The Relationship Between Faith-based Support And Physical Activity Levels Among African American Women In Faith Communities
Johnson, Sharon Taylor
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Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for death worldwide, and is a major contributor for a number of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and cancer in the United States (CDC, 2014; World Health Organization, 2010). This public health problem is more prevalent among African American women who have been diagnosed with chronic health conditions and live sedentary lifestyles. Therefore, identifying strategies that contribute to improving physical activity levels are warranted for this population. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between participation in faith-based groups and physical activity levels among African American women in faith communities. The Health Promotion Model was used as the theoretical framework to explore how motivational significance of physical and psychosocial variables influence health behavioral outcomes. A descriptive correlational design was conducted using a convenience sample of 115 African American women 21 - 64 years of age. The participants were recruited from eight predominantly African American faith communities located in north-central Texas. Demographics, health conditions, and health promoting physical activity data were collected at baseline. Then participants were instructed to record their faith-based group participation and pedometer readings on a daily tracking record over a 14 consecutive day study period. Data were then collected at the end of the study period. Bivariate analyses using the Pearson Product-Moment Correlation Coefficient, revealed a significant association between participation in faith-based groups r(79) = .282, p = .011 and pedometer readings. Correlational findings using the Spearman's Rank Correlation Coefficient revealed faith-based support approached statistical significance rs(79) = .215, p = .053 with pedometer readings. Education rs(112) = .252, p = .007 and income rs(109) = .285, p = .002 were significantly associated with the health promoting physical activity subscale mean scores of the Health Promoting Lifestyle Profile II questionnaire. Health promoting physical activity scores were significantly and negatively associated rs(115) = -.299, p = .001 with current health conditions. Examining the impact of social and cultural approaches to physical activity participation would contribute to the current body of knowledge, and identify strategies that contribute to improving health promoting physical activity practices. The implications for the study revealed that inadequate progression has been made to improve physical activity levels in African American women, and that future research is warranted for exploring increased physical activity participation and decreased attrition rates in at risk populations.