Beliefs and attitudes of immigrant African Women toward physical activity and Exercise in Jyväskylä. - PDF

Beliefs and attitudes of immigrant African Women toward physical activity and Exercise in Jyväskylä. Carolyne Gichuki Claudio Scaramella Bachelor s thesis November 2015 Degree Programme in Nursing Social

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Beliefs and attitudes of immigrant African Women toward physical activity and Exercise in Jyväskylä. Carolyne Gichuki Claudio Scaramella Bachelor s thesis November 2015 Degree Programme in Nursing Social Services, Health and Sport ` Author(s) Carolyne Gichuki Claudio Scaramella Type of publication Bachelor s thesis Number of pages 44 Title of publication Beliefs and attitudes of immigrant African women towards physical activity and Exercise in Jyväskylä Degree programme Degree Programme in Nursing Tutor(s) Garbrah, William & Häyrynen, Teija Assigned by Date Language of publication: English Permission for web publication: x ` Multiculturalism has become in recent years a large part of Finnish society. In the year 2013 and 2014, a total of 31,950 people migrated to Finland. Sports, physical activities and exercise are favorable ways for integration and promoting health among immigrants in their new country. The purpose of the study is to identify the beliefs and attitudes towards physical activity and exercise among African women as well as investigate about their satisfaction and health benefits in relation to physical activities. Moreover, understand how the African culture shapes these values, beliefs and attitudes. The aim is to provide information and guidance that can help African immigrant women to get opportunities of engaging in physical activity and exercise in Finland and achieve health and other benefits that come as a result. This study was carried out through a qualitative research method. Subjects have been recruited by purposive sampling method. Data analysis was performed by coding and content analysis of the questionnaires. Three major findings were found. Attitude to sport: Subjects expressed that they engage more in physical activity in their home countries than in Finland. Physical and Psychological benefits: Participants value exercise and believe exercise and physical activities promote health. Motivating and limiting factors: Subjects reported that their exercise group, not only provided them with company but also improved their social skills and integration into the Finnish culture. Challenges included, financial matters, family responsibilities, pressure from studies and working at the same time and a harsh climate. Keywords/tags Physical activity, exercise and African women,immigrants and sports in Finland, African women sport s culture CONTENTS 1 INTRODUCTION PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND EXERCISE Types of physical activity and exercise Physical Activity pyramid and physical activity pie Health related benefits Social benefits of physical activity THE CULTURE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AMONG AFRICAN COUNTRIES History of Physical Activity and Exercise in African Countries African Women and Physical Activity and Exercise Physical Activity among Migrant Women PURPOSE and AIM OF THE STUDY IMPLEMENTATION OF THE STUDY Research Methodology (Qualitative) Participants And Data Collection Data Analysis FINDINGS Attitudes to sport Health benefits (Physical and Psychological) Motivating and Limiting Factors DISCUSSION ETHICAL CONSIDERATION General Principles Informed Consent Credibility, Dependability, Transferability, Conformability Data handling and record keeping Conclusion, Limitations and Recommendations REFERENCES Appendix Appendix ` 1 INTRODUCTION Multiculturalism has become in recent years a large part of Finnish society. Finland continues to witness rising levels of immigrants every year with different cultural backgrounds and varying languages. In the year 2014, statistics indicated that there were 221,900 persons living permanently in Finland with a foreign back-ground. (Tilastokeskus 2014, 6.) In the same year, a total of 31,950 people migrated to Finland and the number was at the same level as in the year There has not been comprehensive data on African immigrants, who move to Finland on the basis of education, marriage, work, family ties or asylum seeking however. Nevertheless, the number of Somali immigrants who moved to Finland in 2014, was 656. (Annual Report on Migration and Asylum Policy, 2014.) Therefore, promoting acculturation and integration into the Finnish way of life is essential. Sport has been proved to play an important role in teaching the Finnish language and culture, enhancing feelings of self-respect and well-being to immigrants and to wider immigrant networks. Not only in Finland is this technique used, but it has been adopted in other 20 countries in the European Union. In Norway for instance, it was reported that sports gave women a feeling of belonging, respect from others, promoted self-image and identity in the host country and that it was kind of refuge from family obligations. (Statistics