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Racial differences in physical activity engagement, barriers, and enjoyment during weight loss.

OBJECTIVE: Aiming to identify potential intervention targets to achieve more equitable outcomes from behavioral weight loss (BWL) programs, the current study examined whether Black and White individuals experienced similar increases in physical activity (PA) engagement, perceived PA barriers, and PA enjoyment during an 18-month BWL program.

METHOD: Adults ( N = 290) enrolled in an 18-month BWL program from 2014 to 2016 completed accelerometer-based measurements of moderate-to-vigorous PA and self-reported measures of PA barriers and enjoyment at months 0, 6, 12, and 18.

RESULTS: Black participants had significantly fewer minutes of PA than White participants at baseline, 6, 12, and 18 months. Black participants reported fewer barriers to PA than White participants at 0 and 6 months but not at 12 or 18 months. They also reported higher PA enjoyment than White participants at 0 and 6 months but not at 12 or 18 months. Furthermore, whereas White participants had a significant reduction in PA barriers and an increase in PA behavior overtime, Black participants did not. There was no interaction between race and time on PA enjoyment.

CONCLUSIONS: Traditional BWL interventions may be ineffective for promoting PA among Black participants and may not appropriately address the unique PA barriers that Black participants experience. An improved understanding of differences in PA behaviors during BWL among Black and White individuals could help delineate why Black participants do not appear to benefit as much as White participants from traditional BWL programs and inform intervention strategies. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved).

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