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Differences in leisure-time physical activity levels between blacks and whites in population-based samples: The Minnesota heart survey


Energy expenditure in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) was measured using the Minnesota LTPA Questionnaire in 35- to 74-year-old black and white residents of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. Estimates of the geometric mean LTPA energy expenditure were 129 and 204 kcal per day for black and white men (p<.05) and 91 and 123 kcal per day for black and white women (p<.05). The percentage of individuals expending 2000 kcal or more per week in LTPA was significantly lower in black men than white men (25 vs. 35%; p=.01) but was not different in black versus white women (18 vs. 17%). Although black men and women reported greater occupational physical activity than their white counterparts, LTPA and job activity were unrelated in all race and sex groups. In both races, LTPA energy expenditure declined with age. LTPA increased with level of formal education, and the largest LTPA difference between blacks and whites was observed in those who had a high-school diploma or less. Blacks had lower participation rates than whites in most of the individually assessed physical activities. Additional research is needed on the determinants and promoters of LTPA in population subgroups.

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Author information

Correspondence to Aaron R. Folsom.

Additional information

The research was funded by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Research Grant R01 HL 23727 and National Research Award T32 HL 07328-10.

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Folsom, A.R., Cook, T.C., Sprafka, J.M. et al. Differences in leisure-time physical activity levels between blacks and whites in population-based samples: The Minnesota heart survey. J Behav Med 14, 1–9 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00844764

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Key words

  • exertion
  • health surveys
  • leisure
  • race