Health disparities between white and black adults in the South are not connected to a lack of exercise but more likely related to other factors such as access to health care, socioeconomic status and perhaps genetics, according to a Vanderbilt study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
In fact, more than 80,000 residents enrolled in the long-term Southern Community Cohort Study (SCCS) spent an equal amount of time about nine hours or 60 percent of their waking day in sedentary behaviors regardless of race.
"Our conclusion is that physical activity is not a significant factor in disparities that are observed in health between, for example, African-Americans and whites in this country," said senior author Mac Buchowski, Ph.D., research professor of Medicine and Pediatrics. Co-authors of the study are SCCS investigators from Vanderbilt, the International Epidemiology Institute, the National Institutes of Health and Harvard School of Public Health.
"Of course from this study we don't know what these reasons are but at least we could eliminate physical activity as a deciding factor in disparities, or even that it has much influence on disparities. But this does not diminish the role of physical activity in health, which is well known."
A major goal of the study, Buchowski said, was looking at sedentary behaviors, which are linked to health outcomes more than more active forms of physical activity in adults.
Sedentary behaviors are behaviors that usually do not require more than 50 percent more energy than lying down, such as sitting, doing office work in general and being engaged in screen time that includes viewing television, using tablets, smartphones or any other form of computer work.
Members of the cohort, residing in 12 southeastern states, were asked questions related to physical activity. In the cohort, only 16 percent of women and 25 percent of men were doing physical activity according to the gu
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Vanderbilt University Medical Center