Culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) migrants face significant health risks as they adapt to new cultures. These risks are exacerbated by their limited participation in preventative behaviours such as sports and physical activity. The review aimed to identify studies that examined the correlates of sport and physical activity participation in migrants. The systematic review identified 72 papers, including 6 interventions, 18 qualitative and 48 quantitative studies. The 44 identified correlates highlight the complexities involved in working with migrants. The correlates were grouped in four themes using the social ecological model; acculturation, demographic, psychosocial and environmental/organisational. The social ecological model identified general correlates such as social support and safety. However, there were unique correlates relating to individuals who are facing cultural changes such as acculturation and language. Overall, there is a lack of contextualisation of CALD migrants’ sport and physical activity experiences because many studies fail to consider acculturation comprehensively.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Similar content being viewed by others
Culturally and linguistically diverse
Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2009) Fact sheet 2—key facts in immigration. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, Australia.
Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship (2012) Population flows: immigration aspects 2010–11. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, Australia.
Information and External Relations Division (2006) The state of the world population 2006: a passage to hope. United Nations Population Fund, New York.
Lin K-M. Psychopathology and social disruption in refugees. In: Williams CL, Westermeyer J, editors. Refugee mental health in resettlement countries. The series in clinical and community psychology. Washington: Hemisphere Publishing Corporation; 1986. p. 61–73.
Berry JW, Kim U. Acculturation and mental health. In: Dasen PR, Berry JWSartorius N, editors. Health and cross-cultural psychology: toward applications. London: Sage Publications Inc; 1988. p. 207–36.
Berry JW. Acculturation. In: Friedlmeier W, Chakkarath P, Schwarz B, editors. Culture and human development: the importance of cross-cultural research to the social sciences. New York: Psychology Press; 2005. p. 291–302.
Redfield R, Linton R, Herskovits MJ. Memorandum for the study of acculturation. Am Anthropol. 1936;38(1):149–52.
Sam DL. Acculturation: conceptual background and core components. In: Sam DL, Berry JW, editors. The Cambridge handbook of acculturation psychology. New York: Cambridge University Press; 2006.
Ager A. Perspectives on the refugee experience. In: Ager A, editor. Refugees: perspectives on the experience of forced migration. London: Continuum; 1999. p. 1–23.
Ayodele OE, Alebiosu CO, Salako BL. Diabetic nephropathy—a review of the natural history, burden, risk factors and treatment. J Natl Med Assoc. 2004;96:1445–554.
Ritz E, Orth SR. Nephropathy in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus. N Engl J Med. 1999;341:1127–33.
Australian Bureau of Statistics (2006) Migrants and participation in sport and physical activity. Commonwealth of Australia, Canberra, Australia.
Lee IM. Exercise and physical health: cancer and immune function. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1995;66:286–91.
Penedo FJ, Dahn JR. Exercise and well-being: a review of mental and physical health benefits associated with physical activity. Curr Opin Psychiatry. 2005;18(2):189–93.
Archetti EP. Masculinities: football, polo and the tango in Argentina. Oxford: Berg Publishers; 1999.
Trost SG, Owen N, Bauman AE, Sallis JF, Brown W. Correlates of adults’ participation in physical activity: review and update. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2002;34(12):1996–2001.
Caperchione CM, Kolt GS, Mummery WK. Physical activity in culturally and linguistically diverse migrant groups to western society: a review of barriers, enablers and experiences. Sports Med. 2009;39(3):167–77.
Eyler AE, Wilcox S, Matson-Koffman D, Evenson KR, Sanderson B, Thompson J, Wilbur J, Rohm-Young D. Correlates of physical activity among women from diverse racial/ethnic groups. J Women’s Health Gender-Based Med. 2002;11(3):239–53.
Bauman AE, Reis RS, Sallis JF, Wells JC, Loos RJ, Martin BW. Correlates of physical activity: why are some people physically active and others not? The Lancet. 2012;380(9838):258–71.
