Understanding barriers to healthy behaviors in black college men

J Am Coll Health. Nov-Dec 2017;65(8):567-574. doi: 10.1080/07448481.2017.1360305. Epub 2017 Aug 4.


Objective: Due to the short life expectancy of black men, it is important to understand what impacts health behaviors in this group so that interventions and programs can be developed to improve their health behaviors which may help in increasing the life expectancy of black men. The purpose of this study was to understand what perceived barriers exist for black college men that prevent them from engaging in healthy behaviors.

Participants and methods: Thirty-five black male students at a southern Historically Black College and University participated in five focus groups and four interviews. A qualitative analysis was used to analyze data for similar themes and codes.

Results: Perceived barriers to engaging in healthy behaviors appear to be influenced by image, food cost, and education. Cues to action for not engaging in healthy behaviors appear to be related to role models.

Conclusions: Black college men are not adequately informed or educated about elements that can impact their health and how they can improve it. College administrators and researchers should develop interventions that include elements of increasing health knowledge and age-appropriate role models to improve health behavior change among this group.

Keywords: Black men; college; health behaviors; qualitative.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Attitude to Health*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Perception
  • Students / psychology*
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • United States
  • Universities / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult