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Health Promot Perspect. 2015;5(4): 288-295.
doi: 10.15171/hpp.2015.034
PMID: 26933648
PMCID: PMC4772799
  Abstract View: 2090
  PDF Download: 1107

Original Research

Older People's Perspectives on Health, Physical Activity and Nutritional Behaviors

Leila Alizadeh 1, Leili Salehi 2*

1 Department of Maternal and Child Health, Ardabil Branch, Islamic Azad University, Ardabil, Iran
2 Department of Health Education and Promotion, School of Public Health, Alborz University of Medical Sciences, Karaj, Iran
*Corresponding Author: Email: leilisalehi83@yahoo.com


Background: Approaches for investigating health-promoting lifestyle generally focus on physical activ­ity and regular diet. To explore the perspectives of Iranian elders regarding health, healthy eating and physical activity (PA) this study was conducted in 2012. 
Methods: Participants in this qualitative study were selected through purposeful sampling. Ten focus groups were conducted with 60 older adults in 3 elderly centers in Tehran. A moderator’s guideline that consisted of general and specific questions was used. Focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysis was performed using conventional content analysis. 
Results: Participants explained their perspectives regarding health, healthy eating and PA in the follow­ing 5 categories: meaning of health was represented based on issues such as absence of pain and disor­der, complete body wellbeing, staying away from hazards, complete individual satisfaction, experiencing positive events, effective communication, faithfulness and trust in God. The healthy eating category was featured by adequate eating, age balanced diet, refraining from under or over nutrition and sensible consumption of fruits and vegetables. The PA was described - according to the level of performing outdoor activities or household tasks. Expressions about the perceived benefits and barriers of healthy eating and PA were aligned the two remaining categories.
Conclusions: Participants have referred to the association between both PA and dietary practices and health. Understanding how older people define physical activity and nutritional behavior and recogni­tion of the most important perceived benefits and barriers that might contribute to have a healthy eat­ing or adequate PA profile could procure insight into the type of interventions that are required to promote healthy lifestyle among Iranian older adults.
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Submitted: 24 Dec 2014
Accepted: 25 Oct 2015
ePublished: 30 Jan 2016
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