Determinants of physical activity among adolescent females

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American Journal of Preventive Medicine





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Women, and particularly African-American women, may be less physically active than what is ideal. Knowledge of factors that influence physical activity is valuable information to those planning and administering exercise promoting interventions.


The associations of 25 variables with current global physical activity were assessed via regression analysis. Eight hundred and fifty-two young women, 14-18 years of age, were sampled. Each completed a 7-day recall of physical activity and an 83-item survey. The sample was further subdivided by ethnic group, and then ethnic group and age to ascertain whether determinants of physical activity differ across these groups.


Ethnic group (Caucasians more active) and age (younger more active) were significant influences on physical activity. Overall, nurture from biological fathers and participation in organized sports associated with physical activity. Viewing two or more hours of television per night negatively influenced physical activity. Among African-American girls (n = 626), participation in organized sports, friend support, and nurture from biological fathers significantly associated with physical activity. However, following sports through the media negatively influenced physical activity. Among Caucasians (n = 226), attitudes were the sole significant correlate of physical activity.


Those planning interventions targeting female adolescents should consider employing distinct strategies for specific ethnic group and age subgroups. Opportunities for physicians to have an impact on the physical activity of female adolescents includes using their community standing to influence school policies and to counsel female patients individually during office visits.


Adolescent Behavior; African American women; African Americans; African Americans/Statistics & Numerical Data; Age distribution (Demography); Analysis of variance; Chi-Square Distribution; Cross-Sectional Studies; Ethnic groups; European Continental Ancestry Group/Statistics & Numerical Data; Exercise; Exercise--Psychological aspects; Exercise/Psychology; Factor analysis; Factor Analysis; Statistical; Father-Child Relations; Father and child; Fathers; Fathers and daughters; Fathers and sons; Female; Health behavior; Health Behavior/Ethnology; Health behavior in adolescence; Health surveys; Humans; Mass media and sports; Men; Motor Activity; Nurturing behavior; Physicians; Regression analysis; Sampling Studies; School sports; South Carolina; Sports; Sports/Statistics & Numerical Data; Teenage boys; Teenage girls; Teenagers; Television; Television/Statistics & Numerical Data; Women; Women patients; Work sampling


Community-Based Research | Exercise Science | Gender and Sexuality | Kinesiology | Race and Ethnicity | Statistics and Probability




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