This study assesses community readiness to prevent overweight/obesity among Ghanaian immigrants in Greater Manchester, England.
The Community Readiness Model (CRM) was applied using a semi-structured interview tool with 13 key informants (religious and other key community members) addressing five readiness dimensions. A maximum of 9 points per dimension (from 1 = no awareness to 9 = high level of community ownership), was assigned, alongside qualitative textual thematic analysis.
The mean readiness score indicated that the study population was in the “vague awareness stage” (3.08 ± 0.98). The highest score was observed for community knowledge of the issue (4.42 ± 0.99) which was in the pre-planning phase, followed by community climate (vague awareness; 3.58 ± 0.62). The lowest scores were seen for resources (denial/resistance; 2.70 ± 0.61) and knowledge of efforts (no awareness; 1.53 ± 0.44). Findings identified structural barriers, including poor living conditions as a result of poorly paid menial jobs and high workload, contributing to the adoption of unhealthy lifestyle behaviours. Socio-cultural factors such as fatalism, hereditary factors, and social status were associated with acceptance of overweight.
Despite recognising overweight/obesity as an important health issue in these communities, especially among women, it is not seen as a priority for targeting change. To help these communities to become more ready for interventions that tackle overweight/obesity, the focus should initially be to address the structural barriers identified, including reducing poverty, alongside designing interventions that work with these structural barriers, and thereafter focus on the socio-cultural factors.