Prevalence of physical inactivity and its relation to social class in U.S. adults: Results from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 1988-1994

Carlos J. Crespo, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Steven J. Keteyian, Gregory W. Heath, Ellen Smit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: This study examines the prevalence of physical inactivity during leisure time in a national representative sample of U.S. adults. Methods: Data were obtained from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted between 1988 and 1994. A total of 18,825 adults aged 20 yr and older participated in a home interview where information about physical activity, education, income, occupation, employment, and labor force participation was obtained. Results: The prevalence of physical inactivity among U.S. adults was 23%, with more women (28%) than men (17%) reporting being inactive during their leisure time. Additionally, inactivity is more common among in social class such as persons who are less educated, living below the poverty line, living in households with income below 20,000 dollars, and who are retired. In every category of social class, women experienced a higher prevalence of physical inactivity than men. Conclusions: We conclude that social class is associated with physical inactivity and that more research is needed to better understand the effect that other social and environmental factors have on sedentary behaviors in our society.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1821-1827
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and science in sports and exercise
Volume31
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999

Keywords

  • Exercise
  • Income
  • NHANES
  • Physical activity
  • Poverty
  • SES
  • Social class

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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