Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Physical Activity Constraints among Latinos: Identifying Clusters and Acculturation Differences

Academic journal article Journal of Leisure Research

Physical Activity Constraints among Latinos: Identifying Clusters and Acculturation Differences

Article excerpt

Understanding leisure-time physical activity among Latinos is a national public health concern. Latinos are currently the largest minority group in the U.S., comprising approximately 16.3% of the total population (Pew Hispanic Center, 2011). Moreover, between 2000 and 2010, the total Latino population grew by 43% and accounted for a large portion of the national growth (Pew Hispanic Center). National studies indicate that Latinos have lower levels of leisure-time physical activity than Caucasians and African-Americans (Marquez, Neighbors, & Bustamente, 2010). Moreover, reports based on the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey showed that Latinos are less likely than Non-Hispanic Whites to meet national recommendations for physical activity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2007). Specifically, Latino men (41.9%) and women (40.5%) reported lower prevalence of regular daily physical activity than their non-Hispanic White male (52.3%) and female (49.6%) counterparts. These trends are cause for concern given the known and well documented physiological and psychological benefits of regular physical activity (Healthy People 2020, 2011). Reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases, some forms of cancer, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (type 2 diabetes), osteoporosis, depression, and obesity is associated with regular or routine physical activity (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000). Low levels of physical activity among Latinos put them at greater risk for these and other chronic diseases.

Despite their low levels of leisure-time physical activity, Latinos reported higher levels of occupational physical activity patterns compared to non-Hispanic Blacks and Whites (Marquez et al., 2010). However, occupational physical activity may not provide the same physical health benefits as leisure-time physical activity (Sofi et al., 2007). Sofi et al. found that higher levels of leisure-time physical activity resulted in lower and more favorable levels of body mass index (BMI), diastolic blood pressure, HDL cholesterol, and triglycerides. However, no associations were found between occupational physical activity and these health risk indicators, suggesting that occupational physical activity and leisure-time physical activity may not yield the same benefits. As a result, Latinos whose physical activity patterns are dominated by occupational requirements may not be getting the physiological and psychological health benefits associated with leisure-time physical activity (Marquez et al., 2011). Therefore, given the immediate and long-term benefits of physical activity participation, understanding constraints to physical activity among Latinos is an important research need (Woodward-Lopez & Flores, 2006).

Leisure constraints research may be particularly useful for understanding physical activity patterns among Latino populations. Over the past two decades, the study of constraints has broadened theoretical perspective on a number of concerns important to leisure scholars, including formation of leisure preferences, actual leisure participation, leisure satisfaction, and constraint negotiation (Jackson & Scott, 1999). A fundamental contribution of constraints research has been to identify specific categories of barriers and inhibitors and how they condition leisure behaviors or experiences (Crawford, Jackson, & Godbey, 1991). Identifying the nature of constraints provided perspective on how leisure service providers can help individuals and groups negotiate constraints (Scott & Mowen, 2010). In particular, constraints research can be used strategically to tailor physical activity programs or environmental interventions according to specific patterns or types of constraints experienced among Latinos.

In this study, we examined patterns of perceived constraints to leisure-time physical activity within a sample of Latinos. Further, we acknowledged that Latinos, like other ethnic minority groups, are not a homogenous population. …

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