Correlates of long-term physical activity adherence in women

Haichun Sun, Cheryl A. Vamos, Sara S.B. Flory, Rita DeBate, Erika L. Thompson, Jennifer Bleck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Little is known about the factors that may influence women's adherence to moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) using longitudinal data. The purpose of this study was to examine the correlates of long-term physical activity (PA) participation among women. Methods Female data from Waves I, III, and IV (n = 5381) of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health) were used for the analysis. The outcome of PA adherence was operationalized as (1) consistently physically active (at least 5 instances during the week) in both Waves III and IV (during adulthood), and (2) consistently not physically active or only physically active in either Wave III or IV. Predictor variables from Wave I (during adolescence) included race/ethnicity, PA level, self-perception of being physically fit, general health status, attempt to change weight, parents’ income level, parents’ education, well-being, depression, access to PA resources, days of physical education (PE), and grade level. Crude and adjusted logistic regression models were utilized to estimate the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and 95% confidence interval (95%CI) for the outcome variable. Results PA levels during adolescence significantly predicted PA adherence (aOR = 1.67, 95%CI: 1.35–2.05). Additionally, wanting to lose weight (aOR = 1.49, 95%CI: 1.20–1.85), using fitness center in the neighborhood (aOR = 1.29, 95%CI: 1.05–1.58), and having 5 days of PE a week (aOR = 1.48, 95%CI: 1.09–2.02) were significant predictors. Women who did not perceive being physically fit (aOR = 0.65, 95%CI: 0.44–0.95) and Black, non-Hispanics (aOR = 0.60, 95%CI: 0.44–0.82) were less likely to adhere to PA. Conclusion The findings suggested that physically active adolescents were more likely to become active adults. Future research should address interventions (e.g., PE program, community resources) that may promote lifetime PA in women, with the goal of decreasing morbidity and mortality.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-442
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Sport and Health Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017


  • Females
  • Longitudinal
  • Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity
  • Social ecological frameworks


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