Physical Activity Among Immigrant Children: A Systematic Review

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
Restricted access

Purchase article

USD  $24.95

Student 1 year online subscription

USD  $117.00

1 year online subscription

USD  $156.00

Student 2 year online subscription

USD  $222.00

2 year online subscription

USD  $296.00

Background: The health benefits of physical activity (PA) for children are well documented. However, little is known about PA patterns among immigrant children. Methods: The authors reviewed research on PA patterns of immigrant children. The inclusion criteria included peer-reviewed articles published from January 2010 to May 2018 in English, French, or Spanish that included primary-school-aged (6–12 y) children, and data on immigration status. Results: A total of 11 articles were included in the analyses. These studies revealed a deficit of PA among immigrant children. Immigration status (immigrant or nonimmigrant) and generation of immigration (first, second, and third), ethnic origin, and gender were associated with PA patterns. In general, PA levels were lower among first-generation immigrant children, children of Hispanic and East Asian origin, and girls. The results suggest that questionnaire measures might be biased or inaccurate among immigrant children, highlighting the need for the integration of mixed methods (objective and subjective measures). Conclusions: A large proportion of children do not meet PA guidelines, and this might be more problematic for immigrant children. Future studies incorporating time since immigration, comparative analyses on gender, sociocultural and socioeconomic characteristics, and mixed methodology could provide a more complete portrait of PA patterns and opportunities for immigrant children.

Lacoste, Dancause, Gosselin-Gagne, and Gadais are with the Department of Exercise Science, University of Quebec in Montreal, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Dancause (kelseydancause@gmail.com; dancause.kelsey_needham@uqam.ca) is corresponding author.
  • 1.

    Hillman CH, Erickson KI, Kramer AF. Be smart, exercise your heart: exercise effects on brain and cognition. Nat Rev Neurosci. 2008;9(1):5865. PubMed ID: 18094706 doi:10.1038/nrn2298

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 2.

    Lubans D, Richards J, Hillman C, et al. Physical activity for cognitive and mental health in youth: a systematic review of mechanisms. Pediatrics. 2016;138(3):e20161642. PubMed ID: 27542849 doi:10.1542/peds.2016-1642

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 3.

    Poitras VJ, Gray CE, Borghese MM, et al. Systematic review of the relationships between objectively measured physical activity and health indicators in school-aged children and youth. Appl Physiol, Nutr Metab. 2016;41(6):S197S239. PubMed ID: 27306431 doi:10.1139/apnm-2015-0663

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 4.

    World Health Organization. Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO; 2011.

  • 5.

    Tremblay MS, Gray CE, Akinroye K, et al. Physical activity of children: a global matrix of grades comparing 15 countries. J Phys Act Health. 2014;11(suppl 1):S113S125. PubMed ID: 25426906 doi:10.1123/jpah.2014-0177

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 6.

    Colley RC, Carson V, Garriguet D, Janssen I, Roberts KC, Tremblay MS. Physical activity of Canadian children and youth, 2007 to 2015. Health Rep. 2017;28(10):816.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 7.

    Colley RC, Wong SL, Garriguet D, Janssen I, Gorber SC, Tremblay MS. Physical activity, sedentary behaviour and sleep in Canadian children: parent-report versus direct measures and relative associations with health risk. Health Rep. 2012;23(2):4552.

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 8.

    Kohl HW 3rd, Craig CL, Lambert EV, et al. The pandemic of physical inactivity: global action for public health. Lancet. 2012;380(9838):294305. PubMed ID: 22818941 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60898-8

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 9.

    Larouche R, Garriguet D, Gunnell KE, Goldfield GS, Tremblay MS. Outdoor time, physical activity, sedentary time, and health indicators at ages 7 to 14: 2012/2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Rep. 2016;27(9):313. PubMed ID: 27655167

    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 10.

