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J Gen Intern Med. 2011 Mar;26(3):245-50. doi: 10.1007/s11606-010-1514-7. Epub 2010 Sep 24.

Racial/ethnic disparities in exercise and dietary behaviors of middle-aged and older adults.

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  • 1Division of General Internal Medicine and Primary Care and Health Policy Research Institute, University of California Irvine, 100 Theory, Suite 110, Irvine, CA 92617, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Differences in health behaviors may be important contributors to racial/ethnic disparities in the health status of adults. Studies to date have not compared whether there are health behavior differences in exercise and dietary behaviors among middle-age and older adults in the four largest racial/ethnic categories.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate racial/ethnic differences in exercise and dietary behaviors of middle-aged and older adults.

DESIGN:

We used data from the 2007 California Health Interview Survey. Multivariable logistic regression was used to examine interactions between age and race/ethnicity in predicting two categories of health behaviors. Analyses were conducted adjusting for sociodemographic characteristics, health insurance status, and healthcare utilization.

PARTICIPANTS:

A population-based sample of 33,189 California adults 45 years old and older: 26,522 non-Hispanic whites, 1,686 African American/blacks, 2,565 Asian/Pacific Islanders (1,741 English-proficient; 824 limited English-proficient), and 2,416 Latinos (1,538 English-proficient; 878 limited English-proficient).

MAIN MEASURES:

Self-report leisure-time physical activity (moderate and vigorous) and daily consumption of fruits and vegetables.

KEY RESULTS:

Racial/ethnic minorities generally engaged in less healthy exercise and dietary behaviors than whites, with differences more pronounced in middle adulthood. The disparities were the greatest among English-proficient minorities. Specifically, among middle-aged respondents, all racial/ethnic minorities engaged in less vigorous physical activity than whites (ORs range = 0.28 to 0.73; 95% CI range = 0.16-1.00). Additionally, middle-aged, English-proficient minorities engaged in less moderate physical activity compared to whites (ORs range =0.57 to 0.67; 95% CI range = 0.45-0.79). Furthermore, middle-aged, English-proficient Latinos had a poorer diet than whites (OR = 0.54; 0.39-0.75). Few significant racial/ethnic differences emerged in the exercise and dietary behaviors of older adults.

CONCLUSIONS:

Racial/ethnic disparities in exercise and dietary behaviors are most notable among middle-aged, acculturated minorities. Results highlight the need to promote positive exercise and dietary behaviors during critical preventive ages, when racial/ethnic disparities are large and the potential to prevent chronic disease is great.

PMID:
20865342
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3043172
Free PMC Article
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