224193 Race-specific predictors of physical activity and healthy eating indicators among urban Black and White middle school students in Cambridge, MA

Monday, November 8, 2010

Lisa Arsenault, PhD , The Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, MA
Josefine Wendel, MS, RD, LDN , School Health Program, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Chandra Banks , Office of Mediation, Cambridge Public School District, Cambridge, MA
Ardeene Goodridge , Margaret Fuller Neighborhood House, Cambridge, MA
Richard Harding , Men of Color Program, Cambridge Public Health Department, Cambridge, MA
Robin Harris , Fletcher Maynard Academy, Cambridge, MA
Leroi Hicks, MD, MPH , Division of Hospital Medicine, University of Massachusetts, Worcester, MA
Virginia Chomitz, PhD , The Institute for Community Health, Cambridge, MA
Background: The complexities of racial disparity in adolescent obesity challenge communities to successfully tackle this ongoing problem. Between 2004 and 2007, concurrent with school-based initiatives in Cambridge, MA, obesity declined and physical fitness improved among elementary and middle school students. However, racial disparities persisted despite universal gains. Work has begun to develop interventions targeting the disproportionately high rate of obesity among Black children in Cambridge, MA.

Methods: To inform this process, the Cambridge Middle School Health Survey (2007) was used to explore predictors of meeting/exceeding physical activity, fruit/vegetable consumption, and/or television viewing guidelines. Logistic regression was used to identify covariates most strongly associated with these outcomes among Black students (n=287, grades 6th-8th). Covariates included socio-demographic, mental health, social support, and school/community involvement indicators.

Results: Final models indicated female gender (OR=0.41, P=0.008), grade level (8th vs. 6th, OR=0.47, P=0.053), and school sports involvement (OR=2.07, P=0.050) were associated with moderate/vigorous physical activity. High fruit/vegetable consumption was associated with grade level (7th vs. 6th, OR=0.45, P=0.031) and worrying about physical fights at home (OR=3.22, P=0.002). Low television viewing was associated with grade level (8th vs. 6th, OR=0.36, P=0.047), non-English at home (OR=3.21, P=0.004), having ≥ 3 close friends (OR=0.20, P<0.001), and worrying about drugs in the neighborhood (OR=0.20, P=0.010). After these models were re-run for white students (n=274), different patterns of association emerged suggesting underlying differences in obesity-related behaviors.

Discussion: This study informs the current development of interventions targeting obesity among Black youth in Cambridge, MA and increases socio-cultural understanding of disparities.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Discuss prevalence and incidence of racial disparity of overweight and obesity among adolescents in Cambridge, MA. Identify differences in risk/protective factors between racial groups. Demonstrate how quantitative analytic results were used to inform the development of an intervention targeting racial disparity in overweight and obesity.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Doctoral degree in Nutritional Epidemiology, Epidemiologist II at Institute for Community Health in Cambridge, MA, and lead quantitative data analyst on the project.
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.