Personal, social, and physical environmental correlates of physical activity in African-American women in South Carolina

Barbara E. Ainsworth, Sara Wilcox, Winifred W. Thompson, Donna L. Richter, Karla A. Henderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Background: Little is known about the correlates of physical activity among African-American women living in the southeastern United States. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationship of personal, social, cultural, environmental, and policy variables with physical activity among women in ethnic minority groups. Methods: The Women and Physical Activity Survey was used in a telephone interview of 917 African-American women living in two counties in South Carolina. The sample of women was selected by random-digit dialing. Results: Approximately one third (34.1%) of the women met current recommendations for moderate or vigorous physical activity, 49.4% were insufficiently active, and 16.5% were inactive. Meeting the recommendations or engaging in insufficient activity (versus inactive) was related to attaining higher educational levels, being married or with a partner; being in excellent or very good health, having greater self-efficacy, seeing people exercise in the neighborhood, having more favorable ratings of women who exercise (social issues score), having lower social role strain, and reporting the presence of sidewalks or lighter traffic in the neighborhood. Conclusion: Multiple factors influence physical activity. Interventions to increase physical activity should use multilevel approaches that incorporate the personal, social environmental, and physical environmental factors related to participation in physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-29
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of preventive medicine
Issue number3 SUPPL. 1
StatePublished - Oct 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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