Finland, 2015; Zacheus, 2010.) Moreover, it is well known that physical activity has a big positive impact on health. The major effects are visible on energy expenditure, energy balance and body composition. Therefore, regular physical activity lowers risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, type 2 diabetes, colon and breast cancers, and is also associated with other important health outcomes such as mental health, injuries and falls prevention. Physical inactivity remains a public health problem in many areas of the world, including many countries of Europe. Usually, low activity is also correlated with high percentage obesity among a population. Reasons of inactivity among people can be explained by psychological barriers and issues related to body image, poor confidence and lack of immediate rewards. (Milles, 2007.) However, physical activity is not only beneficial for the physiological health of the body but also for mental health. A number of studies show indicate that vigorous physical activity has positive effects on mental health in both clinical and nonclinical populations. Therefore, some researchers suggest that regular exercise could alleviate symptoms associated with mild or moderate depression or anxiety and improve self-image, social skills, and cognitive functioning. The following study will investigate the perceptions of African women towards physical activity and exercise, including their feelings and thoughts related to the same. (Taylor et al ) 2 PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND EXERCISE Physical activity refers to any body movements produced by skeletal muscles where energy is produced as a result. This energy can be measured in terms of kilojoules. Levels of physical activity vary considerably from person to person and over time, but all members of the community exhibit some physical activity. Physical activities can be classified into, occupational (work), leisure time activities like, dancing, gardening, skiing, walking, swimming, among others, household chores, routine exercises and games to mention a few. (WHO, 2015.) According to WHO (2011), physical inactivity has been established as the fourth leading risk factor in global mortality. It results in approximately, 27% of diabetes, 21 25% of breast and colon cancers, and 30% of ischemic heart disease (WHO, 2015.) To achieve significant health benefits, adults including women aged between years, should engage in at least either 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity in a week or an equivalent combination of both with aerobic activity performed in 10 minutes episodes spread throughout the week. (Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2008.) Exercise on the other hand is a sub category of physical activity but it is usually planned and repetitive and is set in order to reach a certain goal or objective, such as health promotion. (Caspersen, Powell, Christenson, 1985; WHO, 2015.) 2.1 Types of physical activity and exercise Physical activities and exercise can be classified into four main types, that is, aerobic, muscle strengthening, bone strengthening and stretching. Aerobic activities, involves the movement of the large muscles, such as those in the arms and legs like, running, swimming, walking, biking, dancing, and doing jumping jacks. These activities, which can be with light, moderate, or vigorous intensity, strengthen the heart and lungs enabling them to work better. (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2011.) Muscle-strengthening activities enhance the strength, power, and endurance of the muscles for instance, pushups and sit-ups, weight lifting, climbing stairs, and digging in the garden. In bonestrengthening activities, the feet, legs, or arms support the weight of the body and the muscles push against the bones like, running, walking, jumping rope, and lifting weights. Stretching helps the movements of the joints thus improve flexibility, for instance, touching the toes, yoga and side stretches. (National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, 2011.) Aerobic activities can be done with light, moderate, or vigorous intensity. Those of light-intensity are common daily activities that do not require much effort. Moderate-intensity activities exercise the heart, lungs, and muscles more compared to light ones. (National Institutes of Health, 2011) They should be performed daily if not several times in a day. 30 minutes a day is recommended for adults. Vigorous aerobics activities are done for a continuous long time leading to increased heart rate, faster breathing, and sweating. They are done for at least 20 minutes a day, in 10 minutes intervals, at least for three days a week. (Corbin & Masurier, 2014.) The pyramid of physical activity for adults, indicates examples of physical activities that we should all engage in on a daily regular basis and those other activities that we should do less often throughout the week in order to promote health. From the base, it indicates non vigorous activities that should be done several times a day or at least daily for at