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Exploring the cardiovascular disease risk factor perception and barriers faced among working women – A community-based qualitative study

Kamalasundar T, Sinthu Sarathamani, Surekha A, Suguna Anbazhagan, Ragha Hari Varshini.

Background: In India, nearly 31.2% of the labor force participation is provided by the females and working women are vulnerable to neglect their health due to family and work stress. Hence, it is important to know about the working women perception of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and the challenges that they face to overcome these risk factors.

Aim and Objective: The present study was aimed at to explore the perception of risk factors for CVDs among working women in urban Puducherry and to determine the barriers faced by the working women in overcoming the CVD risk factors through qualitative methods.

Materials and Methods: The present study was a community-based qualitative study done among working women residing in three working women hostels around the Urban Health Centre of Medical College. A total of 6 focus group discussion’s and 11 in-depth interview (IDI) were conducted along with free listing and pile sorting.

Results: Totally, 68 women participated altogether. Medical, lifestyle, and work-related risk factors were the groups that emerged in the pile sorting following free listing, while five themes emerged in the focused group discussion and three in IDI. Lifestyle factors such as junk food, physical inactivity, and work stress and medical factors such as high blood pressure, diabetics, and high cholesterol level were the perceived risk factors for CVD by the working women and lack of time, lack of motivation and financial constraint was the major barriers faced by them to overcome the risk factors of CVD.

Conclusion: We conclude that working women in Puducherry have high knowledge and a clear perception of the risk factors, but they face challenges in overcoming these risk factors. Hence, measures needed to be taken to address their challenges.

Key words: Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors; Working Women; Qualitative Methods

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