Physical activity & nutritional behaviors of women w/physical disabilities:

Physical activity and nutritional behaviors of women with physical disabilities: Physical, psychological, social, and environmental influences

Margaret A. Nosek PhDa, , , Rosemary B. Hughes PhDa, Susan Robinson-Whelen PhDa, Heather B. Taylor PhDb and Carol A. Howland MSc

aBaylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas bUniversity of Texas Medical School, Houston, Texas cM.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas

Received 28 November 2005; revised 10 May 2006; accepted 10 May 2006. Available online 20 December 2006.

Introduction We examined predictors of 2 important health behaviors, namely, physical activity and nutritional behaviors, in a sample of community-living women with physical disabilities (N = 386).

Method We conducted a cross-sectional survey with regression analysis.

Results Our regression model accounted for 33.5% of the variance in physical activity. Women with joint problems or multiple sclerosis tended to engage in less physical activity than those with stroke-related disabilities.

Those who had lived with their disability longer and those experiencing greater pain tended to report less physical activity. Consistent with the literature, women with greater self-efficacy for physical activity tended to engage in more physical activity. The regression model for nutritional behaviors accounted for 37.9% of the variance.

Women with better mobility, greater self-efficacy for nutrition, and more vitality had better nutritional behaviors while those who needed assistance with activities of daily living, had lower social functioning scores, and were engaged in more productive activities reported poorer nutritional behaviors.

Conclusions Our findings highlight the importance of self-efficacy for improving health behaviors. Further research is needed to develop a new paradigm for the measurement of health behaviors, one that focuses on individual improvement rather than comparison to a norm, and health promoting interventions that are responsive to the needs and life circumstances of women with physical disabilities.

Ann's NOTE: This study reminds me of the classic joke - "which came first, the chicken or the egg"? Of course I refer to a free-range chicken and its egg.

Healthy eating should help a person feel better (in almost any circumstance, and is the building block of our bodies). Combined with physical activity at any level - and you have 2 of our five-point program for health. We add detoxification, mind-body-spirit relaxation (joy) and dietary supplements.

Funded in part by a grant from the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, National Institutes of Health (HD35051). Correspondence to: Margaret A. Nosek, PhD, Center for Research on Women with Disabilities, Baylor College of Medicine, P.O. Box 890286, Houston, Texas 77289.

Women's Health Issues Volume 16, Issue 6 , November-December 2006, Pages 323-333


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