Parents represent a key ecological component in influencing their child’s physical activity. The aim of this exploratory study was to assess the relationship between maternal acculturation and physical activity in Hispanic children.
102 Hispanic mothers (mean age 36.2 yrs; +SD 7.3 yrs) and their children (mean age 10.0 yrs, +SD 0.8 yrs) participated. Most of the mothers (74%) were foreign-born, with 62% classified as low acculturated and 38% high acculturated. Demographic, acculturation, and anthropometric measures were completed by mothers and children. Physical activity was measured using accelerometers. Relationships between maternal acculturation and demographic variables and children’s physical activity were examined using chi-square, Analysis of Variance, and simple regression.
Children had higher physical activity levels than their mothers (t(49) = −7.87, P < .0001). Significant correlations between maternal and child’s physical activity levels were observed in moderate (r2 = 0.13, P = .001), vigorous (r2 = 0.08, P = .05), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (r2 = 0.17, P = .002). Low acculturated mothers were more likely to have active children compared with high acculturated mothers. Maternal BMI and other demographic characteristics were not significantly associated with child’s physical activity.
Findings from this study revealed an association among maternal acculturation, role modeling, and child’s physical activity.
Olvera, Smith, Jay Lee, and Kellam are with the Dept of Educational Psychology, University of Houston, Houston, TX. Chanam Lee and Kim are with the Dept of Landscape and Architecture and Urban Planning, Texas A & M University, College Station, TX. Liu is with the Dept of Health and Human Performance, University of Houston, Houston, TX.