Perceived Environmental Barriers and Behavioral Factors as Possible Mediators Between Acculturation and Leisure-Time Physical Activity Among Mexican American Adults

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Background: The association between acculturation and physical activity (PA) among Mexican American (MA) adults is not understood. This study assessed potential mediating factors that may explain these associations among 75 healthy MA adults [age: 37.5 (9.3) y; 65.3% female]. Methods: Secondary data analysis using hierarchical logistic regression examined whether perceived environmental barriers, social support, and intention to exercise potentially mediated relationships between acculturation level, and total and leisure-time moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). Data were collected via questionnaire. Results: Most participants (67%) reported lower average household monthly incomes ($0–$3000), completed some college or obtained a college degree (64.4%), and were first generation immigrants (59%). Acculturation was associated with greater odds of engaging in total MVPA [odds ratio (OR) = 1.7; 95% confidence interval (CI), 1.2–2.4] and leisure-time MVPA (OR = 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1–1.2). Perceived environmental barriers were associated with greater odds of engaging in both total and leisure-time MVPA (OR = 4.3; 95% CI, 2.1–5.8 and OR = 5.5; 95% CI, 2.0–7.0, respectively), and social support was associated with greater odds for total MVPA (OR = 3.7; 95% CI, 1.1–6.4). Conclusions: Results provide preliminary evidence for mediating factors that may explain the relationship between acculturation level and PA among MA adults. Contradicting prior evidence, results suggest that PA engagement, despite perceived environmental barriers, is possible among MA adults having stronger social support.

Dellaserra, Crespo, Huberty, and Vega-López are with the College of Health Solutions, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ. Dellaserra is also with the Dept of Applied Research, St. Luke Health Services, Boise, ID. Crespo is also with the Graduate School of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Todd is with the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ. Vega-López is also with the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ.

Vega-López (Sonia.Vega.Lopez@asu.edu) is corresponding author.
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