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Am J Health Promot. 2008 Sep-Oct;23(1):2-12. doi: 10.4278/ajhp.06070999.

An overview and proposed framework of social-environmental influences on the physical-activity behavior of women.

Author information

  • 1Department of Exercise Science, School of Public Health and Health Services, George Washington University, 817 23rd Street NW, Washington, DC 20052 , USA. jvrazel@gwu.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

The primary purposes of this review were to identify key social-environmental influences on the physical-activity behavior of women and to propose an organizing framework of these influences in the social environment.

DATA SOURCES:

Computerized searches of MEDLINE, Science Direct, and CINAHL were conducted to identify relevant research. Study Inclusion and Exclusion Criteria. Studies were included if they used a sample of adult women or included gender-specific analysis, identified or measured some aspect of the social environment in relation to physical activity, and were published in English within the last two decades.

DATA EXTRACTION:

Characteristics of study design, sample population, and identified social-environmental variables were extracted.

DATA SYNTHESIS:

Through an iterative review of the data by several researchers, common influences and themes were identified and organized into a social environment framework, which included the following components: social support/social networks, life transitions/ multiple roles, and cultural standards/gender role expectations.

RESULTS:

Women are exposed to societal messages that indicate physical activity is not a priority and may be inappropriate; they may also lack the social support necessary to adopt and maintain physical activity.

CONCLUSIONS:

This review reveals the complex range of factors in the social environment that influence women, and it provides support for the importance of the social environment on physical-activity behavior in women. A social-environmental framework related to Bronfenbrenner's social ecological model is proposed along with recommended strategies to apply in interventions targeting women.

PMID:
18785368
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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