206883 Social engagement related and physical activity levels in the Alabama Black Belt

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 8:45 AM

H.R. Foushee, PhD , Center for the Study of Community Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Suparna Bagchi, MSPH , Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Connie Kohler, DrPH , Department of Health Behavior, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
Alabama's Black Belt region has traditionally been underserved in health and other services. The region has high poverty rates and excessive rates of chronic disease, such as diabetes. Previous research has shown that aspects of social capital, such as social participation, are associated with ratings of health status. This study examined the relationship between physical activity levels and social participation. An in-person survey was completed by 1380 adult residents of seven Black Belt counties in Alabama. Questions on physical activity included exercise each week, along with exercise frequency, length, and intensity. Questions on charitable participation monetary giving and volunteering. General participation measures included participating in an association, talking with others about a problem, contacting an elected representative, and others. Bivariate analyses showed that general and charitable participation were positively associated with exercise length, intensity, and frequency. Multivariate analyses revealed that general participation was significantly associated with all exercise measures. In addition, differences by sex and race were found, where these associations were strongest for women and African Americans. Thus, social engagement and physical activity were positively related for women and African Americans. The main implication for interventions to increase physical activity is that they should encourage more participation in social actions.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify physical activity levels in a rural, low income, and tradionally underseved communities. 2. Describe the relationship between social participation and physical activity. 3. Design physical activity interventions that incoporate social participation.

Keywords: Physical Activity, Community Participation

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in social psychology and fifteen years of survey research experience. I was involved in the study design, questionnaire development, data collection, and analysis for this project
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.