Background: While much is known about the overall levels of physical activity and sedentary activity among youth, few studies have attempted to define clusters of such behaviors. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe unique classes of youth based on their participation in a variety of physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Methods: Latent class analysis was used to characterize segments of youth based on patterns of self-reported and accelerometer-measured participation in 12 behaviors. Children and adolescents (N = 720) from 6th-11th grade were included in the analysis. Differences in class membership were examined using multinomial logistic regression. Results: Three distinct classes emerged for boys and girls. Among boys, the 3 classes were characterized as “Active” (42.1%), “Sedentary” (24.9%), and “Low Media/Moderate Activity” (33.0%). For girls, classes were “Active” (18.7%), “Sedentary” (47.6%), and “Low Media/Functional Activity” (33.7%). Significant differences were found between the classes for a number of demographic indicators including the proportion in each class who were classified as overweight or obese. Conclusions: The behavioral profiles of the classes identified in this study can be used to suggest possible audience segments for intervention and to tailor strategies appropriately.
Keywords: exercise, youth, health behavior