Association of Family Functioning on Youth Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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High family functioning is associated with reduced depression symptoms, better academic achievement, less disordered eating, and better metabolic control among youth. However, we know very little about the role of family functioning on physical activity and sedentary behavior among youth, which was the purpose of this study.


Data from the 2003 and 2011–2012 cycles of the National Survey of Children’s Health were used. A total of 61,226 parents/guardians from the 2003 cycle and 40,446 parents/guardians from the 2011–2012 cycle (total n = 101,672) across all 50 states and the District of Columbia were examined. Parents answered questions related to family functioning and their child’s (age 6–17 yrs) physical activity and sedentary behavior.


Results were the same across both cycles; after adjustments, youth engaged in less physical activity if the family had worse family functioning (β = −0.06, P < .001). Similarly, youth engaged in more sedentary behavior if the family had worse family functioning (β = 0.05, P < .001).


This research suggests that youth are more active and engage in less sedentary behavior if their family has greater family functioning.

Loprinzi ( is with the Dept of Health, Exercise Science, and Recreation Management, The University of Mississippi.

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