In 2002, researchers at seven universities expanded a CDC-funded study about the factors that affect the physical activity levels of racially and ethnically diverse women.
The results of the complete study will be used to develop and test a model of the determinants of physical activity.
Under the grant, the researchers:
- Increased the overall sample size of the survey to 4,122.
- Added urban Latina women to the sample.
- Resurveyed 8 percent of the sample population to test the reliability of the survey.
- Divided the samples into three levels of physical activity, based on the recommendations of the CDC and the American College of Sports Medicine.
The researchers reported the following findings in a special supplement to the American Journal of Preventive Medicine:
- Women who were younger and in better health were most likely to report engaging in physical activity.
- Women who were very confident of their ability to exercise were up to five times more likely to be active than were women with low self-confidence.
- Knowing people who exercise and attending religious services were the only social environmental factors significantly associated with physical activity, but the correlation was not always positive.
- With the exception of safety from crime, no physical environmental factors were consistently related to physical activity.
- When asked what changes in their community or workplace would facilitate exercise, the respondents most often suggested more and better facilities and more group programs.