Factors influencing physical activity in average-weight and overweight young women

J Community Health Nurs. 1994;11(2):109-19. doi: 10.1207/s15327655jchn1102_6.


Young women are a specific population that is falling short of performing what is considered to be an optimal level of physical activity. The purpose of this study was to determine the ability of nine explanatory variables to predict physical activity in a sample of average-weight (n = 225) and overweight (n = 115) young women. Personal control, race, regular participation in organizations and groups, and interpersonal support were the significant predictors of physical activity in overweight women. For average-weight women, only three variables--personal control, regular participation, and race--were significantly related to physical activity. Recreational activity was routinely performed by 25% of the women. Of the 14% who reported regular vigorous physical activity, 26% were White and 10% were Black. The findings suggest that nurses in community settings design interventions that are sex and race specific and that include personal-control skill building, interpersonal support systems, and multiple forms of physical activity, particularly recreational forms.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Attitude to Health
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • European Continental Ancestry Group / statistics & numerical data
  • Exercise* / psychology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Obesity / psychology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Social Support
  • Southeastern United States / epidemiology