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Am J Prev Med. 2003 Oct;25(3 Suppl 1):93-103.

Quantitative study of correlates of physical activity in women from diverse racial/ethnic groups: The Women's Cardiovascular Health Network Project--summary and conclusions.

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Prevention Research Center, School of Public Health, St. Louis University, 3545 Lafayette Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63104, USA.



Physical activity is an important aspect of cardiovascular disease prevention. However, the populations that show high risk of cardiovascular disease also have high rates of physical inactivity. The purpose of this article was to summarize findings from the Women and Physical Activity Survey, part of the Women's Cardiovascular Health Network Project. The goal of the survey was to identify personal, social environmental, cultural, and physical environmental factors that are associated with physical activity status among a diverse group of women.


Seven universities were funded to study factors that influence physical activity among white, African American, Latina, and Native American women residing in rural, suburban, and urban living environments. An ecologic model and qualitative data from these population groups were used to design a quantitative questionnaire. The survey was implemented by telephone and face-to-face interviews in seven sites across the United States.


Younger age, good general health, and high self-efficacy were the most consistent personal correlates associated with physical activity. Knowing people who exercise and attending religious services were the only social environmental factors with significant associations across population groups. With the exception of safety from crime, no physical environmental factors were consistently related to physical activity. Most groups had intervention suggestions that included access to facilities.


This study identifies pertinent factors related to physical activity in women and addresses the differences in assessment among the groups. Because each group may have unique characteristics, it is important to assess all levels that could influence physical activity such as personal, social, environmental, and policy. The information can then be used to tailor interventions for the various groups.

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