Priscilla J. Murphy, a discussion facilitator and former nurse educator for a Medicaid managed care provider, explored the practices, knowledge and attitudes regarding physical activity through four focus groups: mothers on welfare, chronically ill adults, senior citizens and low-income, minority women.
These and other underserved groups often experience unique challenges—both environmental and individual—to becoming physically active. To inform its work in health and behavior, RWJF wanted to understand the circumstances that contribute to and hinder the creation of physical-activity-friendly communities and underserved populations' participation in physical activities.
Murphy conducted four focus group sessions in predominantly low-income, minority areas in and near Philadelphia, Pa., asking the participants nine questions about their physical-activity practices and preferences and what incentives, messages and neighborhood changes might motivate them to exercise more. Each session lasted approximately two hours and was made up of 10 to 15 individuals recruited from one of the four groups.
In addition to transcribing the tape-recorded sessions, the project director provided RWJF with brief summaries/analyses of the groups' responses, including the following: