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Hispanics are disproportionately affected by low rates of physical activity and high rates of chronic diseases. Hispanics generally and Mexican Americans specifically are underrepresented in research on physical activity and its impact on mental well-being. Some community-based interventions have been effective in increasing physical activity among Hispanics. This study examined data from a sample of low-income Hispanic participants in free community exercise classes to characterize the association between self-reported frequency of exercise class attendance, intensity of physical activity, and participant well-being. As part of two cross-sectional samples recruited from a stratified random sample of community exercise classes, 302 participants completed a questionnaire consisting of a modified version of the Godin-Shephard Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire (LTEQ) and the Mental Health Continuum Short Form (MHC-SF). Adjusted logistic regression analyses indicated that those who achieve mild, moderate, and strenuous self-reported physical activity have 130% higher odds (p = 0.0422) of positive mental well-being after adjustment for age, frequency of attendance, and self-reported health. This study provides evidence that the intensity of physical activity is associated with flourishing mental well-being among Hispanic adults. The association between physical activity and mental well-being is more pronounced when considering participants engaged in mild levels of physical activity. The study further provides insight into the planning and development of community-based physical activity programming tailored to low-income populations.


© 2023 by the authors. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Population Health and Biostatistics

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