204418 Socio-cultural determinants of physical activity among African American and White female adolescents

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:15 PM

Wakina Scott, PhD, MPH , Department of Family Science, University of Maryland School of Public Health, College Park, MD
Sally A. Koblinsky, PhD , Department of Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Background: Low physical activity is a problem for girls, and particularly African American female adolescents. Families and communities play an important role in influencing adolescent health; however, few studies have examined the effects of these factors on adolescent physical activity outcomes. This study examined the relationship between family (i.e., maternal control, maternal support, mother-child communication, family cohesion) and community (attendance at religious activities) factors and adolescent physical activity.

Methods: Wave I data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health were analyzed. The sample includes 736 African American and 1692 White female adolescents in grades 7-12. Logit models were used to evaluate family and community influences on achieving five or more bouts of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week [MVPA] and whether the relationship between parental, community influences, and MVPA was moderated by race.

Results: Maternal control was a significant predictor of MVPA for the total sample (OR=1.10, p≤ .01) and White female sample (OR=1.12, p≤ .05), with higher control associated with increased physical activity. Mother-child communication and attendance at religious activities were significantly positively associated with MVPA for African American females only (OR=1.33, p≤.01; OR=1.28, p≤ .001, respectively). Interaction effects revealed that race significantly influenced the relationship between mother-child communication, religious activities, and MVPA. Maternal support and family cohesion were not found to be significant in any of the models.

Conclusion: Strategies to engage female adolescents in physical activity, particularly African American female adolescents, should focus on parenting behavior, increasing mother-child communication and girls′ involvement with religious institutions.

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe three possible outcomes of poor physical activity among adolescents. 2.List three factors that influence physical activity among adolescents. 3.Identify strategies for increasing physical activity among female adolescents.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a doctoral candidate, I have performed all research and analysis related to adolescents and physical activity for this study.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.