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Study Finds Social Determinants of Physical Activity among Adult Asian-Americans

A study of more than 4,000 Asian-Americans in Southern California out of Loma Linda University School of Public Health has found that physical activity among six major Asian-American subgroups (Chinese, Filipino, South Asian, Japanese, Vietnamese, and Korean) is affected by social determinants in each group. Previous studies have been done to identify determinants of physical activity in the U.S., but the majority of this research focuses on the general U.S. population, either excluding Asian-Americans or combining diverse populations into one homogenous group.

For Chinese and Filipino populations, respectively, researchers discovered that living at or above 200 percent of the federal poverty level, and living in a neighborhood that was perceived to be unsafe was associated with lower odds of meeting American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommendations for physical activity. According to the ACSM website, the “overall recommendation is for most adults to engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.”

Other factors had a positive effect on reaching the physical activity recommendations. “For instance, being bilingual was associated with increased physical activity for Chinese and Vietnamese groups, while marital status was related to decreased physical activity for Filipinos,” said Dr. Helen Hopp Marshak, associate dean for academic affairs at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, and co-author of the study. “This underscores the importance of analyzing results by specific ethnic subgroups and tailoring public health interventions to best suit the needs of specific racial and ethnic populations.”

The study was published July 15 in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health and can be read here.

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