Physical Activity Patterns Among Somali Adolescents in Minnesota

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Little is known about the physical activity patterns of Somali adolescents. This study compared time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and participation in specific physical activities among Somali, other Non-Hispanic black and white adolescents.


A subsample of 1,268 adolescents (mean age= 14.6) who completed surveys as part of the EAT 2010 (Eating and Activity in Teens) study was included in analyses. Gender-stratified linear and logistic regressions, controlling for body mass index and demographic characteristics, were conducted to estimate mean weekly hours of self-reported MVPA and mean weekly hours and prevalence of engagement in each of 26 physical activities assessed by ethnic/racial group.


Somali girls had lower mean MVPA hours than their peers; however, no differences were found for Somali boys. Involvement in most activities was similar for Somali and other groups, but some differences were observed. For example, Somali youth were more likely to play soccer than their same-sex other black peers (boys: 52.4% vs. 20.4%; girls: 34.6% vs. 14.6%; P < .05). Somali girls also engaged in more hours per week of soccer than their black or white peers.


Activities for which Somali youth indicated higher involvement may be particularly relevant for culturally-tailored physical activity programming.

Thul ( is with the School of Kinesiology, College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Eisenberg is with the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine, Dept of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. Larson and Neumark-Sztainer are with the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN.