Virtual Lifestyle Physical Activity Program for Recently Immigrated Midlife South Asian Indian Women

Rush Research Team

Manju Daniel, Principal Investigator, Rush College of Nursing

JoEllen Wilbur, Co-Investigator, Rush College of Nursing

Masako Mayahara, Co-Investigator, Rush College of Nursing

Award Period

12/1/2021 - 2/28/2023

Funding Source

College of Nursing Faculty Pilot Grant


Among South Asian Indian (SAI) women 27.8% of deaths are related to cardiovascular disease (CVD), making CVD the leading cause of mortality in SAI women. Approximately 50% of SAI women in the United Sates (U.S.) fail to meet the recommended physical activity (PA) guidelines to reducing the risk for CVD. Targeting recently immigrated SAI women (<12 years in the U.S.), an understudied population group, is essential for early establishment of health promoting behavioral practices. Culturally tailored gender specific group dance is a significant form of leisure-time PA for entertainment and social interaction that can stimulate increased overall lifestyle PA. Our pilot 12-week women-only study that used in-person SAI culturally tailored group dance with behavioral group meetings, showed significant improvement in overall PA measured by average daily steps (p<.05). Due to a patriarchal hierarchy culture, SAI women feel that their spouses’/partners’ support is necessary to validate their need for increased PA. No prior interventional studies have addressed cultural dance or spousal/partner support for recently immigrated SAI women. Virtual group exercise has added benefits of easy accessibility and building confidence which would benefit recently immigrated SAI women who often lack transportation and may initially feel intimidated by a live group experience due to limited sense of community. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to develop a 12-week virtual lifestyle PA program for recently immigrated midlife SAI women with insufficient PA. The program will be developed with consultation from two expert panels (dance; group meetings), and an advisory panel of 3-4 SAI spousal/partner dyads. The specific aims are to: (a) Phase 1- develop a virtual lifestyle PA program to increase overall PA in SAI women that includes women-only Bollywood movie group dance and behavioral group meetings with spouses/partners and (b) Phase 2- determine the feasibility of implementing the virtual lifestyle PA program.