Online Program

Factors influencing physical activity among students attending jewish middle schools

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Mendel E. Singer, PhD MPH, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Leslie Cofie, MA, MPH, Department of Health Behavior, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC
Scott Frank, MD, MS, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Kristina Knight, MPH, Master of Public Health Program, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
Laura E. Santurri, PhD, MPH, CPH, Louis Stokes Cleveland Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
Background: Students attending Jewish middle schools have long school days and little physical education, with Orthodox Jews also having cultural barriers to physical activity. Little community-specific information is known to guide the design of interventions for these students.

Methods: Surveys were administered to all 7th-8th graders at all Jewish middle schools (3 Orthodox, 1 Conservative, 1 non-denominational) in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland, OH). To protect school identification, students were grouped by family religious identity: Non-Orthodox (NO), Modern Orthodox/Centrist (MOC) and Chareidi (CH). Questions examined physical activity: behavior, attitude, access and influences. Outcome variables: 60 minutes physical activity ≥5 of last 7 days, physical activity importance(1-5 scale), and strongly agree there are good options for physical activity outside of school. Modified Poisson and linear regression models were used.

Results: 247 surveys(84% of total enrolled; 34% NO, 40% MOC, 26% CH) were complete. Predictors of increased physical activity: importance to self(RR=1.27, p=.0421), outside-of-school PA options(RR=1.57, p=.0003), with trends for parent encouragement(RR=1.21, p=.0981) and teacher encouragement(RR=1.22, p=.0705). Females were less physically active(RR=0.58, p<.0001). Importance to friends(.57, p=.0002), parent encouragement(.47, p<.0001), out-of-school options(.29, p=.0150), female sex(.23, p=.0396) were associated with increased importance of PA to self, with trend for MOC(.23, p=.0766). Out-of-school PA options were less likely for females(RR=.71, p=.0218) and Orthodox students: MOC(RR=.60, p=.0030), CH(RR=.59, p=.0092). Conclusions: Having good out-of-school options was the greatest predictor of physical activity, and was notably lacking for Orthodox and female students. Interventions to increase physical activity for all students should utilize the influence of friends, parents, and teachers.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Identify the factors associated with physical activity of students attending Jewish middle schools. Identify the leading influences on the importance of, and access to physical activity to students attending Jewish middle schools toward.

Keyword(s): Physical Activity, School Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a professor and researcher in public health for 17 years.
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.