Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Health Soc Behav. 2001 Jun;42(2):202-20.

Social inequalities and exercise during adulthood: toward an ecological perspective.

Author information

  • 1Division of Health Promotion, School of Health, Physical Education, and Leisure Services, University of Northern Iowa, 203 Wellness/Recreation Center, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0241, USA.


Grounded in ecological theory, this study examines the association among participation in regular vigorous exercise and social status, aspects of prominent life settings, interactions between life settings, and more proximal individual resources and processes using data from the National Survey of Midlife Development in the United States (N = 3,032). Among women, a higher level of earnings was associated with more vigorous exercise, yet those women with more education had a steeper decline in exercise across adulthood. Among men, those with the lowest level of education had the steepest decline in physical activity across adulthood, and earnings did not affect exercise patterns. Less participation in vigorous exercise among blacks, in contrast to nonblacks, was explained by their tendency to live in less safe neighborhoods and having more functional health problems. Finally, contextual factors from multiple domains were independently associated with participation in regular exercise. Consistent with ecological theory, these results suggest that interventions to promote exercise habits among adults need to consider the independent and interactive effects of multiple contextual factors.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk