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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001 Jul;33(7):1147-56.

Stage of readiness to exercise in ethnically diverse women: a U.S. survey.

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Department of Public Health, The University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia.



To assess stage of readiness to exercise and readiness to be physically active in a national survey of women aged 40 yr and over from various racial/ethnic groups (the U.S. Women's Determinants Study).


The prevalence of each stage was determined and compared across race/ethnicity. In addition, the level of misclassification between self-report of stage of readiness to exercise/be physically active and self-reported participation in specific exercise behavior was evaluated.


Data were collected from a total of 2912 U.S. women via telephone survey over a 1-yr period (black 26%, American Indians/Alaskan Natives 25%, Hispanics 23%, and whites 26%). Over half the total sample was staged as currently undertaking regular exercise (maintenance stage, 55%), 25% indicated they were in precontemplation, and 15% were in contemplation stage. Few women were in preparation and action stages. There were statistically significant differences between the minority groups. Specifically, black women (OR 0.53, 95% 0.31-0.91) were less likely to be in the active stages (e.g., preparation, action, maintenance) than Hispanics and Alaskan Native/American Native women, and this was true after controlling for important sociodemographic and health variables (age, education, BMI, and smoking). The additional analysis of a modified stage question developed to assess readiness to be more physically active (150 min.wk(-1)) may have provided inflated results (82% in maintenance), possibly due to the complexity of the questions. The level of misclassification between measures ranged from 5 to 20%.


These results have important implications for the use of stage of change measures with populations of older ethnically diverse women particularly and the popularity of modifying stage questions to reflect "lifestyle" or moderate-intensity physical activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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