The purposes of the study were to assess differences in physical activity levels and correlates of physical activity among overweight (‡ 85 th percentile of body mass index for their sex and age) and non-overweight (< 85th percentile) youth. The sample included 509 seventh through twelfth graders. Activity was measured by a 7-day, 46-item activity checklist. Overweight girls were more sedentary than non-overweight girls (p < .03), and non-overweight girls engaged in more vigorous physical activity than overweight girls (p < .03). For boys, there were no significant differences in activity. The regression analyses for vigorous activity yielded the largest total R2’s (R2 = .49 for overweight and R2 = .27 for non-overweight.) The significant factor for overweight youth was greater athletic coordination (p < .01). For non-overweight youth, the significant factors were greater family support (p < .05), greater peer support (p < .001), fewer barriers (p < .03), and greater athletic coordination (p < .01). Correlates of physical activity vary by weight status of young people.
Wendell C. Taylor and Karen Eason are with the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, School of Public Health, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, Houston, TX. James F. Sallis is with the Department of Psychology at San Diego State University, San Diego, CA. Marsha Dowda and Russell R. Pate are with the Department of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC. Patty S. Freedson is with the Department of Exercise Science, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst, MA.