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Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise:
Basic Sciences: Epidemiology

Physical Activity Patterns and Obesity in Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Women

SLATTERY, MARTHA L.1; SWEENEY, CAROL1; EDWARDS, SANDRA1; HERRICK, JENNIFER1; MURTAUGH, MAUREEN1; BAUMGARTNER, KATHY2; GUILIANO, ANNA3; BYERS, TIM4

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Abstract

Purpose: Cultural differences in diet and lifestyle patterns probably contribute to cancer rates among ethnic groups in the United States. In this paper, we describe physical activity patterns of Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women living in the southwestern United States and the effects of these patterns on obesity.

Methods: We use data from population-based controls (N = 2039) participating in the 4-Corner’s Breast Cancer Study to evaluate associations between physical activity and language acculturation and the associated effects on obesity.

Results: The majority of both Hispanic and non-Hispanic white women did not perform 30 min of activity ≥5 d·wk−1, although a greater percentage of Hispanic women meet the goal if they reported higher levels of language acculturation. However, the type and intensity of activities performed by Hispanic and non-Hispanic women differed; Hispanic women reported more housework, dependent care giving, dancing, and work activity. Differences in activity patterns existed by level of language acculturation among Hispanic women. Hispanic women who had higher levels of language acculturation reported continued activity throughout their lives. Prevalence of obesity was greater among Hispanic than non-Hispanic white women for all levels of language acculturation. Women with intermediate levels of language acculturation had the greatest relative risk of obesity compared with non-Hispanic white women (odds ratio (OR) = 2.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.85–4.02); Hispanic women with higher levels of language acculturation also were at increased relative risk of obesity (OR = 1.78, 95% CI = 1.28–2.47).

Conclusions: Interventions to increase physical activity among Hispanic women are needed to address the problems of physical inactivity and obesity in that population. Facilitating culturally relevant activities might be reasonable approaches to increasing physical activity.

©2006The American College of Sports Medicine

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