Examining physical activity service provision to culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities in Australia: a qualitative evaluation

Cristina M Caperchione, Gregory S Kolt, W Kerry Mummery
PloS One 2013, 8 (4): e62777
Strong evidence exists for the role of physical activity in preventing and managing a range of chronic health conditions. A particular challenge in promoting physical activity as a health strategy exists in culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups, as such groups demonstrate high risk for a range of non-communicable diseases. The aim of this research was to examine the perspective of multicultural health service providers for CALD groups with respect to the physical activity services/initiatives on offer, access barriers to these services, and ideas for future service delivery in this area. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 multicultural health service providers across the capital cities of the three most populous states in Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria), and thematic content analysis was used to examine the data. Findings indicated that the majority of physical activity initiatives were associated with organizations offering other social services for CALD communities but were greatly restrained by resources. As well, it was found that most services were not designed by taking into account specific cultural requirements for CALD communities or their cultural expectations. Common barriers identified to service uptake were classified as socio-cultural (e.g., gender, language, context of health) and environmental (e.g., transportation) in nature. These findings should be utilized when planning future physical activity and health promotion initiatives for increasing CALD participation. In particular, programs need to be culturally tailored to the specific expectations of CALD groups, addressing cultural safety and sensitivity, and should be in partnership with other organizations to extend the reach and capacity.

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