Identifying barriers to weight managment in native Hawaiian women

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Dickson, Poliala Mahoney
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Middle Tennessee State University
Overweight and obesity has become one of the leading public health concerns of the 21st century, especially among high risk minority populations. The cause of overweight and obesity is multifactorial, encompassing genetics, diet, and physical inactivity. However, it has become generally accepted that the combined increase in caloric intake and subsequent decrease in physical activity observed in Americans is the underlying factor for the increase being observed in all segments of the population. The purpose of this study was to conduct an exploratory analysis to identify barriers to weight maintenance, specifically those related to physical activity and healthy eating, among Native Hawaiian women. Additionally, the extent to which personal behaviors, perceived barriers, and demographic characteristics affect weight management was also examined.
To fulfill the study purpose Native Hawaiian women were recruited via social media and email to complete a 4-part web-based survey. The survey assessed demographic characteristics, physical activity, dietary behaviors, and perceived barriers to healthy eating and physical activity. To identify barriers to weight management a Chi-square automatic interaction detector (CHAID) decision tree analysis was performed.
Based on the results of the CHAID decision tree analysis the strongest barrier to weight management in Native Hawaiian women is the extent to which participants feel they lack motivation to eat a healthy diet. Another dietary variable that was identified as a strong barrier to weight management among Native Hawaiian women was the self-reported consumption of high fat processed meats. Three variables related to physical activity were identified as barriers to weight management in our sample participants. These included number of days participants walked for at least 10 minutes in the last 7 days, and the perceived lack of time due to family and job commitments.
The findings of this study that sought to identify barriers to healthy eating and physical activity has important implications for the development of well-tailored intervention and behavior change programs. This information is especially vital for practitioners looking to effect real change in the weight status of Native Hawaiians.