Physical Activity Behavior and Measurement in Arab American Women: An Integrative Review

J Prev (2022). 2023 Dec;44(6):749-776. doi: 10.1007/s10935-023-00746-y. Epub 2023 Sep 20.


Physical activity (PA) is associated with cardiovascular health; however, in the U.S., only 20% of women are physically active, compared to 28% of men. Arab American women (AAW) experience unique barriers to engaging in the recommended PA. This review examines quantitative PA studies conducted with AAW with a specific focus on how PA outcomes were assessed. Studies were analyzed to explore: (a) types of PA behavior, (b) components of PA interventions/interest (if conducted), (c) PA measurement, and (d) translation of PA tools. After screening titles, abstracts, and a full-text review of articles from five different databases, 12 studies met the inclusion criteria. Leisure-time PA was the most readily used PA measure. Only two out of the 12 studies included women-only participants. There was a total of 10 cross-sectional studies and two quasi-experimental studies. All the studies used a self-report PA questionnaire; one study used a pedometer to measure PA. Six PA questionnaires were translated into Arabic. Future studies must explore the use of reliable and valid translated instruments, objective PA measures, and randomized controlled trial designs.

Keywords: Arab American; Health promotion; Physical activity/physical fitness/exercise; Women’s health.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arabs*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Activity*
  • Self Report