Physical Activity Interventions with Healthy Minority Adults: Meta-Analysis of Behavior and Health Outcomes

Monday, July 11, 2011: 10:35 AM

Vicki Conn, PhD, RN, FAAN
School of Nursing, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify the health outcomes from supervised exercise with verified exercise dose among healthy minority adults.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe the exercise behavior and health outcomes of interventions designed to motivate increased exercise among healthy minority adults.

Purpose: Ethnic minority adults are at high risk for negative health outcomes. Some of these health problems (e.g. obesity, diabetes, heart disease) have been conclusively linked with lack of physical activity.  Over the last two decades, the literature addressing physical activity behavior interventions and health outcomes of physical activity has grown. This meta-analysis synthesizes studies of supervised exercise interventions and interventions that motivate increased physical activity to determine their health and behavior outcomes among healthy minority adults.

Methods:  Comprehensive searching located published and unpublished studies. Eligible studies focused on ethnic minority adults without acute or chronic health problems. Studies were included if they reported physical activity behavior outcomes or health outcomes including maximum oxygen capacity measured fitness, anthropometric outcomes (e.g. body mass index), lipids, mood, or quality of life. Small sample studies were included, with greater statistical weight placed on larger sample studies by weighting each effect size by inverse of variance. Random-effects analyses synthesized data to calculate effect sizes as a standardized mean difference (d). Variability was assessed by Q and I2 statistics.

Results: Data were synthesized across 21,151 subjects in 100 eligible samples. Supervised exercise improved fitness (d=.571-.584), lipids (d=.227), anthropometric outcomes (d=.104), and mood (d=.410). Interventions designed to motivate minority adults to increase physical activity changed subsequent physical activity behavior (d=.172-.312), lipids (d=.109), anthropometric outcomes (d=.070-.124), and quality of life (d=.464). Some ES should be interpreted in the context of reduced statistical power from limited comparisons and heterogeneity (significant Q). Attempts to match intervention content and delivery with minority populations were inconsistently reported in these primary studies.

Conclusion: Healthy minority adults experience health improvements following supervised exercise. Interventions designed to motivate subjects to increase physical activity have limited magnitude heterogeneous effects.