    Bull FC, Gauvin L, Bauman A, Shilton T, Kohl HW 3rd, Salmon A. The Toronto charter for physical activity: a global call for action. J Phys Act Health. 2010;7(4):421422. PubMed ID: 20683082 doi:10.1123/jpah.7.4.421

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 11.

    Clark W. Kids’ sports. Canadian Social Trends. 2008;85:5461.

  • 12.

    Pica LA, Traoré I, Bernèche F, et al. L’Enquête québécoise sur la santé des jeunes du secondaire 2010-2011. Le visage des jeunes d’aujourd’hui: Leur santé physique et leurs habitudes de vie. Institut de la statistique du Québec: Montréal. Vol. 1. 2012:258.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 13.

    Gouvernement du Québec. Politique de l’activité physique, du sport et du loisir: Au Québec, on bouge! Ministère de l'éducation et de l'enseignement supérieur du Québec Québec, Canada: 2017:44.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 14.

    Singh GK, Yu SM, Siahpush M, Kogan MD. High levels of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviors among US immigrant children and adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2008;162(8):756763. PubMed ID: 18678808 doi:10.1001/archpedi.162.8.756

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 15.

    United Nations. International migration report. 2017. https://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/publications/migrationreport/docs/MigrationReport2017_Highlights.pdf

    • Export Citation
  • 16.

    Statistique Canada. Les enfants issus de l’immigration : Un pont entre les cultures. Ottawa, Canada: Ministre de l’Industrie; 2017.

  • 17.

    Clarkson M, Tremblay R, Audet N. Santé et bien-être, immigrants récents au Québec: une adaptation réciproque? Rapport de l’étude auprès des communautés culturelles 1998-1999. Québec, Canada: Institut de la statistique du Québec; 2002.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 18.

    Gualdi-Russo E, Zaccagni L, Masotti S, Manzon VS, Rinaldo N, Khyatti M. Obesity and physical activity in children of immigrants. Eur J Public Health. 2014;24(suppl 1):4046. PubMed ID: 25107997 doi:10.1093/eurpub/cku111

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 19.

    Gerber M, Barker D, Pühse U. Acculturation and physical activity among immigrants: A systematic review. J Public Health. 2012;20(3):313341. doi:10.1007/s10389-011-0443-1

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 20.

    Tovar A, Renzaho AMN, Guerrero AD, Mena N, Ayala GX. A systematic review of obesity prevention intervention studies among immigrant populations in the US. Curr Obes Rep. 2014;3(2):206222. PubMed ID: 24818072 doi:10.1007/s13679-014-0101-3

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 21.

    Murphy M, Robertson W, Oyebode O. Obesity in International Migrant Populations. Curr Obes Rep. 2017;6(3):314323. PubMed ID: 28755178 doi:10.1007/s13679-017-0274-7

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 22.

    Gicevic S, Aftosmes-Tobio A, Manganello JA, et al. Parenting and childhood obesity research: a quantitative content analysis of published research 2009–2015. Obes Rev. 2016;17(8):724734. PubMed ID: 27125603 doi:10.1111/obr.12416

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 23.

    Bhatnagar P, Shaw A, Foster C. Generational differences in the physical activity of UK South Asians: a systematic review. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2015;12(1):96. PubMed ID: 26187626 doi:10.1186/s12966-015-0255-8

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 24.

    Moher D, Liberati A, Tetzlaff J, Altman DG, PRISMA Group. Preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analyses: the PRISMA statement. PLoS Med. 2009;6(7):e1000097. PubMed ID: 19621072 doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000097

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 25.

    Martin V, Renaud J, Dagenais P. Les normes de production des revues systématiques: Guide méthodologique. Québec, Institut national d’excellence en santé et en services sociaux (INESS); 2013.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 26.

    Mc Andrew M, Balde A, Bakhshaei M, et al. La réussite éducative des élèves issus de l’immigration. Montréal, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal; 2015.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 27.