least 30 minutes for adults. Activities at the top of the pyramid are those that we should spend less time on. (Georgia State University, 1999.) Physical Activity pyramid and physical activity pie The pyramid of physical activity and physical activity pie have been developed to aid and promote different parts of fitness and produce different health and wellness benefits for adults. The principle of the pyramid is that moderate physical activities further down in the pyramid are done more often and at a lower intensity than the activities higher up. As indicated earlier, 30 minutes a day of these activities, most days in a week, is recommended for adults. Some examples of these activities include, walking, cleaning the house and the car, taking the stairs, to name a few. (Georgia State University, 1999.) Moving upper the pyramid indicates vigorous activities that are more intense than moderate activities. They aid in improving aerobic fitness, strength and flexibility. 3-5 days is recommended for aerobic exercises with at least minutes per activity, for instance, running, cycling, running, cross country skiing, among others. 2-3 days in a week is recommended for flexibility exercises such as stretching of major muscles groups (20-30 seconds), and in addition, strength exercises with at least 8-10 movements, repeated 8-12 times, recommended for the same days in a week. Suitable examples include, push-ups, squats, and lunges, to name a few. Recreational activities are commended also for 2-3 days per week. Activities at the top of the pyramid are those that we should spend less time on. (Georgia State University, 1999; Sundberg, 2010.) Fig. 1 Adapted by: Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia by Georgia State University (1999) The physical activity pie is more precise and recommends a moderate-intensity aerobic activity of at least 10 minutes throughout a week totaling to at least 2 h 30 min per week, particularly for beginners and those engaging in physical activities to enhance health. Walking, cycling, Nordic walking, or heavy house and yard work are good examples. A more demanding vigorous-intensity aerobic activity totaling to at least 1 h 15 min per week is recommended for physically fit persons or those used to engaging in physical activities. Suitable examples include, running, cross-country skiing, walking uphill, climbing the stairs, water running, running ball games, and aerobics, among others. Similar to the physical activity pyramid, muscle-strengthening and balance training is recommended for at least 2 times per week with at least 8 to 10 movements that strengthen the large muscle groups and repeated 8 to 12 times. Some examples include, skating, ball games, aerobics and dancing to enhance coordination, balance and flexibility. (UKK Institute, 2009.) Fig. 2 Adapted by: UKK Institute (2009) 2.2 Health related benefits It is common knowledge that physical activity has a very important role in respect to healthy lifestyle. Scientific evidence has proven how regular physical activity and exercise can be associated to many of physical and mental health benefits. Some of these benefits lead to improvements of psychosocial health and well-being (including stress, anxiety, depression, premenstrual syndrome, self-efficacy, mood state, cognitive functioning, well-being and quality of life). Moreover, physical activity is associated with a good body image and an improved selfesteem, which if not taken into account leads to a resolution of eating disorders in some cases. (Biddle, Fox & Boutcher, 2000.) Biddle et al (2000), states that exercise in general demands a good cardiorespiratory capacity hence smoking cessation and drug rehabilitation need to be put into consideration. On the other hand, prevention of cardiovascular disease, hypertension and osteoporosis have a greater chance of achievement with regular physical activities particularly with older adults. It also plays a positive and important role in prevention of estrogen-related cancers, attenuation of menopausal symptoms and prevention of fibromyalgia and slowing of chronic fatigue syndrome. In fact, research points out that 12% of the total number of annual deaths in the United States are attributable to a lack of regular physical activity. (Chilibeck & Cornish, 2008.) It is about 40 years ago there was a debate about the right amount of physical activity in order to achieve some of the benefits mentioned above. Starting in the late 1970s, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) promoted the 20 minutes of vigorous activity 3 times a week which was the formula to improve fitness. About 20 years later the same organizations promoted a formula which contains at least 30 of vigorous activity 3 times a week. (Wimbush 1994.) Nowadays, the same organization recommends that every adult should have at least minutes of moderateintensity exercise (five days per week) or minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise (three days per week). Nonetheless today, it is difficult to determine a standard for the measurement of moderate physical activity in the context of daily life, such as for chores like laundry, childcare and grocery shopping. (American College of Sports Medicine, 2014.) 