Original article| Volume 23, ISSUE 2, e103-e108, March 2013

Sociodemographic and Lesbian-Specific Factors Associated with Physical Activity Among Adult Lesbians

Published:February 11, 2013DOI:



      Although participation in moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) results in health benefits, the majority of adult lesbians are not sufficiently active. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between sociodemographic factors (age, education level, body mass index [BMI], race, partner status, employment status, annual household income, general health status, diagnosis of chronic conditions, children under 18 years living at home) and lesbian-specific factors (connection with the lesbian community, public identification as a lesbian) to participation in MVPA.


      Participants included 847 self-identified lesbians 18 to 74 years old (Mage = 40.5; SD = 11.6) who completed a 20-minute, web-based survey.


      The binary logistic regression model that included the 10 demographic factors was significantly associated with MVPA, χ2 (15, N = 847) = 105.62, p < .001. However, when the two lesbian-specific factors were added, the model did not improve significantly, χ2 (2, N = 847) = 5.20, p = .07. BMI and general health status were significantly associated with MVPA (Wald χ2 (2) = 19.5, p < .001) and (Wald χ2 (4) = 41.2, p < .001). Obese participants had 54.5% lower odds than healthy weight participants to engage in sufficient amounts of MVPA. Participants who reported general health status as excellent compared with those who reported poor had 12.7 times greater odds of engaging in sufficient amounts of MVPA.


      Future research should extend on this study by utilizing sampling methods that target the recruitment of lesbian women not actively involved in lesbian-related activities.
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      Danielle R. Brittain, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Community Health Program in the School of Human Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Brittain’s primary lines of research include the identification of perceived personal and situational correlates (e.g., barriers) to physical activity among adult lesbians and women with arthritis, the development of theoretically driven interventions targeting social and behavior change processes that aid in the self-management and maintenance of physical activity, and the examination of health-related behaviors among college students by sexual orientation.


      Mary K. Dinger, PhD, CHES, is an Associate Professor of Community Health Program in the School of Human Sciences at the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Dinger’s primary lines of research include physical activity assessment and physical activity promotion.


      Susan R. Hutchinson, PhD, is a Full Professor in the Department of Applied Statistics and Research Methods at the University of Northern Colorado. Dr. Hutchinson’s primary research interests include cross-cultural measurement, validity generalization, and methodologic issues related to structural equation modeling.