Women's Physical Activity: Conceptual Issues

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Physical activity is essential to life, health, and well-being, and physical inactivity is a major public health problem. Women, especially those of advanced age and members of minority groups, are at particular risk for physical inactivity. The construct of physical activity is associated with conceptual ambiguity and inconsistent measurement strategies, some of which may not be relevant to the physical activity of women. This presents a barrier to meaningful use of the term and precise measurement. This article explores the construct of physical activity and relevant age and gender issues associated with its use and measurement. Selected research studies are reviewed as they pertain to the issues addressed. Implications for research and practice are discussed.

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