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Table 4 Summary of the themes that emerged during the focus groups discussion on materials pertaining to physical activity promotion and aging

From: The need to modify physical activity messages to better speak to older African American women: a pilot study

Theme Brief theme description Sample quotes
1. We may have trouble in reading it This theme represents the perceptions of older African American women towards the PA materials presented to them during the focus group discussion. Perceptions varied among the three materials. Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults:
“… the words, need to be brought down to another level, I think that some of it could be a little elevated for some people… if the seniors, they may be having problems with the reading… so they can’t relate or read all those words…some African American descendent would have trouble with this… it’s way too much information, it’s information overloaded…” (72 years - Inactive)
Briefly, the Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults was not appealing to the women in both focus groups because of the difficult language, technical terminology and information overload.
The “Be Active Your Way” was considered a mid-point in regarding preference between the three because it brings a compact message and it is more visual; despite some participants still recognize the terminology used as challenging. Be Active Your Way:
“… It’s a little bit more condensed than the CDC paper and it doesn’t give you what the, all the wordings that the CDC paper does… it’s a little bit easier to read…” (66 years - Inactive)
At the other end the “Exercise and Physical Activity” brochure, language was only mentioned in a positive context. “… It’s more colorful, it has perked my interest. I’m a visual learner… I like just the bar on the bottom that says, “Be active, healthy, and happy”. I think those are active words… I want to be active, healthy, and happy… (66 years - active)
Exercise and Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide:
“… I think that the instructions for the exercises are easy to read… they basically word it easy… and them of course having the illustration, kind of step by step, helps because you can actually see a picture and associated with the instructions you have… I like it because they have actually broken it down… they go in-depth, thinking about beyond a certain class of people… and make them want to read…” (65 years - Active)
2. It does not reflect us This theme represents the concern of the women from both focus groups regarding the examples of activities used in the materials. Women from both groups expressed their concern that examples of activities provided in the materials do not reflect the reality of the African American population. “…for black women… there were restrictions on the physical activity for black Americans… You couldn’t even go swimming in the pool. You were restricted. You certainly couldn’t hang out at the track in the high school and walk around the track at a high school, and be suspect. You couldn’t go to a public beach and swim…” (65 years - Active)
“… it has a lot to do with economics… looking at these lists [examples of activities provided in the materials for moderate and vigorous intensity] to me I still keep going back to the black versus white, whereas these are not the things we have thought of all of our entire lives.” (66 years - Inactive)
  1. Materials included in the focus groups discussions, Exercise and Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide; The Physical Activity Guidelines for Older Adults; and Be Active Your Way: A Guide for Adults