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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010 Jun;42(6):1086-93. doi: 10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181c5ec05.

Leisure time and occupational physical activity among racial or ethnic minorities.

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  • 1Department of Kinesiology and Nutrition, University of Illinois at Chicago, IL 60612, USA.



One of the factors distinguishing non-Latino blacks (NLB) and Latinos from non-Latino whites (NLW) is higher rates of occupational physical activity (OPA) and less participation in leisure time physical activity (LTPA). We examined participation in OPA and LTPA among employed individuals and the relationship between OPA and LTPA across select racial or ethnic groups and Latino subgroups.


We pooled data from 2000 to 2003 of the National Health Interview Survey. We divided the survey participants into three groups: 1) those with no LTPA, 2) those who reported some LTPA but not for sufficient time and intensity to meet recommended guidelines, and 3) those who reported LTPA at levels that met or exceeded recommendations. We used ordinal logistic regression to examine whether NLB and Latinos or Latino subgroups were less likely to report LTPA than NLW while controlling for social, economic, and demographic factors that may have accounted for group differences. We further examined the prevalence of OPA and the relationship between LTPA and OPA.


Among employed individuals, NLB and Latinos had significantly more individuals reporting no LTPA compared with NLW. Latinos had the greatest proportion of individuals reporting no LTPA. Furthermore, it was found that significantly more Latinos had physically active occupations compared with NLB and NLB compared with NLW, respectively. Among employed Latinos, Cubans and Dominicans were most likely to report no LTPA, and Mexicans had the greatest percentage of workers with a physically active occupation. LTPA was not significantly associated with having a physically active occupation across races and Latino subgroups.


Participation in LTPA among ethnic or racial minorities is lower than that of NLW, and the OPA rates are higher. OPA does not significantly impact participation in LTPA in employed adults.

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