Physical Activity and Anthropometric Characteristics Among Urban Youth in Mexico: A Cross-Sectional Study

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Obesity is a critical problem among Mexican youth, but few studies have investigated associations among physical activity (PA) modes and anthropometrics in this population. This study examined associations among active commuting to school (ACS), sports or other organized PA, outdoor play, and body mass index (BMI) percentile and waist circumference (WC) among Mexican youth.


Parents of school children (N = 1996, ages 6 to 14 years, 53.1% female) in 3 Mexican cities reported PA participation using the (modified) fourth grade School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey. Trained assessors measured BMI percentile and WC in person.


Parents reported that 52.3% of children engaged in ACS, 57.3% participated in sports or organized PA, and a median of 2 days in the previous week with at least 30 minutes of outdoor play. In complete case analyses (n = 857), ACS was negatively associated with BMI percentile, and outdoor play was negatively associated with WC after adjusting for school, age, sex, and income. In analyses incorporating data from multiple imputation (N = 1996), outdoor play was negatively associated with WC (all Ps < . 05).


ACS and outdoor play are favorably associated with anthropometrics and may help prevent childhood obesity in Mexico. ACS and outdoor play should be priorities for increasing youth PA in Mexico.

Parker is with the Dept of Health and Human Performance, Texas Obesity Research Center, University of Houston, Houston, TX. Atrooshi and Lévesque are with the School of Kinesiology & Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Jauregui and Taylor are with the Instituto de Ciencias Aplicadas a la Actividad Física y Deporte, Centro Universitario de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad de Guadalajara, Guadalajara, Mexico. Barquera is with the Centro de Investigación en Nutrición y Salud, Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, Cuernavaca, Mexico. Lee is with the Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ.

Parker ( is corresponding author.