Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 244–255 | Cite as

Physical Activity Guideline in Mexican-Americans: Does the Built Environment Play a Role?

  • Abiodun O. OluyomiEmail author
  • Lawrence W. Whitehead
  • Keith D. Burau
  • Elaine Symanski
  • Harold W. Kohl
  • Melissa Bondy
Original Paper


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.


Mexican-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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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Abiodun O. Oluyomi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Lawrence W. Whitehead
    • 2
  • Keith D. Burau
    • 3
  • Elaine Symanski
    • 2
  • Harold W. Kohl
    • 1
    • 5
  • Melissa Bondy
    • 4
  1. 1.The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, School of Public Health Austin Regional CampusThe University of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonAustinUSA
  2. 2.Division of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental SciencesSchool of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, University of Texas School of Public HealthHoustonUSA
  3. 3.Division of Biostatistics and Public Health/Bioinformatics Dual Degree Program, School of Public HealthThe University of Texas Health Science Center at HoustonHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Dan L. Duncan Cancer CenterBaylor College of MedicineHoustonUSA
  5. 5.Department of Kinesiology and Health EducationThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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