A formative review of physical activity interventions for minority ethnic populations in England

J Public Health (Oxf). 2017 Dec 1;39(4):e265-e274. doi: 10.1093/pubmed/fdw126.


Background: Physical activity (PA) levels are lower among some UK Black and minority ethnic (BME) groups than the majority White British population and a variety of tailored interventions have emerged. This study documents the characteristics and logic of local adaptations, a vital first step in evaluating such innovations.

Methods: An English PA data set was examined to identify and characterize PA programmes focussed on BME populations. Three case studies were conducted, employing documentary analysis and qualitative interviews. Netto et al.'s principles of adapting health promotion interventions for BME populations guided the analysis.

Results: Out of 861 PA interventions, 57 focussed on BME populations. These were typically aimed to engage the most inactive groups, improve both health and social outcomes and were largely publically/charitably funded. Tailored approaches matched Netto et al.'s five principles: using community resources for publicity, identifying and addressing barriers, developing sensitive communication strategies, working with values and accommodating cultural identification. Another common principle was identified: building community capacity for sustainability.

Conclusions: PA interventions tailored to the needs of BME groups reflect their largely disadvantaged position in society and focus on inactivity. The six principles could be used as a framework for developing, designing and evaluating tailored interventions for BME populations.

Keywords: South Asian populations; ethnicity; physical activity; tailored interventions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ethnicity*
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Minority Groups*
  • United Kingdom