Longitudinal Associations Between Psychosocial, Home, and Neighborhood Factors and Children’s Physical Activity

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background: Physical activity (PA) provides important health benefits to children, and a large percentage of children’s PA occurs at home. The purpose of this study was to examine the associations between psychosocial, home, and neighborhood environmental factors and children’s reported PA at home and in the neighborhood, during the transition from elementary to high school. Methods: A total of 555 participants (44% boys) were recruited in grade 5 and followed through grades 6, 7, and 9. Children self-reported PA in 3 locations—at home, in the neighborhood, and on the street. Children reported parent support and neighborhood environment, parents reported PA equipment, and a windshield survey assessed incivilities and outside PA equipment. Longitudinal Poisson models evaluated the relationships between environmental variables and 3 self-reported PA variables, adjusting for gender, race/ethnicity, and parent education. Results: Parent support and PA equipment were significant positive predictors of home PA. Child’s perceived environment (positive) and incivilities (negative) were significant predictors of neighborhood PA. Parental support, perceived environment, and outside PA equipment were positive significant predictors of street PA. Conclusions: This study supports the need for both family and community/neighborhood PA interventions that encourage parents to support child PA and for communities to reduce incivilities.

Dowda, McIver, and Pate are with the Department of Exercise Science, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Saunders is with the Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Colabianchi is with the School of Kinesiology, and Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA. Dishman is with the Department of Kinesiology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, USA.

Dowda (mdowda@mailbox.sc.edu) is corresponding author.
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