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  • Author: Namratha R. Kandula x
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Elizabeth A. Kelley, Namratha R. Kandula, Alka M. Kanaya and Irene H. Yen

Background:

The neighborhood built environment can have a strong influence on physical activity levels, particularly walking for transport. In examining racial/ethnic differences in physical activity, one important and understudied group is South Asians. This study aims to describe the association between neighborhood walkability and walking for transport among South Asian men and women in the United States in the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) Study.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted in 2014 using the baseline dataset of the MASALA study (N = 906). Mean age was 55 years old and 54% of the sample was male. Weekly minutes spent walking for transport was assessed using a questionnaire adapted from the Cross-Cultural Activity Participation Study. Neighborhood walkability was measured using Walk Score, a composite index of walkability.

Results:

After adjusting for covariates, with each 10-point increase in Walk Score, South Asian American men engaged in 13 additional minutes per week of walking for transport (P = .008). No association was observed between walkability and walking for transport in South Asian American women.

Conclusions:

Results provide new evidence for how the effects of environmental influences on walking for transport may vary between South Asian men and women.

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Mitali S. Thanawala, Juned Siddique, John A. Schneider, Alka M. Kanaya, Andrew J. Cooper, Swapna S. Dave, Nicola Lancki and Namratha R. Kandula

Background: Eliminating racial/ethnic disparities in physical activity remains a challenge in the United States. South Asian immigrants in the United States have particularly low physical activity levels, and evidence suggests that social context may be important. This study examined associations between personal social networks and moderate to vigorous leisure-time physical activity (MVPA) among South Asians in the United States. Methods: We used cross-sectional data (2014–2017) from 689 South Asians (aged 43–85 y) who participated in the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America study. Self-reported physical activity and egocentric network data were collected from participants about their network members. Regression models were used to determine associations between social network characteristics and participants’ MVPA. Results: Participants were on average 59 years old (SD = 9) and reported 1335 metabolic equivalent minutes per week of MVPA (interquartile range = 735, 2212). Having network members who exercised or who were exercise partners associated with increased MVPA in men (β coefficient = 241 MET min/wk [95% confidence interval, 63 to 419] and β = 520 MET min/wk [95% confidence interval, 322 to 718], respectively). For women, the association was only significant if the exercise partner was a spouse. Conclusion: Physical activity interventions utilizing network members as exercise partners may have potential in South Asians but must consider gender differences.