2.3 Social benefits of physical activity Some researchers expand the definition of health to include the social determinants of health. In an article on women s health and the contribution of physiotherapists, McComas and Harris (1996) use a definition of health that considers the social context of women s health: Women s health involves women s emotional, social, cultural, spiritual and physical well-being, and it is determined by the social, political and economic context of women s lives as well as by biology. This broad definition recognizes the validity of women s life experiences and women s own beliefs about and experiences of health (Phillips, 1995; cited in ref. Mc Comas and Harris 1996.) The term wellness or well-being implies that there is more to health than the absence of disease or disability. Well-being may be considered to involve the following: improved quality of life, efficient functioning, the capacity to perform at more productive and satisfying levels, and the opportunity to live out one s life span with vigor and stamina [39]. Although well-being has often been equated with mental health, the emerging consensus among researchers is that the term well-being implies an emphasis on the individual s perception or sense of wholeness of self, groups or community (Frankish et al ) Granting that health may contribute to high-level wellness, health is not necessary for general well-being. For example, a woman with a debilitating disease such as multiple sclerosis may struggle with poor health but may have a strong sense of well-being. (Shaw, 1994.) Still, some researchers argue also that there is still a serious lack of hard evidence in the area of psychological health to support the equivalence between health and mental benefits supplied by physical activity (Scully et al ) According to Coalter et al. (2000), a case study done on Scottish women affirmed that, sociability and a reduction of a sense of social isolation were regarded as very important by the participants. A young female participant in a keep-fit programme said that physical activity is a good way to make new friends, in fact she says that before joining the exercise s group, she only had one friend, after which she made many other friends particularly from the same programme. On another programme with more than 50 women participants, regular attendance had resulted in the establishment of friendship networks and a holiday group (Coalter et al ) Sport clearly has the potential to provide a variety of social and recreational networks and a regular routine, which promotes social interaction elements central to community development, social inclusion and mental health. (Thomas, 1995; Forrest and Kearns, 1999.) 3 THE CULTURE OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AMONG AFRICAN COUNTRIES 3.1 History of Physical Activity and Exercise in African Countries African community possesses a rich tradition of culture, sport, history and social institutions as seen in different countries. Traditional games, plays, dances and arts were used for the purposes of socialization, initiation, ceremonies, recreation, and education, among others. In addition, physical prowess was traditionally essential for the ability to perform practices such as hunting, gathering, inter- tribal conflicts, wrestling sports and pastoral activities. (Amusa, 2010.) With reference to old literature like, the Basden study of the Ibos of Nigeria (1921), shooting, dancing, wrestling and swimming was the most common for adults with less wrestling and shooting for women. Another study done among the Southern Sotho people of South Africa, indicated cattle raiding and fighting as the major sports among adults. The author goes further to describe how stick fighting between a mother and a son was like playing with a ball of the English. However it was neither violent nor causing any damage to the body as compared to boxing or other European sports. (Blacking, 1987.) Wrestling heritage has been recorded and preserved as an important sport in the Egyptian culture. This has been confirmed with accurate dating found in the burial tombs of Egyptian elites or specific Pharaohs, particularly the Beni Hassan tombs, dating B.C. With the rest of the vast continent and lack of sufficient recorded information especially with sub Saharan part of the continent, most authors writing about precolonial African traditions depend on word of mouth from the older generation of the African people, the explorers and colonists, where the latter two s contact with the local people was even limited. (Craig, 2002.) With the arrival of the colonialists and missionaries, colonial and missionary models of education were introduced therefore suppressing indigenous physical activities which they regarded as primitive, immoral and anti- Christian. As a result, sport and physical education was formalized and emphasis was placed on gymnastics, golf, cricket, netb
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