Cultural factors associated with physical activity among U.S. adults: An integrative review

Nitha Mathew Joseph, Padmavathy Ramaswamy, Jing Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


AIM: The purpose of this integrative review is to identify the cultural factors associated with physical activity (PA) among United States (U.S.) adults. BACKGROUND: Physical inactivity is a significant public health problem that requires comprehensive community-based efforts. Cultural factors influence behavior and attitudes towards PA. Therefore, identifying the cultural factors is a key requirement for the planning of specific measures to enhance the level of PA and are more promising than campaigns aimed at the general population. This integrative review examined existing research on cultural factors influencing adult PA to inform the development of culturally adapted PA interventions in adults. METHODS: Literature searches were conducted in key scientific databases (PubMed, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health, and PsycINFO) using several key words related to both culture and PA. Fifteen peer-reviewed articles were identified, reviewed, synthesized, and critically analyzed. RESULTS: Eight major categories of cultural factors were identified: 1) collectivism and cultural identity; 2) religiosity; 3) cultural attitudes and gender norms in regards to PA; 4) cultural perspectives on health in regards to PA; 5) cultural expectations of familism and lack of time; 6) lack of role models and lack of motivation; 7) lack of culturally appropriate exercise facilities; and 8) cultural expectations of body image and physical appearance. CONCLUSIONS: Review findings emphasize the need for health promotion targeted toward improving cultural barriers to PA among U.S. Adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-110
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Nursing Research
StatePublished - Aug 2018


  • Chronic diseases
  • Culture
  • Ethnicity
  • Exercise
  • Health promotion
  • Minority
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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