A comparison of physical activity environments between South Asians and white Caucasians with coronary heart disease

Ethn Dis. Autumn 2010;20(4):390-5.


South Asians (SA) are predisposed to developing premature coronary heart disease (CHD), partly due to the early onset of classic risk factors, including physical inactivity. The nature of physical activity (PA) environments in South Asians in Canada remains unknown. Our objective was to examine differences in PA environments for South Asian vs White Caucasian (WC) CHD patients. In a cross-sectional study, 2657 hospitalized CHD patients in Ontario completed The Perceived Environments Related to Physical Activity Questionnaire to assess their home and neighborhood environment, perceived neighborhood safety and availability of recreational facilities. Patients self-reporting their ethnocultural background as WC (N = 1301, 48.6%) or SA (N = 171, 6.4%) were included in this study. South Asians were significantly younger, had lower body mass index, higher levels of education, lower income, were less likely to smoke and reside rurally, and were more likely to be married, have diabetes mellitus and have experienced prior myocardial infarction (MI) than WC patients. South Asians also had lower availability of home exercise equipment and perceived convenience of local PA facilities, but better and safer neighborhood environments than WC patients. Multivariate analyses revealed that SA ethnocultural background remained significantly related to reduced availability of home exercise equipment and fewer convenient local PA facilities. Since physical inactivity is an important CHD risk factor, and SA ethnocultural background is associated with high CHD risk, this may represent a novel target for risk reduction. Thus, further research is required to optimize SA awareness of the need for PA, and access to equipment and facilities.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Asia, Southeastern / ethnology
  • Coronary Disease / ethnology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Activity*
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Ontario / epidemiology