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01.06.2014 | Ausgabe 3/2014

International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 3/2014

The Association Between Family and Friend Integration and Physical Activity: Results from the NHIS

Zeitschrift:
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine > Ausgabe 3/2014
Autoren:
Britta A. Larsen, David Strong, Sarah E. Linke

Abstract

Background

Social integration predicts morbidity and mortality, but its relationships with specific health behaviors that could explain this relationship, such as physical activity, have not been established. Additionally, studies associating social integration with health have not distinguished between sources of social contact (family vs. friends), which could be differentially related to health.

Purpose

The purpose of this study was to examine the association between social integration and physical activity and to explore differences in family and friend social integration.

Method

Data came from the 2001 wave of the National Health Interview Survey. Adult participants (N = 33,326) indicated levels of social integration by reporting whether they had seen and/or called friends and/or family in the past 2 weeks and also reported their weekly minutes of physical activity. Logistic regression was used to determine odds of meeting physical activity (PA) guidelines (≥150 min/week) and odds of inactivity (0 min/week) based on levels of social integration.

Results

Greater integration predicted higher odds of meeting PA guidelines and lower odds of inactivity after controlling for sociodemographic variables. This association was stronger and dose-dependent for integration with friends, whereas moderate family contact predicted greater activity than high levels of family contact.

Conclusion

Those who are more socially integrated, particularly with friends rather than family, are also more physically active, which could partially explain the link between social integration and morbidity and mortality. Future studies examining this association should distinguish between sources of integration and explore why and how contact with friends vs. family is differentially associated with health behaviors.

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