, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 99-112

Physical Activity Patterns of Urban African Americans

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This study assessed physical activity patterns in a sample of urban African Americans, whose participation in physical activity has not previously been well-described. From questions administered by interviewers during health fair screenings in 19 churches in East Baltimore, information regarding participation in regular, leisure-time activity (defined as 30 minutes of activity, 5 days per week), time spent walking on the job, and distance walked to and from work was assessed from 365 adults (69% women). Regular, leisure-time activity participation was 18% for men and 16% for women. When the definition of physical activity participation was broadened to include: (1) spending over half the day walking at work; (2) walking at least 10 blocks to and from work; as well as (3) regular, leisure-time activity, 41% of men and 38% of women were active. These data suggest that, while a small percentage of African Americans participate in regular physical activity, a substantial percentage are regularly active when non-leisure-time activity is assessed. To accurately characterize overall participation, physical activity derived from a variety of sources, including transportation and work-related activity, should be assessed.