Momentary Correlates of Older Black Women’s Health Behaviors


Older Black women have among the highest obesity prevalence in the U.S., which contributes to physical disability (reduced mobility), type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions. Day-to-day food choices and decisions with respect to physical activity engagement underlie energy (im)balance. Older Black women are disproportionately exposed to psychosocial stressors and environments, which can vary throughout the day, that challenge their ability to make healthy choices. A better understanding of dynamic relationships between risk factors (stress, environmental context) and eating and physical activity behaviors (EAB) will inform multilevel interventions. Building on our ongoing African American Women’s Daily Life Study with Black women ages 25–45 years, this pilot study of Black women ages 50+ years will explore intra-individual variations in EAB as a function of daily hassles, emotions, and environmental context. It will also test the feasibility of the data collection methods in this population. We hypothesize that (1) greater daily hassles, negative emotions, and unsupportive environmental context (e.g., easy access to energy-dense foods, poor access to healthy food alternatives, unsafe conditions, lack of social support) are associated with intra-individual fluctuations in deleterious EAB throughout the day and (2) environmental context moderates effects of daily hassles and emotions on intra-individual fluctuations in EAB throughout the day. This study will use an explanatory observational design. We will recruit a convenience sample of 30 Black women from community sites. For seven days, participants will complete surveys 5 times daily via cellular telephone on hassles, emotions, environmental context, and EAB. Measures are adapted from prior studies, informed by focus groups we conducted with Black women. Data analysis will include descriptive statistics and multilevel regression. Results will inform a larger and more definitive study (NIH R01) on momentary relationships among stress, environmental context, and EAB in older Black women.

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National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health through the Midwest Roybal Center for Health Promotion and Translation.

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