Leisure-time physical activity and aerobic fitness in African-American young adults

Barbara E. Ainsworth, Carolyn B. Berry, Victoria N. Schnyder, Sessie R. Vickers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


This cross-sectional study identified the leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and aerobic fitness levels of 189 African-American young adult college freshmen. LTPA was measured with the Lipid Research Clinics (LRC), Godin Leisure-Time Exercise, and the College Alumnus physical activity questionnaires. The Physical Activity Index (PAI, an index of walking, stair climbing, and recreational sports participation, was obtained from the College Alumnus questionnaire. Aerobic fitness was measured indirectly with the Cooper 12-Minute Walking/ Running Test. More women (82%) than men (53%) were classified as inactive (strenuous exercise or labor <3 days/ week and much less active than peers) or low active (strenuous exercise or labor <3 days/week and as active or more active than peers) on the LRC Questionnaire. The PAI scores were moderately low in men (1,521 ± 1,634 kcal · week-1) and very low in women (706 ± 868 kcal · week-1). The majority of men (71%) and women (82%) were classified as 'very poor' in aerobic fitness levels. Body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fatness, was classified as 'overweight' or 'obese' for 39% of men and 37% of women (BMI = 25.9 ± 5.7 kg/m2), reflecting inactive LTPA habits. These findings are consistent with studies showing low LTPA in middle-age AfricanAmerican adults. School and community-level interventions are recommended to increase LTPA and aerobic fitness in adolescent and young adult African-Americans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)606-611
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number7
StatePublished - Nov 1992


  • Physical activity Exercise African-Americans Blacks Aerobic fitness Race

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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