Associations Between Health-Enhancing Physical Activity and Country of Birth Among Women

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Restricted access


The purpose of this study was to examine the association between total self-reported health-enhancing physical activity and country of birth among women living in Sweden.


Women (age 18 to 65 years) born in Sweden, Finland, Chile, and Iraq were recruited for this cross-sectional study. Data were collected by means of a postal questionnaire including the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ-long version). Self-reported physical activity data were converted to MET-minutes per week and analyzed as continuous or categorical scores. A total of 2649 women were included in the analyses. The association between physical activity and country of birth was explored using ordinal logistic regression assuming proportional odds.


The total physical activity differed significantly between the countries of birth (P < .001). Women from Finland had significant higher odds and women from Iraq had significantly lower odds for reporting higher levels of physical activity, compared with Swedish-born women.


The direction of the associations between self-reported total health-enhancing physical activity varied by country of birth, which underlines the need to examine physical activity in each minority group separately.

The authors are with the Dept of Neurobiology, Care Sciences, and Society, Center for Family Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Huddinge, Sweden.