LatinaLista — When it comes to exercise among Latinas, there is definitely a generation gap. Latinas who are young and into their body image tend to hit the gym and the running trails either on a religious or semi-religious basis.
Latinas, who trend a little older, say in their 40s, 50s and 60s, may not be as driven to work out with such intensity as younger Latinas. Not that they don't want to look good but running around taking care of the family and working either in or outside the home takes its toll on just how much energy is left over to work up another sweat for the sake of their health.
It's this kind of attitude that Dr. Im from the University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing wants to know about. She's conducting an Internet study on the attitudes of different ethnic women, from 40-60-years of age, towards physical activity.
"The more women that we can recruit to participate will make our data more complete," wrote Chelsea McPeek, Dr. Im's research assistant, in an email to Latina Lista. "Each woman's unique opinions and experiences will help us to identify cultural trends in physical activity attitudes. This information will help us to improve the communication between health care professionals and minority midlife women. Hispanic women are particularly important for this study because the Hispanic population is rapidly expanding in the United States."
It will take about 30 minutes to complete the online questionnaire and people who do participate will be reimbursed with a $10 gift certificate. An additional $50 is available for those who participate over a six month period in the online discussion forums. The only stipulation is that the woman cannot have any mobility issues.
In other words, a bad knee or hip that would prevent a woman from exercising wouldn't be a good candidate for this study.
As Dr. Im's assistant noted, the Latina population is rising quickly and it's in the community's best interest to help researchers get as complete a picture as possible of Latina attitudes towards exercise to formulate the most effective programs to help future older Latinas.
The changing racial and ethnic makeup of the U.S. will require health professionals to practice with cultural competence in areas such as promotion of physical activity, where cultural beliefs may mediate health promotion behaviors.
Although the benefits of physical activity are now widely accepted, midlife women, especially ethnic minority women, have low participation rates in physical activity, and prevalence rates of cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and hypertension, and all-cause mortality among ethnic minority women (that can be effectively reduced by increasing physical activity) have been reported to be much higher than those of White midlife women.
A plausible reason for the low participation rate is that the women's ethnic-specific attitudes toward physical activity have rarely been incorporated into relevant interventions.
If you or someone you know fits the study's criteria, please go to the online survey site and start the process.