highlights interventions using cultural traditions and beliefs as springboards for health promotion.

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