Online Program

Enacted state-level physical activity policies and minutes of moderate physical activity among U.S. adults by race/ethnicity: 2006-2013

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Breanca Merritt, PhD, Indiana University Public Policy Institute, Indianapolis, IN
Roy Oman, PhD, College of Public Health, Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Background: Since 2006, disparities in leisure-time physical activity between black and Hispanic adults compared to white adults persist—even as overall physical activity levels in the U.S. have improved. State-level policies related to physical activity have been discussed as a method to reduce inequities in physical activity. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which policies related to physical activity may be associated with racial/ethnic differences in physical activity.

Methods: Individual-level data (N=158,842) from 2006-2013 were obtained from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Physical activity policies were coded for corresponding years from the CDC’s Chronic Disease State Policy Tracking System. The main outcome variable was minutes of moderate leisure-time physical activity. The main predictor variables were the yearly regional total of state physical activity policies related to the built environment, parks and recreation, and walkability. Multilevel mixed effects models estimated the relationships between policy and physical activity, adjusting for potential confounders.

Results: Policies related to improving the built environment were significantly associated (p<.000) with more physical activity among Hispanic adults, and with fewer minutes of physical activity among black adults. Policies related to walkability were significantly associated (p <.000) with more physical activity among white adults, but fewer minutes of physical activity among black and Hispanic adults.

Conclusion: The findings suggest that some physical activity policies may vary in increasing physical activity among U.S. adults. These policies may also be associated with less physical activity for certain racial/ethnic groups.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify policies associated with higher or lower levels of leisure-time physical activity among black and Hispanic adults. Compare differences in physical activity among adults who live in areas with varying numbers of policies related to physical activity.

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a doctoral candidate whose dissertation, published and presented research focus on health disparities, state policies related to obesity and physical activity, and related outcomes. My MA is in political science with an emphasis in policies related to health behavior.
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.