Race and Exercise Engagement: Investigating the High-Calorie-Burning Activities of White and Black Collegiate Women

in Women in Sport and Physical Activity Journal
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year subscription

USD  $41.00

1 year subscription

USD  $54.00

Student 2 year subscription

USD  $77.00

2 year subscription

USD  $101.00

Previous research has documented the comprehensive health benefits of regular physical activity. However, just over a third of Black women report meeting the suggested amount of physical activity per week. Research also indicates that collegiate emerging adults often reduce their physical activity as well. Given that Black collegiate women represent the intersection of two groups that report a reduction in physical activity, the primary purpose of this descriptive study was to examine whether or not the rate of engagement in high-calorie-burning (HCB) activity by collegiate females differed by race. A secondary purpose was to explore how the chronic stress of racism for Black women was related to their HCB activity. Three hundred and eighty-three collegiate females between the ages of 18 and 25 (M = 19.67, SD = 1.45) participated; (61.1% [n = 234] self-identified as White, while the remaining 38.9% [n = 149] self-identified as Black). All eligible participants took a 10–15 min anonymous online survey. Results from a chi-squared analysis (χ2 [1] = 8.40, p = .004) revealed that White collegiate women (70.3%) were more likely to report participation in weekly HCB activity than Black collegiate women (55.7%). Additional analyses also suggested that chronic experience with racism (F [1, 147] = 5.13, p = .03) was associated with more frequent HCB activity for the Black women sampled. Campus health promotion campaigns should not overlook how the experience of race may shape health behaviors for their racial minority students and sustain emerging health disparities.

Longmire-Avital is with the Department of Psychology and the African & African-American studies program, Elon University, Elon, NC. Madzima is with the Department of Exercise Science, Elon University. Bierut is also with Elon University.

Address author correspondence to Buffie Longmire-Avital at bavital@elon.edu.
  • Adams-Campbell, L.L., Makambi, K., Mouton, C.P., Palmer, J.R., & Rosenberg, L. (2010). Colonoscopy utilization in the Black Women’s Health Study. Journal of the National Medical Association, 102(3), 237–242. PubMed ID: 20355353 doi:10.1016/S0027-9684(15)30530-7

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • American College Health Association. (2015). American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment II: Reference Group Executive Summary Spring 2015. Hanover, MD: Author.

    • Export Citation
  • Arnett, J.J. (2000). Emerging adulthood. A theory of development from the late teens through the twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480. PubMed ID: 10842426 doi:10.1037/0003-066X.55.5.469

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Brown, W.J., Burton, N.W., & Rowan, P.J. (2007). Updating the evidence on physical activity and health in women. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33(5), 404–411. PubMed ID: 17950406 doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2007.07.029

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Center for Disease Control. (2015). Facts about physical activity. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/data/index.html

    • Export Citation
  • Center for Disease Control. (2016). Current physical activity guidelines. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/dcpc/prevention/policies_practices/physical_activity/guidelines.htm

    • Export Citation
  • Doamekpor, L.A., & Dinwiddie, G.Y. (2015). Allostatic load in foreign-born and US-born blacks: Evidence from the 2001-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. American Journal of Public Health, 105(3), 591–597. PubMed ID: 25602865 doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302285

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Dressler, W.W., Oths, K.S., & Gravlee, C.C. (2005). Race and ethnicity in public health research: Models to explain health disparities. Annual Review of Anthropology, 34, 231–252. doi:10.1146/annurev.anthro.34.081804.120505

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Egli, T., Bland, H.W., Melton, B.F., & Czech, D.R. (2011). Influence of age, sex, and race on college students’ exercise motivation of physical activity. Journal of American College Health, 59(5), 399–406. PubMed ID: 21500059 doi:10.1080/07448481.2010.513074

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Eijsvogels, T.M., George, K.P., & Thompson, P.D. (2016). Cardiovascular benefits and risks across the physical activity continuum. Current Opinion in Cardiology, 31(5), 566–571. PubMed ID: 27455432 doi:10.1097/HCO.0000000000000321

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Garber, C.E., Blissmer, B., Deschenes, M.R., Franklin, B.A., Lamonte, M.J., Lee, I.M., … Swain, D.P. (2011). American College of Sports Medicine position stand. Quantity and quality of exercise for developing and maintaining cardiorespiratory, musculoskeletal, and neuromotor fitness in apparently healthy adults: Guidance for prescribing exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 43(7), 1334–1359. PubMed ID: 21694556 doi:10.1249/MSS.0b013e318213fefb

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Greaney, M.L., Less, F.D., White, A.A., Dayton, S.F., Riebe, D., Blissmer, B., … Greene, G.W. (2009). College students’ barriers and enablers for healthful weight management: A qualitative study. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 41(4), 281–286. PubMed ID: 19508934 doi:10.1016/j.jneb.2008.04.354

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Harris, K., Gordon-Larsen, P., Chantala, K., & Udry, J. (2006). Longitudinal trends in race/ethnic disparities in leading health indicators from adolescence to young adulthood. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 160(1), 74–81. PubMed ID: 16389215 doi:10.1001/archpedi.160.1.74

