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Public Health


Clarence J. Schumaker


Little is known about leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) habits of Arab immigrants in Canada. Leisure-time physical activity has been linked to decreased risks for cancer, cardiovascular disease, and all causes mortality and increased life expectancy. Socioeconomic status has been recognized as a significant factor affecting health and wellbeing due to its impact on individuals’ attitudes, experiences, and exposure to several risk factors. The purpose of this cross-sectional descriptive study was to explore the levels of participation in LTPA among adult Arab immigrants in central Alberta, Canada, to examine the socioeconomic determinants of LTPA, and to investigate which individual, social, and environmental factors contribute to LTPA participation. Electronic surveys were used to collect data from a sample of 376 adults. The socioecological model and systems theory were used as the theoretical foundations to guide this research. Descriptive and multiple regression analyses were performed using SPSS. Around 40% of participants were physically active. As participants attained higher degrees, earned more money, and had occupations requiring less physical effort, their levels of LTPA increased. The social conditions in which the participants live also affected their levels of LTPA. Being more familiar with the health benefits and having fewer barriers to exercise predicted an increase in LTPA, whereas higher self-efficacy seemed to predict a decrease in LTPA. Family and friends’ support for exercise increased the levels of LTPA of participants. And finally, more environmental support for exercise predicted a decrease in LTPA levels among participants. Findings from this research have the potential to design and implement targeted LTPA recommendations and interventions for Arab immigrants.

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