Social Norms, Acculturation, and Physical Activity Among Latina Women


Physical activity promotes health and is important for preventing chronic conditions, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease. Little is known about factors associated with different types of PA among Latina women, particularly Dominicans, who now constitute the fifth largest group of Latinos in the United States. The purpose of this study was to examine whether occupational physical activity, acculturation, familism, and norms held by family and friends are associated with three types of PA: vigorous and moderate leisure-time physical activity (LTPA), and resistance training. Interviews were conducted with 418 Dominican women. We assessed self-reported PA using standardized measures. Data were collected between July 2010 and July 2012 in New York City. Most women reported no vigorous LTPA or resistance training (74.5 and 73.1 %, respectively); about half (52.1 %) reported no moderate LTPA. After adjusting for sociodemographic factors, occupational physical activities were associated with greater LTPA. Acculturation was not associated with any outcome. Positive family norms about exercise were associated with increased LTPA and resistance training. Family norms may play a critical role in PA and should be included in programs to increase PA among Latina women.

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Thanks to Raziel D. Valiño, Emily Vasquez, Elisa Gonzalez, Evianna Cruz, Milagros Ventura, and Karen R. Flórez for their research assistance.


This work was supported by Grant R21CA134247 from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The work was also supported, in part by Grants R25GM062454, and UL1TR000040 from the National Institutes of Health; and the American Cancer Society (124793-MRSG-13-152-01-CPPB).

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Correspondence to Ana F. Abraído-Lanza.

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All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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All procedures performed in this study, which involved human participants, were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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Abraído-Lanza, A.F., Shelton, R.C., Martins, M.C. et al. Social Norms, Acculturation, and Physical Activity Among Latina Women. J Immigrant Minority Health 19, 285–293 (2017).

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  • Social norms
  • Physical activity
  • Latinos
  • Dominicans