Does weight status influence perceptions of physical activity barriers among African-American women?

Jeanine M. Genkinger, Megan L. Jehn, Marcella Sapun, Iris Mabry, Deborah Rohm Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background: Many African-American women fail to participate in regular physical activity. Weight status may influence physical activity barriers. This study examined the frequency and type of barriers. Methods: Participants in this study were enrolled in Project EXE-L (Exercising Ladies Excel), a six-month, church-based, randomized trial of moderate-intensity physical activity based in Baltimore city and county in Maryland. Participants were composed of African-American women who attended one of the participating churches, had friends who were church members, or who lived in neighborhoods surrounding one of the churches. Individuals who were between the ages of 25 and 70 years, were not regularly physically active (defined as not engaging in moderate-intensity activity more than three times per week), and were able to participate in moderate-intensity activity met eligibility criteria to participate in the trial. Barriers to physical activity were evaluated with the Steinhardt/Dishman Barriers for Habitual Physical Activity Scale at baseline. Results: One hundred twenty women were classified as normal weight (body mass index [BMI]: <25 kg/m2), overweight (BMI: 25-29.9 kg/m2), or obese (BMI: ≥30 kg/m2). Obese participants were more likely to report "lack of motivation" as a barrier compared with normal-weight participants (63% vs 31%). Normal-weight and overweight participants were more likely to report no barriers compared with the obese (31%, 0%, 5%, respectively, P<.05). Conclusions: Barriers for African-American women may vary by BMI status. By defining these unique barriers, effective physical activity interventions can be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)78-84
Number of pages7
JournalEthnicity and Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • African-American women
  • Barriers
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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