Date of Conferral





Public Health


Jeanne Connors


Physical activity is a critical factor in preventing obesity and other chronic illnesses. African American women experience higher rates of physical inactivity than the general population. As a key figure in the family, African American mothers should model healthy behaviors to the family, especially their children. This qualitative study explored the physical activity attitudes of African American mothers who frequently visit a recreation center in the Columbus, Ohio, area. The research questions focused on the possible barriers and motivators for physical activity engagement. The theory of planned behavior, which emphasizes behaviors, intentions, and attitudes when exploring health behaviors, guided the study. Purposeful sampling was applied to recruit a sample of 17 African American mothers over the age of 18 from 5 recreation centers. Participants who met inclusion criteria participated in a semi-structured one-on-one interview. Data were analyzed by hand coding and NVivo to capture and analyze themes, including (a) physical movement, (b) physical health, (c) environment, (d) schedule, (e) physical appearance, and (f) well-being. The findings indicated that African American mothers are aware of the value of physical activity for themselves and their families. However, personal responsibilities may prevent them from engaging in regular physical activity. The study contributes to social change by providing community center directors and public health professionals with information that they can use to create more culturally sensitive physical activity interventions.