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hendley, Y., Zhao, L., Coverson, D.L., Din-Dzietham, R., Morris, A., Quyyumi, A.A., … Vaccarino, V. (2011). Differences in weight perception among blacks and whites. Journal of Womens Health (Larchmt), 20(12), 1805–1811. doi:10.1089/jwh.2010.2262

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kokkinos, P., & Myers, J. (2010). Exercise and physical activity: Clinical outcomes and applications. Circulation, 122(16), 1637–1648. PubMed ID: 20956238 doi:10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.110.948349

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Krieger, N., & Sidney, S. (1996). Racial discrimination and blood pressure: The CARDIA Study of young black and white adults. American Journal of Public Health, 86(10), 1370–1378. PubMed ID: 8876504 doi:10.2105/AJPH.86.10.1370

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Longmire-Avital, B., & Robinson, R. (2017). Young, depressed, and black: A comparative exploration of depressive symptomatology among black and white collegiate women. Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, 32(1), 53–72. doi:10.1080/87568225.2017.1344114

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McEwen, B.S. (2004). Protection and damage from acute and chronic stress: Allostasis and allostatic overload and relevance to the pathophysiology of psychiatric disorders. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1032, 1–7. doi:10.1196/annals.1314.001

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • National Center for Health Statistics. (2017). Health, United States, 2016: With chartbook on long-term trends in health. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf

    • PubMed
    • Export Citation
  • NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC). (2016). Trends in adult body-mass index in 200 countries from 1975 to 2014: A pooled analysis of 1698 population-based measurement studies with 19.2 million participants. Lancet 387(10026), 1377–1396. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(16)30054-X

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Nelson, M.C., Story, M., Larson, N.I., Neumark-Sztainer, D., & Lytle, L.A. (2008). Emerging adulthood and college-aged youth: An overlooked age for weight-related behavior change. Obesity, 16(10), 2205–2211. PubMed ID: 18719665 doi:10.1038/oby.2008.365

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Overman, A.A., & Stephens, J.D. (2013). Synergistic effects of encoding strategy and context salience on associative memory in older adults. Psychology of Aging, 28(3), 654–665. doi:10.1037/a0031441

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Patterson Neubert, A. (2013). College students working out at campus gyms get better grades. Purdue Today. Retrieved from http://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/releases/2013/Q2/college-students-working-out-at-campus-gyms-get-better-grades.html

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Quinlan, J., Pearson, L.N., Clukay, C.J., Mitchell, M.M., Boston, Q., Gravlee, C.C., & Mulligan, C.J. (2016). Genetic Loci and novel discrimination measures associated with blood pressure variation in African Americans living in Tallahassee. PLoS One, 11(12), 0167700. PubMed ID: 28002425 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0167700

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Seeman, T.E., Crimmins, E., Huang, M.H., Singer, B., Bucur, A., Gruenewald, T., … Reuben, D.B. (2004). Cumulative biological risk and socio-economic differences in mortality: MacArthur studies of successful aging. Social Science Medicine, 58(10), 1985–1997. PubMed ID: 15020014 doi:10.1016/S0277-9536(03)00402-7

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sims, M., Diez-Roux, A.V., Gebreab, S.Y., Brenner, A., Dubbert, P., Wyatt, S., … Taylor, H. (2016). Perceived discrimination is associated with health behaviours among African-Americans in the Jackson Heart Study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 70(2), 187–194. PubMed ID: 26417003 doi:10.1136/jech-2015-206390

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Upchurch, D.M., Rainisch, B.W., & Chyu, L. (2015). Greater leisure time physical activity is associated with lower allostatic load in White, Black, and Mexican American Midlife Women: Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1999 through 2004. Womens Health Issues, 25(6), 680–687. PubMed ID: 26344446 doi:10.1016/j.whi.2015.07.002

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2008). 2008 physical activity guidelines for Americans. Retrieved from https://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/

    • Export Citation
  • Utsey, S.O., & Ponterotto, J.G. (1996). Development and validation of the Index of Race-Related Stress (IRRS). Journal of Counseling Psychology, 43, 490–501. doi:10.1037/0022-0167.43.4.490

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wareham, N.J., Jakes, R.W., Rennie, K.L., Mitchell, J., Hennings, S., & Day, N.E. (2002). Validity and repeatability of the EPIC-Norfolk Physical Activity Questionnaire. International Journal of Epidemiology, 31(1), 168–174. PubMed ID: 11914316 doi:10.1093/ije/31.1.168

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Willis, L.E., & Knobloch-Westerwick, S. (2014). Weighing women down: Messages on weight loss and body shaping in editorial content in popular women’s health and fitness magazines. Health Communication, 29(4), 323–331. PubMed ID: 23844558 doi:10.1080/10410236.2012.755602

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • World Health Organization. (2011). Global recommendations on physical activity for health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/physical-activity-recommendations-18-64years.pdf

    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 410 410 66
Full Text Views 12 12 0
PDF Downloads 1 1 0