Associations between overweight, obesity, physical activity, body image and social support among Texas adolescents

Ian Turpin, The University of Texas School of Public Health

Abstract

Participation in physical activity has well-established benefits in terms of both prevention and amelioration of a variety of chronic diseases, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. One venue through which regular physical activity among youth may be encouraged is sports participation (Van der Horst et al, 2007); however, few studies have investigated participation in sports among children and adolescents. ^ The overall goal of this study was to examine behavioral associations of physical activity in a population of middle and high school youth. Specific aims of the three papers to explore this topic are: (1) To examine the differences in physical activity among low-income students who are participating in sports physicals in a large, central Texas urban school district. (2) To determine the association between perceived body image and time spent participating in physical activity and sedentary pursuits in adolescents in Texas; and (3) To determine the association between social support from parents and peers and participation in physical activity and sedentary pursuits. ^ Data from the 2009-2011 School Physical Activity and Nutrition Project (SPAN), a statewide survey to assess physical activity, nutrition and weight status in 4th, 8th and 11th grade students in Texas were used for these analyses. In addition, data from a convenience sample of adolescents who obtained free physical examinations from the Austin Independent School District (AISD) in Spring 2010 were used. Descriptive statistics to illustrate the non-weighted samples was calculated, along with multiple regression to identify relations among variables, both before and after the addition of analysis of the effect of confounding variables to include ethnicity, language spoken at home, highest level of maternal education and weight status. ^ In Study One, participation in number of sports teams was significantly different by gender, with boys participating in more teams than girls (p = 0.02); grade level, with high school children participating in more teams than middle school children (p = 0.007); ethnicity, with Blacks participating in more teams than either of the other ethnic groups (p = 0.005); and language spoken at home, with Spanish language speakers showing highest participation in sports teams (p = 0.004). ^ In Study Two, most students in this sample perceived their body image as only slightly different from a normative ideal. Girls had a significantly higher body image score than boys (2.34 vs 2.24, p = 0.007). Blacks have a significantly higher body image score (2.43) compared to Hispanics (2.28), while White / Other students had a score that was comparable to Hispanics (2.24). Variables that were associated with a significantly higher body image score included participation in at least one sports team (p = 0.002) and at least three days per week of vigorous physical activity (0.001). ^ In Study Three, significant differences in parent social support were found by gender and grade, with more 8th grade than 11th grade students reporting social support for physical activity (p<0.02), and girls reporting less social support than boys (p<0.05). Similarly, significant differences in friend social support were found by gender with more boys reporting social support for physical activity than girls (p<0.001). This trend was reflected for total social support scores as well. ^ Identifying disparities that may exist in sports participation, along with the association with other health behaviors, provides important information and resources for the planning and provision of school sports programs and other physical activity initiatives for the nation’s youth. Data from this study may help to determine factors that may influence school sports participation in middle and high school students, and this information may strengthen arguments to promote more school sports teams and more active participation in physical activity, especially among students from low socio-economic backgrounds. ^

Subject Area

Health sciences

Recommended Citation

Turpin, Ian, "Associations between overweight, obesity, physical activity, body image and social support among Texas adolescents" (2015). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI10036299.
http://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI10036299

Share

COinS