Cleland VJ, Ball K, King AC, Crawford D. Do the individual, social, and environmental correlates of physical activity differ between urban and rural women? Environ Behav. 2012;44(3):350–73.
Sallis JF, Bauman A, Pratt M. Environmental and policy interventions to promote physical activity. Am J Prev Med. 1998;15(4):379–97.
Prochaska JO, DiClemente CC. The transtheoretical approach: crossing traditional boundaries of change. Homewood, IL: Dow Jones-Irwin; 1984.
Albright CL, Pruitt L, Castro C, Gonzalez A, Woo S, King AC. Modifying physical activity in a multiethnic sample of low-income women: one-year results from the IMPACT (Increasing Motivation for Physical ACTivity) project. Ann Behav Med. 2005;30(3):191–200. (A publication of The Society of Behavioral Medicine).
Magoc D, Tomaka J, Thompson S. Overweight, obesity, and strong attitudes: predicting participation in physical activity in a predominantly Hispanic college population. Health Educ J. 2012;71(1):5–16.
Gentry EM, Kalsbeek WD, Hogelin GC, Jones JT, Gaines KL, Forman MR, Marks JS, Trowbridge FL. The behavioral risk factor surveys: II. Design, methods, and estimates from combined state data. Am J Prev Med. 1985;1:9–14.
Jackson AS, Ross RM. Understanding exercise for health and fitness. 3rd ed. Dubuque, IA: Kendall Hunt Publishing Company; 1997.
Ainsworth BE, Sternfeld B, Richardson MT, Jackson K. Evaluation of the Kaiser physical activity survey in women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000;32(7):1327–38.
Stewart AL, Mills KM, King AC, Haskell WL, Gillis DRitter PL. CHAMPS physical activity questionnaire for older adults. Outcomes for interventions. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33(7):1126–41.
Crespo CJ, Keteyian SJ, Heath GW, Sempos CT. Leisure-time physical activity among US adults results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 1996;156(1):93–8.
Steinhardt MA, Jewett AE, Mullan MR. An analysis of the purposes for engaging in physical activity scale (PEPAS) as an instrument for curriculum research. Res Q Exerc Sport. 1988;59:339–50.
Brownson R, Chang J, Eyler A, Ainsworth BE. Measuring the environment for friendliness toward physical activity: a comparison of the reliability of three questionnaires. Am J Public Health. 2004;94(3):473–83.
Saelens BE, Sallis JF, Black JB, Chen D. Neighborhood-based differences in physical activity: an environment scale evaluation. Am J Public Health. 2003;93(9):1552–8.
Ainsworth BE, Bassett DRJ, Strath SJ, Swartz AM, O’Brien WL, Thompson RW, Jones DA, Macera CA, Kimsey CD. Comparison of three methods for measuring the time spent in physical activity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2000;32(9):S457–64.
Bandura A. Guide for constructing self-efficacy scales. In: Pajares F, Urdan T, editors. Self-efficacy beliefs in adolescents. Greenwich, CT: Information Age Publishing; 2006. p. 307–37.
August K, Sorkin D. Racial/ethnic disparities in exercise and dietary behaviors of middle-aged and older adults. J Gen Intern Med. 2011;26(3):245–50.
Bungum TJ, Thompson-Robinson M, Moonie S, Lounsbery MAF. Correlates of physical activity among Hispanic adults. J Phys Act Health. 2011;8(3):429–35.
Yang K, Laffrey S, Stuifbergen A, Im E-O, May K, Kouzekanani K. Leisure-time physical activity among midlife Korean immigrant women in the US. J Immigr Minor Health. 2007;9(4):291–8.
Hosper K, Nierkens V, van Valkengoed I, Stronks K. Motivational factors mediating the association between acculturation and participation in sport among young Turkish and Moroccan women in the Netherlands. Prev Med. 2008;47(1):95–100.
