Tuesday, April 21, 2015
African American married men have lower odds of meeting federal physical activity guidelines than white married men, according to a new study
“Other studies indicate African American men are less physically active than white men,” so finding that the difference persists within the bounds of marriage is interesting, but not surprising, said Steven Hooker, who studies physical activity interventions for men in midlife at Arizona State University in Phoenix. For the new study, researchers used data collected from 1999 to 2006 for national health surveys. They divided male respondents into married and unmarried categories and compared the number of minutes per week the men reported doing moderate to vigorous physical activity, household or yard work, and walking or biking for transportation. Of more than 7,000 men surveyed, 71% were white and 29% were African American. Black men were less likely to be physically active than white men, regardless of marital status, write the researchers from Emory University in Atlanta and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore. After accounting for age, income, education and other health factors, the researchers found that African American married men were about half as likely to meet the federal guideline of at least 150 minutes of activity per week as were white married men. Unmarried African American men were about 40% less likely to meet the guideline. African American men were more likely to earn less that $35,000 per year and to have a 12th grade or lower education level. The African American men were also 14 years younger than the white men in the study, on average. Married and unmarried white men in the study had similar activity levels, which suggests marriage is not strongly related to activity for men, said Robert W. Jeffery, a professor of epidemiology and community health at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.