Scheduled for Free Communication: Physical Activity Across Racial, Ethnic, and National Groups, Wednesday, April 1, 2009, 10:30 AM - 11:45 AM, Tampa Convention Center: 7-8

Correlates of Physical Activity Among Asian and African Americans

Tim Bungum, University of NevadaLas Vegas, Las Vegas, NV and Maria Azzarelli, Southern Nevada Health District, Las Vegas, NV


Meeting physical activity (PA) guidelines is associated with numerous health benefits. Minority populations participate in PA at lower rates than do white Americans and also tend to have more risk factors for hypokinetic diseases. Knowledge of PA correlates among minorities could be useful in promoting PA to these groups. Correlates of PA have been typically been classified as demographic, psychosocial, policy and environmental. Recently investigators have paid special attention to the relationship of neighborhood physical environments (e.g., environmental factors) and PA. Our purpose is to identify demographic and environmental correlates of PA among Asian-American and African-American citizens of Las Vegas, NV.

Methods: Random digit phone interviews targeted neighborhoods in which high proportions of African Americans live, and residents with Asian sir names. Respondents answered a 55-item survey that assessed PA behavior, neighborhood characteristics, and demographic variables. Factor analysis revealed two components of neighborhoods: 1) safety [loose dogs, untrustworthy neighbors, heavy traffic] and 2) physical characteristics [sidewalks; nearby public recreation facilities; nearby supermarkets]. Independent variables were age, gender, BMI, employment, educational ttainment, neighborhood safety and neighborhood support for physical activity. Logistic regression was used to identify predictors of meeting PA guidelines.


Mean ages of group members were 4917.9 and 50.918.8 years for Asian (n=263) and African-Americans (n=237) respectively. African-Americans had higher BMI's than did Asian Americans (29.17.0 vs. 24.65.0, t=17.1, p<.001) and Asian Americans were more apt to have attended at least some college (X2=25.0; p<.001) than were African-Americans. Almost 27% of Asian and 21.5% of African-Americans met PA guidelines (moderately intense PA four or more times per week or vigorous PA three or more times per week). The sole significant predictor of PA for Asian-Americans was supportive physical characteristics of the neighborhood OR=1.3, CI=1.07-1.48). Meeting PA guidelines was predicted by employment status [the employed more active] (OR=2.79, CI=1.19-6.5), and neighborhood safety (OR=1.23, CI=1.01-1.50) among African-Americans.


Results suggest that PA correlates may differ by race and therefore differing strategies should be considered when promoting PA to Asian and African-Americans. Creating supportive neighborhood environments appears to influence the meeting of PA guidelines among Asian-Americans, while safety and work status predicted meeting those criteria among African-Americans

Keyword(s): exercise/fitness/physical activity, multiculturalism/cultural diversity

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