Does Marriage, Employment and Having Children Matter? A Secondary Analysis on Physical Activity Levels, Leisure Time Physical Activity, and Social Roles Among Women in the United States
Date of Award
Open Access Dissertation
Health Promotion, Education and Behavior
Background: Social roles, such as being married, employed, or having children, have been shown to have independent negative relationships with moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels among women. Increasing the number of women with children that meets physical activity guidelines is critical to reduce chronic disease and early mortality in this population. However, few studies have examined the relationship between holding multiple social roles, MVPA, and leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) among women with children. The study had two aims: 1) to determine the relationship between objectively measured MVPA by social roles and 2) to examine the frequency of specific leisure time physical activities by social role. In addition, mean daily MVPA minutes and status of meeting MVPA guidelines among women with children by social role were measured. For this study, social role is defined as employment status, marital status, and phase of motherhood, which is defined by age category of youngest child (< 6 years, 7-13 years, and > 13 years).
Methods: The sample consisted of women (ages 18-60) from the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Each participant wore an accelerometer (ActiGraph-AM 7164) for at least four days with at least 10 hours of daily wearing. Prevalence of types of LTPA and minutes of MVPA by social role was analyzed among women with children by social role was also examined. Adjusted multiple linear regression analysis was used to examine the association between daily mean MVPA minutes and all social roles: marital status, employment status, and age range of youngest child. Bivariate analysis was used to determine prevalence of LTPA and status of meeting MVPA guidelines.
Results: For the first aim, employment status and phase of motherhood were associated with MVPA after controlling for the participant’s age, race, education, household income, and participant BMI (p=.0000). Homemakers compared to employed women had less daily MVPA (p=0.036) and women whose youngest child was under 6 (p=0.008) or over 13 (p=0.006) had significantly less daily MVPA minutes per day compared to women whose youngest child was between the ages of 6 and 13. For the second aim, walking was the most frequently reported LTPA activity by social role among the participant sample. In the bivariate analysis, women whose youngest child was over the age of 13 were less likely to meet MVPA guidelines (29%) compared to women whose youngest child was under 6 (42%) or between the ages of 6 and 13 (46%). Conclusion: Results from our study indicate that employment status and phase of motherhood should be considered when developing policies or interventions to increase MVPA among women with children. In addition, our study found that walking is a popular LTPA among women with children across social roles. Overall, understanding the influence of social roles on MVPA and LTPA among women with children can help to address the challenges in increasing PA among women with children.
McMullen, T. P.(2020). Does Marriage, Employment and Having Children Matter? A Secondary Analysis on Physical Activity Levels, Leisure Time Physical Activity, and Social Roles Among Women in the United States. (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/etd/6001