Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Limited research exists on the experiences of sedentary women as they transition through menopause. This gap creates difficulty for public health practitioners as they strive to develop resources, implement programs, or influence policy change at the community level for this group of marginalized women. Keeping women healthy throughout the aging process, including menopause, improves their quality of life and decreases the impact aging has on the health care system. This phenomenological study, through in-depth interviews, provided the opportunity for sedentary women to share their thoughts and experiences of menopause. Thirteen sedentary women between the ages of 40 and 60, experiencing at least one sign of menopause and residing within a rural community in Canada, participated in the study. Analysis of the data generated themes to support and describe their experience of menopause. For this group of sedentary women, menopause signaled a significant life change, impacted by a number of internal and external forces over which they articulated varying levels of control. How women reacted to this life change and their perceived amount of control determined whether they described their menopause experience as positive or negative. While the thought of increasing their physical activity level was not appealing, there was a desire for support in numbers. If women were speaking openly about menopause, more opportunities would exist for aging women; participants desired to improve the menopause transition for all women not just women in their circle of friends. Women helping other women, improved public health programs and services, and potential policy change that encourage healthy choices at the group and community level can result in positive social change for menopausal women.