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Prev Med. 2015 Mar;72:50-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2015.01.001. Epub 2015 Jan 10.

Perceptions and the role of group exercise among New York City adults, 2010-2011: an examination of interpersonal factors and leisure-time physical activity.

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NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, USA. Electronic address:
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, USA; Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, USA.
NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, USA.



To examine associations of descriptive norms (i.e., behaviors of social group members) and exercising 'with a partner' or 'as a part of a group' on weekly leisure-time physical activity.


T-tests and adjusted multivariable linear models were used to test the associations between descriptive norms and exercising with a partner or as a part of a group with self-reported leisure-time physical activity using the cross-sectional, population-based New York City Physical Activity and Transit (PAT) Survey 2010-2011 (n=3806).


Overall, 70.6% of adult New Yorkers reported having physically active friends. Having active friends was associated with increased leisure-time physical activity; however, the effect varied by sex. Compared to those who did not have active friends, males with active friends reported two times more activity (56 min/week) and women reported two and a half times more activity (35 min/week) (both p-values<0.001). Physically active males and females who usually engaged in leisure-time activities as a part of a group reported 1.4 times more activity than those who exercised alone (both p-values<0.03).


Descriptive norms and group exercise were associated with leisure-time physical activity among adults. Based on these associations, encouraging group exercise may be an effective strategy for increasing leisure-time physical activity among certain subgroups.


Descriptive norms; GPAQ; Group exercise; LTPA; Physical activity

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