Does Difference in Physical Activity Between Blacks and Whites Vary by Sex, Income, Education, and Region of Residence? Results from 2008 to 2017 National Health Interview Surveys

  • Mohammad SiahpushEmail author
  • Regina E. Robbins
  • Athena K. Ramos
  • Tzeyu L. Michaud
  • Martina A. Clarke
  • Keyonna M. King



To examine how the effect of race (Black versus White) on meeting physical activity (PA) guidelines varies by sex, income, education, and region of residence.


We pooled data from 10 consecutive years (2008 to 2017) of the National Health Interview Survey. We used logistic regression to assess the extent to which the effect of race on meeting the U.S. federal guidelines for PA varies by sex, income, education, and region, after controlling for several health-related variables. The analysis sample size was 225,600 (102,348 men and 123,252 women).


Race and most of the other covariates interacted with sex in their effect on meeting PA guidelines; therefore, separate models for men and women were estimated. In each model, race interacted with income and region, but not with education. Among men, Blacks were more likely to meet PA guidelines than Whites in nearly all income categories and regions. The race effect was weakest among the poor and in the Northeast region. Among women, Blacks were generally less likely than Whites to meet the guidelines and the race effect was largest among the poor and in the Northeast region.


This study showed that the difference between Blacks and Whites in the extent to which they adhere to federal PA guidelines varies by sex, income, and region of residence. Black women whole live below the poverty threshold are less likely than other demographic groups to meet the PA guidelines. Targeted interventions to promote PA among this population group are warranted.


Physical activity Health disparities Racial health disparities African Americans Physical activity guidelines 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human Ethics

The conduct of this research did not involve human subjects. The authors used secondary data that are publically available.


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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion, College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center; 984365 Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Internal Medicine, College of MedicineUniversity of Nebraska Medical Center; 982265 Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA

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