Journal of Community Health

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 434–440 | Cite as

Physical Activity Among Amish and Non-Amish Adults Living in Ohio Appalachia

  • Mira L. Katz
  • Amy K. Ferketich
  • Benjamin Broder-Oldach
  • Amy Harley
  • Paul L. Reiter
  • Electra D. Paskett
  • Clara D. Bloomfield
Original Paper


To understand the behavioral lifestyle factors that may contribute to lower cancer incidence rates among the Amish population, this study evaluated differences in physical activity (PA) levels between Amish and non-Amish adults living in Ohio Appalachia. Amish (n = 134) and non-Amish (n = 154) adults completed face-to-face interviews as part of a cancer-related lifestyle study. Self-report of PA level was measured by the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) and by a diary of steps/day (pedometer: Digi-Walker SW-200). Total metabolic equivalent tasks (MET) minutes was calculated from the IPAQ and average number of steps/day from a pedometer diary. Amish males walked more steps/day (mean ± standard error (SE): 11,447 ± 611 vs. 7,605 ± 643; P < 0.001) and had a higher IPAQ score (MET min/week) (mean ± SE: 8,354 ± 701 vs. 5,547 ± 690; P < 0.01) than non-Amish males. In addition, Amish farmers walked significantly more steps/day than Amish non-farmers (mean ± SE: 15,278 ± 1,297 vs. 10,742 ± 671; P < 0.01). There was a trend for Amish females to walk more steps/day (mean ± SE: 7,750 ± 477 vs. 6,547 ± 437; P = 0.06) and to have higher IPAQ scores (mean ± SE: 4,966 ± 503 vs. 3,702 ± 450; P = 0.06) compared to non-Amish females. Two measures of PA demonstrated a higher PA level among Amish males, especially farmers, and a trend for higher PA level among Amish females. Higher levels of PA warrants further investigation as one factor potentially contributing to lower cancer incidence rates documented among the Amish.


Cancer Physical activity Appalachian region Amish 



(1) NIH P50 CA015632; (2) The Ohio State Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Behavioral Measurement Shared Resource, NIH P30 CA16058; (3) NCI K07 CA107079 (MLK); and 4) Coleman Leukemia Research Foundation.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mira L. Katz
    • 1
    • 2
  • Amy K. Ferketich
    • 1
    • 2
  • Benjamin Broder-Oldach
    • 1
  • Amy Harley
    • 3
  • Paul L. Reiter
    • 4
  • Electra D. Paskett
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Clara D. Bloomfield
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Health Behavior and Health Promotion, College of Public HealthThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Comprehensive Cancer CenterThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  3. 3.University of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  4. 4.College of MedicineThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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