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Ethn Health. 2011 Dec;16(6):625-41. doi: 10.1080/13557858.2011.603040. Epub 2011 Aug 18.

Selected sociocultural correlates of physical activity among African-American adults.

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Health Communication Research Laboratory, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, MO, USA.



Previous studies have identified several factors to be associated with physical activity (PA) among African-Americans, e.g., demographic and health-related characteristics. Formative studies suggest a link between sociocultural factors and PA among ethnic minorities; yet, it is unclear whether these factors play a role in PA among African-Americans. This paper explores the association of selected sociocultural characteristics with self-reported PA by gender among African-American adults, taking into account demographic and health-related characteristics.


Data from the baseline survey of a colorectal cancer communication intervention trial were used. Participants included 446 African-American men and women, aged 45-75 years. Self-report data were collected on demographics, health-related characteristics, selected sociocultural constructs (e.g., ethnic identity, religiosity, collectivism, and medical mistrust), and PA. PA was categorized as meeting or not meeting recommended levels; recommended levels were defined as participating in vigorous PA for 20 minutes/day for at least three days/week or moderate PA for 30 minutes/day for at least five days/week or a minimum of 600 MET-minutes/week in at least five days. Chi-square and multivariate logistic regression models were used to characterize the association between the selected sociocultural constructs and PA among men and women, after adjusting for demographic and health-related characteristics.


Most participants reported some PA but only 59% were found to be meeting recommended levels. Univariate analyses revealed that high collectivist attitudes were associated with meeting recommended PA (OR = 1.74), particularly for women (OR = 1.81). In multivariate analyses, high collectivist attitudes were significantly associated with meeting PA recommendations among men (OR = 1.87); while high religiosity and high collectivism were significant among women (OR = 1.87 and 1.85, respectively).


Few of the selected sociocultural characteristics were found to be associated with meeting recommended PA levels. Further study is needed to understand the association of these characteristics with PA among African-Americans.

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