Physical Activity Participation Patterns Among Latinos in the Northeast

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Martinez, Karen S.
Latino , Hispanic , Physical Activity , New York , Acculturation , Obesity , Exercise Science
According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity has been identified as the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality. Certain ethnic populations have been affected disproportionately; national studies have indicated that Latinos have lower levels of leisure-time physical activity (PA) than Caucasians and African Americans. Understanding PA levels among the Latino population has become a public health concern. Recent studies have solely focused on PA levels of recent immigrants to the United States. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to determine the PA patterns of Latinos living in New York. Through the use of both paper and pencil questionnaires and the Internet, participants (n = 235) filled out a basic demographic questionnaire along with the Godin Leisure Time Exercise Questionnaire. The sample was 52.8% female and distributed evenly by race: 23.4% African Americans, 27.7% Caucasian, 36.2% Hispanic, and 12.3% indicated “other.” In terms of acculturation status, 40.4% of the sample indicated they were first-generation Americans.The average self-reported PA score for the total sample was 57.51±30.89. Nearly half (48.5%) of the sample indicated their frequency of PA as “often.” A one-way ANOVA indicated no significant differences in PA among the four different race categories. An additional ANOVA indicated significant differences in PA among acculturation status groups F(2,175)=5.80, p=.004; post-hoc analyses indicated first-generation Americans are significantly less physically active than third-generation Americans. A final ANOVA indicated significant differences in frequency of PA among acculturation status groups F(2,175)=5.38, p=.005; post-hoc analyses indicated that third-generation Americans reported greater frequency of PA than second- and first-generation Americans.