Tremblay MS, Bryan SN, Pérez CE, Ardern CI, Katzmarzyk PT. Physical activity and immigrant status: evidence from the Canadian Community Health Survey. Can J Public Health. 2006;97(4):277–82.
Méjean C, Traissac P, Eymard-Duvernay S, Delpeuch F, Maire B. Influence of acculturation among Tunisian migrants in France and their past/present exposure to the home country on diet and physical activity. Public Health Nutr. 2009;12(6):832–41.
Afable-Munsuz A, Ponce NA, Rodriguez M, Perez-Stable EJ. Immigrant generation and physical activity among Mexican, Chinese & Filipino adults in the U.S. Soc Sci Med. 2010;70(12):1997–2005.
Ahmed NU, Smith GL, Flores AM, Pamies RJ, Mason HRC, Woods KF, Stain SC. Racial/ethnic disparity and predictors of leisure-time physical activity among U.S. men. Ethn Dis. 2005;15(1):40–52.
Barnes D, Almasy N. Refugees’ perceptions of healthy behaviors. J Immigr Health. 2005;7(3):185–93.
Caperchione CM, Kolt GS, Tennent R, Mummery WK. Physical activity behaviours of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women living in Australia: a qualitative study of socio-cultural influences. BMC Public Health. 2011;11(1):1–10.
Jurkowski JM, Mosquera M, Ramos B. Selected cultural factors associated with physical activity among Latino women. Womens Health Issues. 2010;20(3):219–26.
Stodolska M, Shinew KJ. Environmental constraints on leisure time physical activity among Latino urban residents. Qual Res Sport Exerc. 2010;2(3):313–35.
Suinn R, Rickard-Figueroa K, Lew S, Vigil P. The Suinn-Lew Asian self-identity acculturation scale: an initial report. Educ Psychol Meas. 1987;47:401–7.
Bryan SN, Tremblay MS, Perez CE, Ardern CI, Katzmarzyk PT. Physical activity and ethnicity: evidence from the Canadian Community Health Survey. Can J Public Health. 2006;97(4):271–6.
He XZ, Baker DW. Differences in leisure-time, household, and work-related physical activity by race, ethnicity, and education. J Gen Intern Med. 2005;20(3):259–66.
Mier N, Ory MG, Zhan D, Wang S, Burdine JN. Levels and correlates of exercise in a border Mexican American population. Am J Health Behav. 2007;31(2):159–69.
Bird S, Radermacher H, Feldman S, Sims J, Kurowski W, Browning C, Thomas S. Factors influencing the physical activity levels of older people from culturally-diverse communities: an Australian experience. Ageing Soc. 2009;29(8):1275–94.
Sinnapah S, Antoine-Jonville S, Donnet JP, Hue O. Asian Indians of Guadeloupe are less physically active than their island counterparts. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2009;19(2):222–7.
Hofstetter CR, Irvin V, Schmitz K, Hovell MF, Nichols J, Kim HR, Ledet R, Zakarian J, Park H, Paik HY, Lee J. Demography of exercise among Californians of Korean descent: a cross-sectional telephone survey. J Immigr Minor Health. 2008;10(1):53–65.
Sternfeld B, Cauley J, Harlow S, Liu G, Lee M. Assessment of physical activity with a single global question in a large, multiethnic sample of midlife women. Am J Epidemiol. 2000;152(7):678–87.
Bird S, Kurowski W, Feldman S, Browning C, Lau R, Radermacher H, Thomas S, Sims J. The influence of the built environment and other factors on the physical activity of older women from different ethnic communities. J Women Aging. 2009;21(1):33–47.
Wilcox S, Castro C, King AC, Housemann R, Brownson RC. Determinants of leisure time physical activity in rural compared with urban older and ethnically diverse women in the United States. J Epidemiol Community Health. 2000;54(9):667–72.
Marshall SJ, Jones DA, Ainsworth BE, Reis JP, Levy SS, Macera CA. Race/ethnicity, social class, and leisure-time physical inactivity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009;39(1):44–51.
