In their own voices: Definitions and interpretations of physical activity

Catrine Tudor-Locke, Karla A. Henderson, Sara Wilcox, Rhonda S. Cooper, J. Larry Durstine, Barbara E. Ainsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Terms such as physical activity, exercise, and leisure are perceived and interpreted differently by people differing in gender, class, and sociocultural factors. We accessed multiple diverse data sources (including qualitative data recently collected in research and evaluation studies) to explore African-American and American Indian women's (age 40+) definitions, meanings, and interpretations of "physical activity". These women reported that physical activity is typically considered to be structured "exercise" and not incidental activities of daily life. The term "leisure" was interpreted from a cultural perspective as being lazy. These women also had difficulty understanding the meaning of "intensity" (e.g., "moderate", "vigorous"). Researchers must acknowledge and understand inconsistencies that arise and how these might influence design of, and responses to, self-report assessment of physical activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)194-199
Number of pages6
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2003


  • Ethnicity
  • Exercise
  • Leisure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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