Older adults from Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups experience a relatively higher burden of physical inactivity compared with their counterparts from non-BME groups. Despite the increasing number of qualitative studies investigating the barriers and facilitators of physical activity among older adults from BME backgrounds in the UK, there is very limited review-level evidence. The aim of this review is to undertake a synthesis of existing qualitative studies, using a meta-ethnographic approach, to explore the barriers and opportunities for physical activity among adults and older adults from BME communities in the UK.
Studies conducted between January 2007 and July 2017 were eligible if they met the following criteria: employed any qualitative method; included participants identified as being BME, aged 50 and above, and living in the UK. In total, 1036 studies were identified from a structured search of six electronic databases combined with hand searching of reference bibliographies. Ten studies met the inclusion criteria for the review and were included.
Six key themes emerged from the data: awareness of the links between physical activity and health, interaction and engagement with health professionals, cultural expectations and social responsibilities, suitable environment for physical activity, religious fatalism and practical challenges. There was a substantial gap in research among Black African groups.
Interventions aimed at improving physical activity participation among older adults should be acceptable and accessible to minority groups. Further research is needed to investigate the barriers and facilitators of physical activity among older adults from African backgrounds.