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Marita Södergren, Kristina Sundquist, Sven-Erik Johansson, Jan Sundquist and Maria Hagströmer

Background:

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.

Methods:

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.

Results:

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.

Conclusions:

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.