Despite the importance of faith and cultural background in Arab immigrants’ lives, little is known about their role in preventing cardiovascular diseases. To understand the challenges among Arab immigrants related to acculturation and religiosity in adopting healthy lifestyle behaviours and managing stress, we conducted three face-to-face focus groups with 17 Arab health promoters who were members of the Canadian Arab Health Coalition. Averaging 80 minutes in length, the focus groups were conducted in Ottawa, Canada, in February and March 2018. Data were analyzed with an inductive thematic analysis approach; we identified four themes: “Culture first!”: dominant influence of home country culture; “Religiosity alone does not make you healthy!”: limited religious influence; “It is not easy!”: difficulties adapting to the Canadian lifestyle; and “We are not young!”: generational differences in adopting a healthy lifestyle. In brief, we found that some religious or cultural beliefs may be barriers to practicing physical activity, especially for women and older people. These barriers may be augmented with acculturative stress. Religiosity may also play an important indirect role in managing stress through socialization, family support, and the adoption of coping strategies. Younger people in Arabic communities appear to be more flexible in dealing with these religious/cultural issues.
Arab immigrants, culture, focus group, health promotion, lifestyle behaviours, religiosity
The authors thank members of the Canadian Arabic Health Coalition in Ottawa for their participation.
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Recommended APA Citation
Baharoon, H., & King, J. (2022). Arab Health Promoters’ Perspectives on Religious/Cultural Challenges to Adopt Healthy Lifestyle Behaviours among Arab Immigrants in Canada. The Qualitative Report, 27(7), 1130-1150. https://doi.org/10.46743/2160-3715/2022.4810