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Addressing Barriers to Health Promotion in Underserved Women

Timmerman, Gayle M. PhD, RN


Underserved women face numerous barriers to adopting healthy eating behaviors. To develop effective health-promotion interventions for underserved women, barriers specific to the individual need should be addressed. Influenced by individual characteristics, experiences, and culture, different types of barriers (internal, interpersonal, and environmental) can overlap to impede healthy eating in underserved women. On the basis of literature review and qualitative research experiences with underserved women, 4 potential approaches for addressing barriers to health promotion were identified: (1) individualizing interventions; (2) developing collaborative partnerships within the community; (3) using positive deviance inquiry to build on community assets; and (4) changing public policy.

School of Nursing, The University of Texas at Austin.

Corresponding author: Gayle M. Timmerman, PhD, RN, School of Nursing, University of Texas, 1700 Red River, Austin, TX 78701 (e-mail:

Funding for this study was supported by the NINR, NIH Center for Health Promotion Research at the University of Texas at Austin, School of Nursing (P30NR005051).

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