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Am J Prev Med. 2007 Nov;33(5):412-7.

Self-reported physical activity among blacks: estimates from national surveys.

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Department of Epidemiology and Prevention, Division of Public Health Sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.



National surveillance data provide population-level estimates of physical activity participation, but generally do not include detailed subgroup analyses, which could provide a better understanding of physical activity among subgroups. This paper presents a descriptive analysis of self-reported regular physical activity among black adults using data from the 2003 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (n=19,189), the 2004 National Health Interview Survey (n=4263), and the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (n=3407).


Analyses were conducted between January and March 2006. Datasets were analyzed separately to estimate the proportion of black adults meeting national physical activity recommendations overall and stratified by gender and other demographic subgroups.


The proportion of black adults reporting regular PA ranged from 24% to 36%. Regular physical activity was highest among men; younger age groups; highest education and income groups; those who were employed and married; overweight, but not obese, men; and normal-weight women. This pattern was consistent across surveys.


The observed physical activity patterns were consistent with national trends. The data suggest that older black adults and those with low education and income levels are at greatest risk for inactive lifestyles and may require additional attention in efforts to increase physical activity in black adults. The variability across datasets reinforces the need for objective measures in national surveys.

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