The economically disadvantaged, among whom racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately represented, suffer in large numbers from various chronic diseases. While these chronic diseases are preventable or largely treatable, often primarily through diet and exercise, members of this population very often are uninformed and inexperienced in healthy eating and exercise practices. This situation is magnified by a lack of access to appropriate facilities. This qualitative research project was implemented as a means to better understand how Healthworks Community Fitness, a non-profit organization consisting of two health and fitness facilities for the homeless, very low-income individuals, and low-income women, respectively, of Boston, Massachusetts, USA serves the health and fitness needs of this population for free or at a very low cost to the individual. An additional purpose was to identify the health- and fitness-related educational experiences Healthworks provides for its participants and how participants benefit from such experiences. The study revealed that Healthworks provides an interactive, community focus that emphasizes family, as well as instruction that builds upon increasing knowledge and motivation. Further, Healthworks utilizes partnerships in order to enhance the facility space and equipment, become more visible on the non-governmental organization (NGO) scene, and to broaden class offerings.
|Keywords:||Homeless, Very Low-income, Low-income, Women, Health, Fitness, Education, Community|
Graduate Student, Drexel University, Reading, PA, USA