Taylor T. The rhetoric of exclusion: perspectives of cultural diversity in Australian netball. J Sport Soc Issues. 2004;28:453–76.
Eyler AA, Matson-Koffman D, Vest JR, Evenson KR, Sanderson B, Thompson JL, Wilbur J, Wilcox S, Young DR. Environmental, policy, and cultural factors related to physical activity in a diverse sample of women: The Women’s Cardiovascular Health Network Project—summary and discussion. Women Health. 2002;36(2):123–34.
Guerin PB, Diiriye RO, Corrigan C, Guerin B. Physical activity programs for refugee Somali women: working out in a new country. Women Health. 2003;38(1):83–99.
Ayala GX, Gammelgard A, Sallis JF, Elder JP. The association of physical activity and work-related characteristics among Latino adults. J Phys Act Health. 2011;8(1):79–89.
Marquez DX, Neighbors CJ, Bustamante EE. Leisure time and occupational physical activity among racial or ethnic minorities. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2010;42(6):1086.
United Nations (2007) World population prospects: the 2006 revision. Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Eyler AA, Matson-Koffman D, Young DR, Wilcox S, Wilbur J, Thompson JL, Sanderson B, Evenson KR. Quantitative study of correlates of physical activity in women from diverse racial/ethnic groups: The Women’s Cardiovascular Health Network Project summary and conclusions. Am J Prev Med. 2003;25:93.
Hosper K, Deutekom M, Stronks PK. The effectiveness of “exercise on prescription” in stimulating physical activity among women in ethnic minority groups in the Netherlands: protocol for a randomized controlled trial. BMC Public Health. 2008;8:406.
Castro CM, Sallis JF, Hickmann SA, Lee RE, Chen AH. A prospective study of psychosocial correlates of physical activity for ethnic minority women. Psychol Health. 1999;14(2):277–93.
Hickmann SA, Lee RE, Sallis JF, Castro CM, Chen AH. The association of physical activity change with self-esteem in ethnic minority women: a prospective analysis. J Gender. 1999;4:281–92.
Mathews AE, Laditka SB, Laditka JN, Wilcox S, Corwin SJ, Liu R, Friedman DB, Hunter R, Tseng W, Logsdon RG. Older adults’ perceived physical activity enablers and barriers: a multicultural perspective. J Aging Phys Act. 2010;18(2):119–40.
Snape R, Binks P. Re-thinking sport: physical activity and healthy living in British South Asian Muslim communities. Manag Leis. 2008;13(1):23–35.
Evenson KR, Sarmiento OL, Macon ML, Tawney KW, Ammerman AS. Environmental, policy, and cultural factors related to physical activity among Latina immigrants. Women Health. 2002;36(2):43–57.
Taylor T, Toohey K. Behind the veil: exploring the recreation needs of Muslim women. Leisure. 2001;26:85–105.
Dergance JM, Calmbach WL, Dhanda R, Miles TP, Hazuda HP, Mouton CP. Barriers to and benefits of leisure time physical activity in the elderly: differences across cultures. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003;51(6):863–8.
Eyler AA, Baker E, Cromer L, King AC, Brownson RC, Donatelle RJ. Physical activity and minority women: a qualitative study. Health Educ Behav. 1998;25(5):640–52.
Swenson CJ, Marshall JA, Mikulich-Gilbertson SK, Baxter J, Morgenstern N. Physical activity in older, rural, hispanic, and non-hispanic white adults. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005;37(6):995–1002.
Walseth K. Young Muslim women and sport: the impact of identity work. Leis Stud. 2006;25(1):75–94.
Stewart AL, Gillis D, Grossman M, Castrillo M, Pruitt L, McLellan B, Sperber N. Diffusing a research-based physical activity promotion program for seniors into diverse communities: CHAMPS III. Prev Chronic Dis. 2006;3(2):A51.
