Health Promotion Programs and Healthy Lifestyle: First Generation African Black Males' Perspectives

HSOA J Community Med Public Health Care. 2015;2(1):005. doi: 10.24966/cmph-1978/100005. Epub 2015 Jun 10.


Background: It is well documented that black males are more likely to suffer from heart disease, type II diabetes, hypertension, and other chronic diseases than any other racial group in the United States. It is also undeniable fact that physical activity, healthy eating behavior, and accessing routine medical checkups can help prevent or control some of those chronic diseases. However, little is known about black African males' physical activity, nutritional and health screening behaviors in the US. Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to determine the first generation black African males' perceptions, beliefs and attitudes about healthy lifestyle and preventive care and culturally appropriate way to promote health promotion programs among them.

Methods: Convenient sample and snowball methods were used to recruit 50 (mean age=38 years) first generation black African males to participate in an one hour long face-to-face interview. Fifteen semi-structured open ended questions were used but there were other follow-up questions. The interview data were descriptively analyzed to find trends.

Results: The study reveals obesity and overweight problem among the participants. However, most of the participants; lead sedentary behavior, engage in poor eating habit, and do not access routine physical checkups. More than half (n=28) of the participants reported that they do not do exercise or engage in physical activities because of: lack of time, laziness, lack of discipline, and lack of understanding of the importance of physical activities. Some of the participants also indicated that having a physical activity regimen is foreign to their African culture. Most of the respondents reported that they do not eat balanced diet regularly and most of their daily food intake contains too much carbohydrate. In addition, they eat similar food almost every day, skip meals which results in eating large portion size at irregular eating time. On accessing routine health screening behaviors, most respondents stated lack of trust in the healthcare system, the fear of knowing their health status, lack of health insurance were some of the reasons that prevent them from accessing regular health screening.

Conclusion: Healthy lifestyle promotion programs which are based on the culture of first generation black African males stand a better chance of having a greater impact on this targeted population as opposed to a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

Keywords: Black African males; Eating behavior; Health screening; Physical activity.