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Somali women's view of physical activity - a focus group study

Persson, Gerthi LU ; Mahmud, Amina Jama; Ekvall-Hansson, Eva LU and Strandberg, Eva-Lena LU (2014) In BMC Women's Health 14.
Abstract
Background: Physical inactivity presents a major public health challenge and is estimated to cause six to ten percent of the major non-communicable diseases. Studies show that immigrants, especially women, have an increased risk of non-communicable diseases compared to ethnic Swedes. Somali immigrant women have increased rates of overweight and obesity, low fitness levels and low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness compared to non-immigrant women. These findings suggest that Somali women are at increased risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases. Few studies explore determinants of physical activity among Somali women. The aim of this study was to explore Somali women's views and experiences of physical activity after migration to... (More)
Background: Physical inactivity presents a major public health challenge and is estimated to cause six to ten percent of the major non-communicable diseases. Studies show that immigrants, especially women, have an increased risk of non-communicable diseases compared to ethnic Swedes. Somali immigrant women have increased rates of overweight and obesity, low fitness levels and low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness compared to non-immigrant women. These findings suggest that Somali women are at increased risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases. Few studies explore determinants of physical activity among Somali women. The aim of this study was to explore Somali women's views and experiences of physical activity after migration to Sweden. Methods: A qualitative focused ethnographic approach was used in this study. Four focus groups were conducted with twenty-six Somali women ranging from 17 to 67 years of age. Focus group discussions were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: The analysis resulted in four main themes and ten categories: Life in Somalia and Life in Sweden, Understanding and enhancing health and Facilitators and barriers to physical activity. Great differences were seen between living in Somalia and in Sweden but also similarities such as finding time to manage housework, the family and the health of the woman. The extended family is non-existent in Sweden, making life more difficult. Health was considered a gift from God but living a healthy life was perceived as the responsibility of the individual. Misconceptions about enhancing health occurred depending on the woman's previous life experience and traditions. There was an awareness of the importance of physical activity among the participants but lack of knowledge of how to enhance activity on an individual basis. Enhancing factors to an active lifestyle were identified as being a safe and comfortable environment. Conclusions: Some barriers, such as climate, lack of motivation and time are universal barriers to an active lifestyle, but some factors, such as tradition and religion, are distinctive for Somali women. Since traditional Somali life never involves leisure-time physical activity, one cannot expect to compensate for the low daily activity level with leisure-time activity the Swedish way. Immigrant Somali women are a heterogeneous group with individual needs depending on age, education and background. Tailored interventions with respect to Somali traditions are necessary to achieve an actual increase in physical activity among migrant women of Somalian origin. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Migration, Focus group, Physical activity, Primary health care, Somalia, Women
in
BMC Women's Health
volume
14
publisher
BioMed Central
external identifiers
  • wos:000345715300001
  • scopus:84928793485
ISSN
1472-6874
DOI
10.1186/1472-6874-14-129
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d7b96bd5-08e9-412b-8cc2-17b09cf080c8 (old id 4982538)
date added to LUP
2015-02-03 07:10:10
date last changed
2017-02-26 03:57:22
@article{d7b96bd5-08e9-412b-8cc2-17b09cf080c8,
  abstract     = {Background: Physical inactivity presents a major public health challenge and is estimated to cause six to ten percent of the major non-communicable diseases. Studies show that immigrants, especially women, have an increased risk of non-communicable diseases compared to ethnic Swedes. Somali immigrant women have increased rates of overweight and obesity, low fitness levels and low levels of cardiorespiratory fitness compared to non-immigrant women. These findings suggest that Somali women are at increased risk of developing lifestyle-related diseases. Few studies explore determinants of physical activity among Somali women. The aim of this study was to explore Somali women's views and experiences of physical activity after migration to Sweden. Methods: A qualitative focused ethnographic approach was used in this study. Four focus groups were conducted with twenty-six Somali women ranging from 17 to 67 years of age. Focus group discussions were recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed using qualitative content analysis. Results: The analysis resulted in four main themes and ten categories: Life in Somalia and Life in Sweden, Understanding and enhancing health and Facilitators and barriers to physical activity. Great differences were seen between living in Somalia and in Sweden but also similarities such as finding time to manage housework, the family and the health of the woman. The extended family is non-existent in Sweden, making life more difficult. Health was considered a gift from God but living a healthy life was perceived as the responsibility of the individual. Misconceptions about enhancing health occurred depending on the woman's previous life experience and traditions. There was an awareness of the importance of physical activity among the participants but lack of knowledge of how to enhance activity on an individual basis. Enhancing factors to an active lifestyle were identified as being a safe and comfortable environment. Conclusions: Some barriers, such as climate, lack of motivation and time are universal barriers to an active lifestyle, but some factors, such as tradition and religion, are distinctive for Somali women. Since traditional Somali life never involves leisure-time physical activity, one cannot expect to compensate for the low daily activity level with leisure-time activity the Swedish way. Immigrant Somali women are a heterogeneous group with individual needs depending on age, education and background. Tailored interventions with respect to Somali traditions are necessary to achieve an actual increase in physical activity among migrant women of Somalian origin.},
  articleno    = {129},
  author       = {Persson, Gerthi and Mahmud, Amina Jama and Ekvall-Hansson, Eva and Strandberg, Eva-Lena},
  issn         = {1472-6874},
  keyword      = {Migration,Focus group,Physical activity,Primary health care,Somalia,Women},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {BioMed Central},
  series       = {BMC Women's Health},
  title        = {Somali women's view of physical activity - a focus group study},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1472-6874-14-129},
  volume       = {14},
  year         = {2014},
}