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

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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The role of social-environmental factors in physical activity (PA) within lower income and ethnic minority populations is understudied. This study explored correlates of age-related PA and perceived walkability (PW).


Cross-sectional data (N = 401 women; ≥18 y) were collected within the Jane-Finch community in Toronto, Ontario using questionnaires. Generalized additive models, an extension to multiple regression, were used to estimate effect sizes and standard errors.


Significant interactions between native language and car access (CA) were observed in PA variation across the lifespan. Individuals were evenly distributed across 4 comparison groups: 29.2% English-NoCA, 24.1% English-CA, 20.7% Non-English-NoCA, and 26.0% NonEnglish-CA. Risk of sedentariness increased with age for native English speakers > 50 years, but appears unaffected by age for other groups. English speakers without CA < 60 years appear least likely to be sedentary, followed by English speakers with CA. In general, an active individual at the 75th percentile of social support for exercise would have 1.62 (CI: 1.22−2.17) times the MET-Hours of PA than an active individual at the 25th percentile of SSE.


English language facility and car access moderate relationships of social-environmental factors and PA. Further investigation is required to better understand correlates of PA for women in this demographic.

Perez, Ritvo, and Ardern are with the School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Brown and Holowaty are with the Dept of Population Studies, Cancer Care Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.