A gender-based approach to developing a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight intervention for diverse Utah women

Sara E. Simonsen, Kathleen B. Digre, Brenda Ralls, Valentine Mukundente, France A. Davis, Sylvia Rickard, Fahina Tavake-Pasi, Eru Ed Napia, Heather Aiono, Meghan Chirpich, Louisa A. Stark, Grant Sunada, Kassy Keen, Leanne Johnston, Caren J. Frost, Michael W. Varner, Stephen C. Alder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Utah women from some cultural minority groups have higher overweight/obesity rates than the overall population. We utilized a gender-based mixed methods approach to learn about the underlying social, cultural and gender issues that contribute to the increased obesity risk among these women and to inform intervention development. A literature review and analysis of Utah's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System data informed the development of a focus group guide. Focus groups were conducted with five groups of women: African immigrants from Burundi and Rwanda, African Americans, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Hispanics/Latinas, and Pacific Islanders. Six common themes emerged: (1) health is multidimensional and interventions must address health in this manner; (2) limited resources and time influence health behaviors; (3) norms about healthy weight vary, with certain communities showing more preference to heavier women; (4) women and men have important but different influences on healthy lifestyle practices within households; (5) women have an influential role on the health of families; and (6) opportunities exist within each group to improve health. Seeking insights from these five groups of women helped to identify common and distinct cultural and gender themes related to obesity, which can be used to help elucidate core obesity determinants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-16
Number of pages9
JournalEvaluation and Program Planning
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Gender analysis
  • Health behavior
  • Obesity
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Business and International Management
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Strategy and Management
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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