The perception of physical activity and social support for physical activity among Native Hawaiians 55 Years and older
Verna Hanashiro, PhD, RN, APRN, GNP-BC
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Significance: The benefits of physical activity on healthy aging and longevity have repeatedly been identified. Despite these known benefits, sedentary living is a serious and pervasive health problem among older adults throughout the United States, including the Native Hawaiian older adult population in Hawaii. Previous research has identified social support as a major facilitator for participation in physical activity. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the perception of physical activity and social support for physical activity among Native Hawaiians 55 years of age and older. Method: This qualitative, exploratory study involved an ethnographic approach utilizing two focus groups consisting of a purposive sample of 8 to 9 Native Hawaiian participants, ranging in age from 67 to 89 years, recruited from two separate rural Oahu, Hawaii communities surrounding two health centers that focus on Native Hawaiian health care. The study also included participant observation at a nutritional and recreational program for Native Hawaiians over the age of 60. Key members of the health centers, nutrition and exercise program, and the Native Hawaiian community were involved in planning the study, recruiting participants, and validation of data. Results: The five domains of culture, physical activity, social support, exercise, and purpose in life emerged from the study data. The following four major cultural themes emerged from the data of the domains: 1) It is necessary to maintain health (ola pono) to achieve the main purpose in life of helping (kokua) and caring for (malama) others and continuing to perpetuate the Native Hawaiian culture by practicing and sharing Native Hawaiian cultural values and practices with others. 2) Participation in physical activity is necessary to maintain optimal health and function, and 3) culturally sensitive social support and 4) an environment or “place” supportive of culturally congruent physical activity is essential to encourage participation in physical activity. Implications: This study can serve as formative research for future studies with the aims of developing culturally congruent Native Hawaiian interventions and programs, and developing or adapting instruments to measure social support as a motivator for participation in physical activity by Native Hawaiian older adults.
This dissertation has also been disseminated through the ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. Dissertation/thesis number: 3520681; ProQuest document ID: 1041059700. The author still retains copyright.
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