Personal, social, and environmental correlates of physical activity in North Carolina Latina immigrants

Am J Prev Med. 2003 Oct;25(3 Suppl 1):77-85. doi: 10.1016/s0749-3797(03)00168-5.


Background: Few studies have examined the correlates of physical activity for Latinas (Latino women) that provide critical information for developing culturally competent interventions. The objective of this study was to describe physical activity and the personal, social environmental, and physical environmental correlates for Latina immigrants.

Methods: As part of the multisite Women's Cardiovascular Health Network Project, 671 first-generation Latina immigrants, aged 20 to 50 years who were living in North Carolina, completed an in-person interview. All statistical models were adjusted for acculturation, with self-reported physical activity as the dependent variable.

Results: Only 37% of the Latinas reported meeting vigorous or moderate recommendations for physical activity, with 42% insufficiently active and 21% inactive. Women with more self-efficacy (confidence that they could exercise more) were less likely to meet recommendations for activity. Social environmental factors, such as knowing people who exercise or seeing people exercise in the neighborhood, were more likely among women who reported any activity or who met recommendations for activity. Physical environmental factors, such as vehicular traffic and street lighting, were not strongly associated with physical activity. Living in a community where places to exercise were available was associated with any activity.

Conclusions: This study underscores the importance of understanding personal characteristics and addressing factors that reflects the social and physical environment where Latinas live. Future programs aimed at increasing physical activity among Latina immigrants should consider such factors, particularly factors from the social environment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Central America / ethnology
  • Emigration and Immigration
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Mexico / ethnology
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Social Environment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Women's Health*