Perspectives on enhancing physical activity and diet for health promotion among at-risk urban UK South Asian communities: a qualitative study

Cross-Bardell, Laura and George, Tracey and Bhoday, Mandeep and Tuomainen, Helena and Qureshi, Nadeem and Kai, Joe (2015) Perspectives on enhancing physical activity and diet for health promotion among at-risk urban UK South Asian communities: a qualitative study. BMJ Open, 5 (2). e007317/1-e007317/8. ISSN 2044-6055

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To explore perspectives on enhancing physical activity and diet among South Asians in urban deprived communities at high risk of chronic disease and to inform development of culturally appropriate health promotion intervention.


Qualitative study using semistructured one-to-one and family group interviews with thematic analysis of data.


Urban disadvantaged communities in the East Midlands of the UK.


45 respondents, including 34 people of South Asian origin (16 at-risk individuals, six family groups involving 18 relatives), of mainly Pakistani and Indian origin, including 16 non-English speakers; and 11 health professionals working locally with communities of concern.


South Asian participants underlined the challenges of requiring family members across generations to engage in modifying dietary behaviours, and the central role of communal eating of traditional ‘Asian’ food in their cultural lives. Barriers to increasing physical activity included cost, personal safety and lack of time outside of long working hours and carer commitments. However, increasing walking activity was regarded as feasible by both community and health professional participants. Respondents emphasised using a social approach for potential interventions, undertaking activity with family or friends and with bilingual community peers to facilitate engagement, motivation and support. Spoken content and delivery of interventions was favoured, including personal stories and multilingual audio–visual information; within local informal rather than provider settings, including the home; and aided by pedometers for self-monitoring.


Focusing on physical activity by increasing walking may hold promise as health promotion in this deprived South Asian community context. Further intervention development, with exploration of feasibility and acceptability of the social approach and elements suggested, is merited.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Physical activity; Diet; Health promotion; UK South Asian communities
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Medicine > Division of Primary Care
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Depositing User: McCambridge, Mrs April
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2015 09:14
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 17:01

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