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Am J Prev Med. 2003 Oct;25(3 Suppl 1):53-60.

Personal, social, and environmental correlates of physical activity in Native American women.

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  • 1Office of Native American Diabetes Programs, Department of Internal Medicine, The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, 1720 Louisiana Boulevard, Suite 312, Albuquerque, NM 87110, USA.



Rates of physical activity among Native American women are low, and few studies have assessed the factors associated with physical activity in this population. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship among physical activity and various personal, social environmental, and physical environmental factors in Native American women.


As part of the multisite study of the Women's Cardiovascular Health Network Project, 350 Native American women from the Southwest completed a face-to-face interview. Participants ranged in age from 20 to 50 years. Logistic regression analyses were conducted using physical activity as the dependent variable.


Participants represented a variety of tribal groups, with most being Navajo or Pueblo. More than one half (55.1%) met moderate or vigorous physical activity recommendations, with 32.0% being insufficiently active, and 12.9% being inactive. Personal factors related to being more active included not having a marital partner, self-reporting excellent or very good health, and having very high physical activity self-efficacy. In terms of social environmental factors, women were more likely to meet physical activity recommendations if they knew people who exercised, if they saw people exercising in their neighborhood, and if they attended religious services. Physical environmental factors that were examined were not associated with meeting physical activity recommendations.


Social environmental factors were significantly associated with physical activity in Native American women. The results emphasize the importance of support from family, friends, communities, and leaders in increasing physical activity among this group of women.

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