Belza B, Walwick J, Shiu-Thornton S, Schwartz S, Taylor M, LoGerfo J. Older adult perspectives on physical activity and exercise: voices from multiple cultures. Prev Chronic Dis. 2004;1(4):A09.
Renzaho AMN. Fat, rich and beautiful: changing socio-cultural paradigms associated with obesity risk, nutritional status and refugee children from sub-Saharan Africa. Health Place. 2004;10(1):105–13.
Huff RM. Cross-cultural concepts of health and disease. In: Huff RM, Kline MV, editors. Promoting health in multicultural populations: a handbook for practitioners. California: Sage Publications; 1999. p. 23–40.
Saint Onge JM, Krueger PM. Education and racial-ethnic differences in types of exercise in the United States. J Health Soc Behav. 2011;52(2):197–211.
Hacısoftaoğlu I, Pfister G. Transitions: life stories and physical activities of Turkish migrants in Denmark. Sport Soc. 2012;15(3):385–98.
Taylor V, Cripe S, Acorda E, Teh C, Coronado G, Do H, Woodall E, Hislop T. Development of an ESL curriculum to educate Chinese immigrants about physical activity. J Immigr Minor Health. 2008;10(4):379–87.
Purath J, Van Son C, Corbett CF. Physical activity: exploring views of older Russian-speaking slavic immigrants. Nurs Res Pract. 2011;2011:1–5.
Marquez DX, McAuley E. Social cognitive correlates of leisure time physical activity among Latinos. J Behav Med. 2006;29(3):281–9.
Mâsse LC, Anderson CB. Ethnic differences among correlates of physical activity in women. Am J Health Promot. 2003;17(6):357–60.
Ng V, Rush TJ, He M, Irwin JD. Activity and obesity of Colombian immigrants in Canada who use a food bank. Percept Mot Skills. 2007;105(2):681–7.
Dergance JM, Mouton CP, Lichtenstein MJ, Hazuda HP. Potential mediators of ethnic differences in physical activity in older Mexican Americans and European Americans: results from the San Antonio Longitudinal Study of Aging. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2005;53(7):1240–7.
Ransdell LB, Wells CL. Physical activity in urban white, African-American, and Mexican-American women. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1998;30(11):1608–15.
Prochaska JO, DiClemente CC. Stages and processes of self-change of smoking: toward an integrative model of change. J Consult Clin Psychol. 1983;51(3):390–5.
Bull FC, Eyler AA, King AC, Brownson RC. Stage of readiness to exercise in ethnically diverse women: a U.S. survey. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2001;33(7):1147–56.
López IA, Bryant CA, McDermott RJ. Influences on physical activity participation among Latinas: an ecological perspective. Am J Health Behav. 2008;32(6):627–39.
Berke EM, Gottlieb LM, Moudon AV, Larson EB. Protective association between neighborhood walkability and depression in older men. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007;55(4):526–33.
Suminski RR, Pyle S, Taylor WC. Environmental characteristics and physical activity in racial/ethnic minority and Euro-American college students. Percept Mot Skills. 2009;108(2):465–78.
Khaing Nang EE, Khoo EYH, Salim A, Tai ES, Lee J, Van Dam RM. Patterns of physical activity in different domains and implications for intervention in a multi-ethnic Asian population: a cross-sectional study. BMC Public Health. 2010;10:644.
Amara M, Henry IP. Sport, Muslim identities and cultures in the UK, an emerging policy issue: case studies of Leicester and Birmingham. Eur Sport Manag Q. 2010;10:419–43.
Lee SH, Im E. Ethnic differences in exercise and leisure time physical activity among midlife women. J Adv Nurs. 2010;66(4):814–27.
Marquez DX, Bustamante EE, McAuley E, Roberts DE. Active or sedentary? Objectively measured physical activity of Latinos and implications for intervention. J Phys Act Health. 2008;5(4):559–70.
