Models of physical inactivity in at-risk and overweight adolescents
Irshad, Habib Ahmad
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The purpose of this study was to identify predictors of physical inactivity among early adolescents and determine if they varied across weight status, gender, and ethnic groups. A population-based sample of 3,636 7th grade students (The CATCH Cohort) participated in an epidemiological study of nutrition, physical activity, and cardiovascular health in 96 schools located in California, Louisiana, Minnesota, and Texas. The weight category distribution of the sample was as follows: 2.1% underweight (BMI < 5th %), 66.5% normal weight (5th [less than or equal to] BMI<85th %), 16.9% at-risk (85th [less than or equal to] BMI<95th %), and 14.5% overweight (BMI[greater than or equal to]95th %). Physical inactivity was a stronger predictor of weight status category than physical activity for the entire sample (excluding underweight students). The model for physical inactivity, based on sedentary minutes, showed positive and negative support having a direct effect upon sedentary minutes, (p<.001). For adolescents with BMI[greater than or equal to]85th %, however, the model for physical inactivity showed only positive support having a direct effect on sedentary minutes (p<0.05). Females with BMI[greater than or equal to]85th % showed positive and negative support having a direct effect (p<.05), and males with BMI[greater than or equal to]85th % showed negative support having a direct effect (p<.01). White adolescents showed positive and negative support having a direct effect (p<.05), and for Hispanic adolescents, positive support had a direct effect (p<.001). This paper concludes that because physical inactivity appears to be a strong predictor of weight status in adolescent populations, interventions should target physical inactivity by influencing self-efficacy and positive and negative support. Furthermore, better measures of physical inactivity beyond TV/video game usage should be developed, and psychosocial variables that are more strongly associated with sedentary behavior than participation in physical activity should be investigated.