    Coll CG, Marks AK. The immigrant paradox in children and adolescents: Is becoming American a developmental risk? Washington, DC, American Psychological Association; 2012.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 28.

    United States Census Bureau. About the Foreign-Born Population. 2019. https://www.census.gov/topics/population/foreign-born/about/faq.html

    • Export Citation
  • 29.

    Kobel S, Lämmle C, Wartha O, Kesztyüs D, Wirt T, Steinacker JM. Effects of a randomised controlled school-based health promotion intervention on obesity related behavioural outcomes of children with migration background. J Immigr Minor Health. 2017;19(2):254262. PubMed ID: 27388441 doi:10.1007/s10903-016-0460-9

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 30.

    Alasagheirin MH, Clark MK. Skeletal growth, body composition, and metabolic risk among North Sudanese immigrant children. Public Health Nurs. 2018;35(2):9199. PubMed ID: 29423945 doi:10.1111/phn.12386

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 31.

    Jekauc D, Reimers AK, Wagner MO, Woll A. Prevalence and socio-demographic correlates of the compliance with the physical activity guidelines in children and adolescents in Germany. BMC Public Health. 2012;12(1):714. PubMed ID: 22935245 doi:10.1186/1471-2458-12-714

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 32.

    Kukaswadia A, Pickett W, Janssen I. Time since immigration and ethnicity as predictors of physical activity among canadian youth: a cross-sectional study. PLoS One. 2014;9(2):e89509. PubMed ID: 24586835 doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0089509

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 33.

    Besharat Pour M, Bergström A, Bottai M, et al. Effect of parental migration background on childhood nutrition, physical activity, and body mass index. J Obes. 2014;2014:406529. PubMed ID: 24991430 doi:10.1155/2014/406529

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 34.

    Nielsen G, Hermansen B, Bugge A, Dencker M, Andersen LB. Daily physical activity and sports participation among children from ethnic minorities in Denmark. Eur J Sport Sci. 2013;13(3):321331. PubMed ID: 23679149 doi:10.1080/17461391.2011.635697

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 35.

    Pardo Arquero V, Jimenez Pavon D, Guillen del Castillo M, Benitez Sillero JD. Physical activity, fitness and adiposity: immigrants versus Spanish scholars. Revista Internacional de Medicina y Ciencias de la Actividad Fisica y del Deporte. 2014;14(54):319338.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 36.

    Singh GK, Yu SM, Kogan MD. Health, chronic conditions, and behavioral risk disparities among U.S. Immigrant children and adolescents. Public Health Rep. 2013;128(6):463479. PubMed ID: 24179258 doi:10.1177/003335491312800606

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 37.

    Taverno Ross SE, Francis LA, BeLue RZ, Viruell-Fuentes EA. Associations between physical activity and overweight among U.S. youth by immigrant generation: Results from the 2007 national survey of children’s health. J Phys Act Health. 2012;9(6):840848. PubMed ID: 21952117 doi:10.1123/jpah.9.6.840

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 38.

    Taverno SE, Rollins BY, Francis LA. Generation, language, body mass index, and activity patterns in hispanic children. Am J Prev Med. 2010;38(2):145153. PubMed ID: 20117570 doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2009.09.041

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 39.

    Lämmle L, Worth A, Bös K. Socio-demographic correlates of physical activity and physical fitness in German children and adolescents. Eur J Public Health. 2012;22(6):880884. PubMed ID: 22219503 doi:10.1093/eurpub/ckr191

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 40.

    Lane G, Farag M, White J, Nisbet C, Vatanparast H. Chronic health disparities among refugee and immigrant children in Canada. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2018;43(10):10431058. PubMed ID: 29726691 doi:10.1139/apnm-2017-0407

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 41.

    Gushulak BD, Pottie K, Hatcher Roberts J, Torres S, DesMeules M. Migration and health in Canada: health in the global village. CMAJ. 2011;183(12):E952958. PubMed ID: 20584934 doi:10.1503/cmaj.090287

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 42.