Martin DC, Yankay JE (2012) Refugees and asylees: 2011. Annual flow report. May 2012. Office of Immigration Statistics United States Department of Homeland Security, USA.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship, Migrant characteristics. Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA 3). Australian Government, Canberra.
Dahlgran G, Whitehead M. Policies and strategies to promote social equity in health. Stockholm: Institute for Future Studies; 1991.
Wolin KY, Colditz G, Stoddard AM, Emmons KM, Sorensen G. Acculturation and physical activity in a working class multiethnic population. Prev Med. 2006;42(4):266–72.
Marquez DX, Hoyem R, Fogg L, Bustamante EE, Staffileno B, Wilbur J. Physical activity of urban community-dwelling older Latino adults. J Phys Act Health. 2011;8:S161–70.
Stewart AL, Grossman M, Bera N, Gillis DE, Sperber N, Castrillo M, Pruitt L, McClellan B, Milk M, Clayton K, Cassady D. Multilevel perspectives on diffusing a physical activity promotion program to reach diverse older adults. J Aging Phys Act. 2006;14(3):270–87.
Perez DF, Ritvo PG, Brown PE, Holowaty E, Ardern C. Perceived walkability, social support, age, native language, and vehicle access as correlates of physical activity: a cross-sectional study of low-socioeconomic status, ethnic, minority women. J Phys Act Health. 2011;8(8):1098–107.
Seo D-C, Torabi M. Differences in vigorous and moderate physical activity by gender, race/ethnicity, age, education, and income among U.S. adults. Am J Health Educ. 2007;38(3):122–8.
Hayes L, White M, Unwin N, Bhopal R, Fischbacher C, Harland J, Alberti KG. Patterns of physical activity and relationship with risk markers for cardiovascular disease and diabetes in Indian, Pakistani, Bangladeshi and European adults in a UK population. J Public Health Med. 2002;24(3):170–8.
Suminski RR, Petosa R, Utter AC, Zhang JJ. Physical activity among ethnically diverse college students. J Am Coll Health. 2002;51(2):75–80.
Brownson RC, Eyler AA, King AC, Brown DR, Shyu YL, Sallis JF. Patterns and correlates of physical activity among US women 40 years and older. Am J Public Health. 2000;90(2):264–70.
Maxwell H, Taylor T. A culture of trust: engaging Muslim women in community sport organisations. Eur Sport Manag Q. 2010;10:465–83.
Shifflett B, Buliavac A, Howd P, O’Brien J, Seifert L. Asians’ and Caucasians’ purposes for engaging in physical activity. J Sport Soc Issues. 1991;15(2):145–57.
Borschmann K, Moore K, Russell M, Ledgerwood K, Renehan E, Lin X, Brown C, Sison J. Overcoming barriers to physical activity among culturally and linguistically diverse older adults: a randomised controlled trial. Australas J Ageing. 2010;29(2):77–80.
Eyler AA, Brownson RC, Donatelle RJ, King AC, Brown D, Sallis JF. Physical activity social support and middle- and older-aged minority women: results from a US survey. Soc Sci Med. 1999;49(6):781–9.
Bird SR, Radermacher H, Sims J, Feldman S, Browning C, Thomas S. Factors affecting walking activity of older people from culturally diverse groups: an Australian experience. J Sci Med Sport. 2010;13:417–23.
Hall AE, Kuga DJ, Jones DF. A multivariate study of determinants of vigorous physical activity in a multicultural sample of college students. J Sport Soc Issues. 2002;26(1):66–84.
Dr. Erika Borkoles is supported by Collaborative Research Network funding. Rochelle Eime is supported by a Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth) Research Practice Fellowship-Physical Activity.
Conflict of interest
Electronic supplementary material
Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.
About this article
Cite this article
O’Driscoll, T., Banting, L.K., Borkoles, E. et al. A Systematic Literature Review of Sport and Physical Activity Participation in Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Migrant Populations. J Immigrant Minority Health 16, 515–530 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10903-013-9857-x