Is acculturation associated with physical activity among female immigrants in Sweden?

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BackgroundImmigrant women in Sweden have lower levels of leisure time physical activity (LTPA) than Swedish-born women. The reasons are unclear, although acculturation has been suggested to play a role.MethodsWe used a cross-sectional study design to investigate the association between LTPA and two indicators of acculturation: (i) language proficiency (ability to understand news reports on the radio and television) and (ii) age at the time of migration, and if there existed a modifying effect on these hypothesized associations. The study sample consisted of 1651 women, aged 18–65, living in Sweden and born in Finland, Chile or Iraq. A postal questionnaire (translated into the women's native language) was used to collect the variables. The International Physical Activity Questionnaire was used to assess LTPA. Data were collected in 2002–05 and analyzed in 2009–10. A partial-proportional odds model was used for the analysis.ResultsIncreased language proficiency was associated with increased LTPA [odds ratio (OR) = 2.31, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.57–3.41]. Country of birth modified the association. Furthermore, younger age at migration was associated with increased LTPA (OR = 1.44, 95% CI = 1.01–2.03).ConclusionsIncreased language proficiency has the potential to be an important health-promoting factor among immigrant women.

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