Physical Activity Guideline in Mexican-Americans: Does the Built Environment Play a Role?
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Given disproportionate burden of physical inactivity among US Hispanics and emerging interests in the potential role of the built environment on physical activity, we tested the hypothesis that residing in a more walkable block group is associated with increased physical activity in a cohort of Mexican-American adults. 10,183 Mexican-American adults from Houston, TX, USA were studied. Physical activity was assessed through self-report. Geographical information systems were used to create a “walkability index” (WI). We examined the relationship between WI and physical activity using regression models. Findings for the entire study population suggested a direct association between neighborhood walkability and physical activity that approached statistical significance (High WI vs. Low WI: OR = 1.16; 95 % CI 0.95–1.40). Furthermore, participants who lived in a higher WI neighborhood were more likely to meet physical activity guidelines in 2 groups: (1) men whose recreational physical activity included walking (High WI vs. Low WI: OR = 5.43; 95 % CI 1.30–22.73) and (2) men whose only recreational physical activity was (High WI vs. Low WI: OR = 9.54; 95 % CI 1.84–49.60). Our findings suggest gender differences in the association between the built environment and physical activity in Mexican-American adults. Attempts to encourage walking among Mexican-American adults may be easier in high-walkability neighborhoods than in low-walkability neighborhoods.
KeywordsMexican-American Built environment Physical activity Geographical information systems (GIS) Walkability index
We acknowledge the work of the interviewers and staff at the Mexican-American Cohort Study office in the Epidemiology Department, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. This research was supported in part, by a cancer prevention fellowship for Abiodun Oluyomi supported by the National Cancer Institute grant R25E CA56452, Shine Chang, Ph.D., Principal Investigator.
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