Background: Physical inactivity is a growing problem facing American women. As little as 150 minutes of moderate physical activity (PA) weekly can reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and stroke. We developed a survey to determine levels and predictors of PA in a diverse population of urban women with access to healthcare. Methods: From February to September 2004, women visiting an academic health center completed a self-administered PA survey. Total activity time (TAT) was calculated as the sum of all activity (walking, jogging or running, dancing, calisthenics, bicycling, aerobics, swimming) recorded over the preceding 2 weeks. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) models were used to assess the effect of different variables on TAT. Results: The survey was completed by 242 women, mean age of 43.4 years. Ninety percent were insured; 66% were non-Hispanic white, 16% were Hispanic, and 10% were African American. Seventy-six percent of women were college graduates. Only 58% of participants recorded ≥150 minutes of PA/week. TAT was related to education, with a significant difference between high school and college graduates (290 ± 80 vs. 502 ± 40 min [SEM], p < 0.05). Conclusions: Education was strongly associated with TAT among these insured, diverse, and well-educated women. Only 58% exercised ≥150 minutes/week, underscoring the need to target exercise programs for all women and to close the gap between women of lower and higher educational attainment.
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