The relationship between physical activity and perceived built environment factors among adult Mexican Americans living in Brownsville, Texas

Arturo Rodriguez, The University of Texas School of Public Health


Background. Physical Activity (PA) is a central part in the fight to reduce obesity rates that are higher in Mexican Americans in the United States than any other ethnic groups. More than half of all Americans do not meet the daily PA recommendations and 48% of Mexican Americans do not exercise. The built environment is believed to affect participation in physical activity. The influence of the built environmental on physical activity levels in low-income Mexican Americans living along the Texas-Mexico border has not been investigated. Purpose. The purpose of this secondary data analysis was trifold: (1) to determine the levels of self-reported PA in adults living in Brownsville, Texas; (2) to characterize the perceptions of this population regarding the built environment; and (3) to determine the association between self-reported PA and the built environment in Mexican Americans living in Brownsville, Texas. Methods. 400 participants from the Tu Salud ¡Sí Cuenta! (TSSC) community-wide campaign were included in this secondary data analysis. Percentages for level of physical activity and the built environment were calculated using SPSS. Perceptions of the built environment were assessed by 14 items. Logistic regression analysis was used to assess the relationship between physical activity and built environment. All models were adjusted for age, gender, and level of education. Results. The majority of men (41.97%) and women (59%), combined (56.7%)did not meet the 2008 PA Guidelines for Americans. We analyzed 14 built environment variables to characterize participants’ perceptions of the built environment. We conducted odds ratio (OR) to find if those who met PA levels associated the built environment such as neighborhood shops ([OR:1.806], CI:1.074,3.038 ]) bus stops ([OR:1.436], CI:.806,2.558) unattended stray dogs ([OR: 1.806], CI:1. 074,3.038), sidewalk access ([OR: .858],CI:.437,1.686), access to free parks ([OR:.549],CI:.335,.900) heavy traffic in neighborhood ([OR:.802], CI:.501,1.285), crime rate ([OR:.779], CI:.494,1.228) ranked the highest by mean score. The association between physical activity and the perceived built environment factors for Mexican Americans participating in the TSSCStudy were weakly associated. Conclusions. This study provides evidence that PA levels are low in this Mexican American population. The built environment factors assessed in this study characterized the need for further studies of the variables that are seen as important to the Mexican American population. Lastly, the association of PA levels to the built environment was weak overall and further studies are recommended of the built environment.

Subject Area

Health sciences|Epidemiology

Recommended Citation

Rodriguez, Arturo, "The relationship between physical activity and perceived built environment factors among adult Mexican Americans living in Brownsville, Texas" (2009). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI1467650.