Self-Reported Physical Activity Among American Indian Adults From Two Diverse Regions

Erica Blue Roberts, Sheila Fleischhacker, Marla Pardilla, Margarita Treuth, Preety Gadhoke, Karina Christiansen, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Purpose: Physical activity may be a protective factor against the disproportionate rates of chronic diseases faced by American Indians. Nevertheless, few studies report any cultural adoptions made to capture physical activity behaviors among this hard-to-reach population. Existing studies reporting the prevalence of physical activity among American Indians are often aggregated and tend to obscure regional, local, and tribal-level variations. This study examines the prevalence of physical activity and inactivity levels, along with associated factors, among rural dwelling American Indian adults from 2 distinct regions. Methods: Baseline self-reported data were collected using a culturally modified version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) short form during the Obesity Research Prevention and Evaluation of Intervention Effectiveness in Native North Americans trial (OPREVENT) among rural American Indian adults (aged 18-75 years) from 5 tribal communities in Michigan and New Mexico. Findings: Most participants were classified as moderately physically active (43.5%), and the majority reported access to physical activity facilities (83.5%). Michigan participants reported engaging in more moderate and total physical activity than those in New Mexico (P < .001) and reported spending less time sitting (P < .001). Conclusions: Differences in physical activity among the American Indian communities may be due to regional variations in occupations, climate, and tribal and community support and infrastructure. The unexpected high level of activity evokes uncertainty in the accuracy and appropriateness of the data collection instrument. Research is needed to understand culturally appropriate approaches to measure physical activity and inactivity among rural American Indians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-155
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • American Indian
  • Epidemiology
  • Health disparities
  • Physical activity
  • Social determinants of health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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