Objectives: This study describes the patterns of physical activity among minority women by using a variety of definitions and determines sociodemographic and behavioral correlates of physical activity in this population.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted in 1996 and 1997 among US women 40 years and older (n = 2912) of the following racial/ethnic groups: African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native, Hispanic, and White.
Results: Physical activity was lowest among African Americans and American Indians/Alaskan Natives (adjusted odds ratios [ORs] for no leisure-time activity were 1.35 [95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.08, 1.68] and 1.65 [95% CI = 1.33, 2.06], respectively). A much higher proportion of women were classified as being physically active when occupational activity rather than more traditional assessments of leisure activity were used to determine level of physical activity. On the basis of a composite definition of physical activity, 72% of respondents reported being physically active. Women living in rural regions (OR = 1.33; 95% CI = 1.12, 1.58) were more likely than urban inhabitants to be completely inactive during leisure time.
Conclusions: Minority women are among the least active subgroups in American society, although not all groups are less active than White women when all domains of physical activity are taken into account.