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Background:

A need exists to better understand multilevel influences on physical activity among diverse samples of girls. This study examined correlates of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among adolescent girls from different racial/ethnic backgrounds.

Methods:

1,180 6th grade girls (24.5% black, 15.7% Hispanic, and 59.8% white) completed a supervised self-administered questionnaire that measured hypothesized correlates of PA. MVPA data were collected for 6 days using the ActiGraph accelerometer. Hierarchical regression analysis was used to examine correlates of PA in each racial/ethnic group.

Results:

Hispanic girls (n = 185) engaged in 21.7 minutes of MVPA per day, black girls (n = 289) engaged in 19.5 minutes of MVPA per day, and white girls (n = 706) engaged in 22.8 minutes of MVPA per day. Perceived transportation barriers (+; P = .010) were significantly and positively related to MVPA for Hispanic girls. For black girls, Body Mass Index (BMI) (–; P = .005) and social support from friends (+; P = .006) were significant correlates of MVPA. For white girls, BMI (–; P < .001), barriers (–; P = .012), social support from friends (+; P = .010), participation in school sports (+; P = .009), and community sports (+; P = .025) were significant correlates of MVPA. Explained variance ranged from 30% to 35%.

Conclusions:

Correlates of MVPA varied by racial/ethnic groups. Effective interventions in ethnically diverse populations may require culturally tailored strategies.

Kelly and Dowda are with the Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Parra-Medina is with the Institute for Health Promotion Research, The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Texas. Pfeiffer is with the Dept of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Conway is with the Dept of Public Health, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Webber is with the Dept of Biostatistics, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, New Orleans, LA. Jobe is with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, Bethesda, MD. Going is with the Dept of Physiology and Nutritional Sciences, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ. Pate is with the Dept of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.