Testing a Theoretical Model of Immigration Transition and Physical Activity

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The purposes of the study were to develop a theoretical model to explain the relationships between immigration transition and midlife women's physical activity and test the relationships among the major variables of the model. A theoretical model, which was developed based on transitions theory and the midlife women's attitudes toward physical activity theory, consists of 4 major variables, including length of stay in the United States, country of birth, level of acculturation, and midlife women's physical activity. To test the theoretical model, a secondary analysis with data from 127 Hispanic women and 123 non-Hispanic (NH) Asian women in a national Internet study was used. Among the major variables of the model, length of stay in the United States was negatively associated with physical activity in Hispanic women. Level of acculturation in NH Asian women was positively correlated with women's physical activity. Country of birth and level of acculturation were significant factors that influenced physical activity in both Hispanic and NH Asian women. The findings support the theoretical model that was developed to examine relationships between immigration transition and physical activity; it shows that immigration transition can play an essential role in influencing health behaviors of immigrant populations in the United States. The NH theoretical model can be widely used in nursing practice and research that focus on immigrant women and their health behaviors. Health care providers need to consider the influences of immigration transition to promote immigrant women's physical activity.

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