    Ng E. The healthy immigrant effect and mortality rates. Health Rep. 2011;22(4):2529. PubMed ID: 22352149

  • 43.

    Chang CD. Social determinants of health and health disparities among immigrants and their children. Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2019;49(1):2330. PubMed ID: 30595524 doi:10.1016/j.cppeds.2018.11.009

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 44.

    Mendoza FS. Health disparities and children in immigrant families: a research agenda. Pediatrics. 2009;124(suppl 3):S187S195. PubMed ID: 19861469 doi:10.1542/peds.2009-1100F

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 45.

    Chinapaw MJM, Mokkink LB, Van Poppel MNM, Van Mechelen W, Terwee CB. Physical activity questionnaires for youth: a systematic review of measurement properties. Sports Med. 2010;40(7):539563. PubMed ID: 20545380 doi:10.2165/11530770-000000000-00000

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 46.

    Telford A, Salmon J, Jolley D, Crawford D. Reliability and validity of physical activity questionnaires for children: the Children’s Leisure Activities Study Survey (CLASS). Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2004;16(1):6478. doi:10.1123/pes.16.1.64

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 47.

    Moore JB, Hanes JC Jr, Barbeau P, Gutin B, Treviño RP, Yin Z. Validation of the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children in children of different races. Pediatr Exerc Sci. 2007;19(1):619. PubMed ID: 17554153 doi:10.1123/pes.19.1.6

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 48.

    Roman-Viñas B, Chaput JP, Katzmarzyk PT, et al. Proportion of children meeting recommendations for 24-hour movement guidelines and associations with adiposity in a 12-country study. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2016;13(1):123. PubMed ID: 27887654 doi:10.1186/s12966-016-0449-8

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 49.

    Doherty A, Taylor T. Sport and physical recreation in the settlement of immigrant youth. Leisure. 2007;31(1):2755. doi:10.1080/14927713.2007.9651372

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 50.

    Tremblay MS, Bryan SN, Pérez CE, Ardern CI, Katzmarzyk PT. Physical activity and immigrant status: evidence from the Canadian community health survey. Can J Public Health. 2006;97(4):277282. PubMed ID: 16967745 doi:10.1007/BF03405603

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 51.

    Caperchione CM, Kolt GS, Mummery WK. Physical activity in culturally and linguistically diverse migrant groups to Western society: a review of barriers, enablers and experiences. Sports Med. 2009;39(3):167177. PubMed ID: 19290674 doi:10.2165/00007256-200939030-00001

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 52.

    Tucker P, Gilliland J. The effect of season and weather on physical activity: a systematic review. Public Health. 2007;121(12):909922. PubMed ID: 17920646 doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2007.04.009

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 53.

    Rothe E, Holt C, Kuhn C, et al. Barriers to outdoor physical activity in wintertime among Somali youth. J Immigr Minor Health. 2010;12(5):726736. PubMed ID: 19728092 doi:10.1007/s10903-009-9287-y

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 54.

    Nielsen G, Mygind E, Bølling M, et al. A quasi-experimental cross-disciplinary evaluation of the impacts of education outside the classroom on pupils’ physical activity, well-being and learning: the TEACHOUT study protocol. BMC Public Health. 2016;16(1):1117. PubMed ID: 27776502 doi:10.1186/s12889-016-3780-8

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 55.

    Schneller MB, Bentsen P, Nielsen G, et al. Measuring children’s physical activity: compliance using skin-taped accelerometers. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2017;49(6):12611269. PubMed ID: 28181981 doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000001222

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • 56.

    Minas H, Kakuma R, Too LS, et al. Mental health research and evaluation in multicultural Australia: developing a culture of inclusion. Int J Ment Health Syst. 2013;7(1):23 . PubMed ID: 24093216 doi:10.1186/1752-4458-7-23

    • Crossref
    • PubMed
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 158 159 74
Full Text Views 14 14 6
PDF Downloads 9 9 4