The relationship between physical activity and care-seeking behavior among employed adults
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Physical activity is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle and affects many health conditions. It is essential to energy balance and has been shown to protect against cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions such as hypertension, osteoporosis, cancer and diabetes. Whereas physical activity promotion is popular in workplace settings, the relationship between physical activity and health care seeking behavior among employed individuals is less well-understood. PURPOSE: To test the association between physical activity and several types of care seeking behavior among employed adults (N=5,499). METHODS: Physical activity was measured as adherence to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (DHHS, 2008). Binary logistic regression was used to test the relationship between physical activity level and three measures of care seeking behavior: 1) recent doctor visits; 2) recent dentist visits; 3) willingness to seek phone advice from a nurse. The relationship between physical activity and doctor visits was also tested for a subsample of the population with self-reported chronic conditions. RESULTS: Physical activity was significantly and positively associated with all three measures of care-seeking behavior: doctor visits [p<.001]; dentist visits [p<.001] and willingness to seek phone advice from a nurse [p<.05]. For individuals reporting chronic conditions, physical activity was significantly and negatively associated with doctor visits for the chronic condition [p<.05]. CONCLUSIONS: Among employees, physical activity was significantly associated with care-seeking behavior for individuals with and without chronic conditions. A universal recommendation for physical activity promotion to all working adults is supported by its association with healthful care seeking behaviors.
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