Article: Engaging With the Community to Promote Physical Activity in Urban Neighborhoods

Posted by American Journal of Health Promotion on February 26, 2019

Purpose: To describe perceptions of physical activity, opinions, on intergenerational approaches to physical activity and a vision for increasing physical activity in an underresourced urban community. Approach: Focus groups embedded in a large Community-Based Participatory Research Project. Setting: West and Southwest Philadelphia. Participants: 15 parents, 16 youth, and 14 athletic coaches; youth were 13 to 18 years old and attended West Philadelphia schools; parents’ children attended West Philadelphia schools; and coaches worked in West Philadelphia schools. Methods: Six focus groups (2 youth, 2 parent, and 2 coach) were conducted guided by the Socio-Ecological Model; transcriptions were analyzed using a rigorous process of directed content analysis. Results: Factors on all levels of the Socio-Ecological Model influence the perception of and engagement in physical activity for youth and their families. Future strategies to increase engagement in physical activity need to be collaborative and multifaceted. Conclusion: When physical activity is reframed as a broad goal that is normative and gender-neutral, a potential exists to engage youth and their families over their lifetimes; with attention to cross-sector collaboration and resource sharing, engaging and sustainable intergenerational physical activity interventions can be developed to promote health in underresourced urban communities.

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