The purpose of this study was to identify racial differences in physical activity (PA), fitness, and BMI in female 8th-grade sports participants and nonparticipants. Girls from 31 South Carolina middle schools (N = 1,903, 48% White; mean age = 13.6 ± 0.63) reported PA and previous year sports-team participation, completed a submaximal fitness test, and had height and weight measured. Sports team participation was positively associated with PA and negatively associated with television viewing and BMI, in a dose-response manner. Compared with Whites, African-Americans reported less PA and more television viewing, and had greater BMI scores. Whereas PA intervention programs that incorporate a sports-team component could benefit all girls, African-American girls could be specifically targeted because of their lower physical activity.
Sirard is with the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health School of Public Health University of Minnesota Minneapolis, MN 55454-1015. Pfeiffer is with the Dept. of Kinesiology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1049. Dowda and Pate are with the Dept. of Exercise Science, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.