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Education doesn't increase odds that minorities play 'high-status' sports
Date:6/1/2011

xican Americans grows as it pertains to fitness activities.

"We find no evidence of narrowing racial-ethnic differences in exercise with increasing education," Saint Onge said. "Rather, what we find is that with increasing levels of education, we continue to see this racial-ethnic division and, in fact, it grows."

Saint Onge said there are several possible reasons why racial-ethnic differences in exercise persist and, in some cases, expand with more education. "One possibility is that high-status minorities may seek to differentiate themselves from whites in an effort to maintain their racial and ethnic solidarity and to increase their political power," Saint Onge said. "Exercise and sports provide social contexts that allow groups to create social identities and resistor sometimes reinforcecultural stereotypes."

Other possible reasons include the fact that blacks and Mexican Americans often attend lower quality schools than whites, where they may acquire less human capital per school year and have limited access to cultural resources that encourage high-status behaviors. And, even highly educated blacks and Mexican Americans may live in segregated neighborhoods where exercise preferences are shaped by cultural norms and the availability of recreational opportunities.

While the study finds that whites, blacks, and Mexican Americans are not more likely to engage in the same types of physical activities as their education levels increase, the likelihood that they participate in some type of exercise does rise with education.

"More educated people generally have more motivation to exercise," Saint Onge said. "They know the benefits of exercising, they spend time with people who are more likely to be exercising, and they have the time and resources to exercise."

In terms of policy implications, Saint Onge said the study could aid the design of effective public health interventions to promote physical activity.
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Contact: Daniel Fowler
pubinfo@asanet.org
202-527-7885
American Sociological Association
Source:Eurekalert

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