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Physical Activity Education for Adults with Refugee Background in the United States

Objectives: This qualitative project aimed at examining factors preventing or promoting practice of frequent exercising among diverse refugee groups resettled in a metropolitan area in the Intermountain region. Methods: A total of 4 education sessions on physical exercises were successfully offered to individuals with refugee background who were interested in this topic. Pre- and post-class surveys, field notes, and focus group questionnaire were developed based on the Health Belief Model. Focus group discussions were conducted at the end of each education session. A total of 7 participants completed pre- and post-class surveys and 6 participants joined focused group discussions. In addition, there were physical activity class participants who were not eligible for the survey and a focus group. Results: The study revealed four important findings. Participants were knowledgeable of the health benefits of frequent exercising. Busy schedule, low energy, not knowing the importance of physical activity, pain, and unawareness of local resources were identified as barriers for not practicing exercise more often. Most participants indicated that they needed more physical activity and planned on adding more exercises to their daily activities. Participants expressed cultural differences in practice of physical exercise before and after they resettled in the US. Conclusion: This study provided insights on physical activity practice among a group of refugees resettled in the US. Future interventions should focus on providing a comprehensive education session, in combination with developing communitybased programs aiming at creating new or improving existing resources and facilities that are culturally appropriate for refugees from diverse background.


Ha N. Trinh, Hsien-Wen Meng, Mitch Johansen, Kai Sin, Naveen Rathi, Kimiya Nourian, Sayro Paw and Akiko Kamimura

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