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Margaret Schneider, Genevieve F. Dunton, Stan Bassin, Dan J. Graham, Alon Eliakim and Dan M. Cooper

Background:

Many female adolescents participate in insufficient physical activity to maintain cardiovascular fitness and promote optimal bone growth. This study evaluates the impact of a school-based intervention on fitness, activity, and bone among adolescent females.

Methods:

Subjects were assigned to an intervention (n = 63) or comparison (n = 59) group, and underwent assessments of cardiovascular fitness (VO2peak), physical activity, body composition, bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC), and serum markers of bone turnover at baseline and at the end of each of two school semesters.

Results:

The intervention increased physical activity, VO2peak, and BMC for the thoracic spine (P values < 0.05). Bone turnover markers were not affected. In longitudinal analyses of the combined groups, improvements in cardiovascular fitness predicted increased bone formation (P < 0.01) and bone resorption (P < 0.05).

Conclusion:

A school-based intervention for adolescent females effectively increased physical activity, cardiovascular fitness, and thoracic spine BMC.

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Genevieve Fridlund Dunton, Margaret Schneider, Dan J. Graham and Dan M. Cooper

Cross-sectional research examined whether physical activity or physical fitness was more closely linked to physical self-concept in adolescent females ages 14 to 17 (N = 103, 63% Caucasian). Moderate physical activity and vigorous physical activity were measured through a 3-day physical activity recall. Physical fitness was assessed using highly accurate measures of peak oxygen consumption (via cycle ergometer) and percent body fat (via dual X-ray absorptiometer). The Physical Self-Description Questionnaire (PSDQ) assessed self-concept in 11 domains (e.g., health, endurance, appearance). Pearson’s correlations showed that vigorous physical activity was positively associated with scores on most of the PSDQ scales (p < .005). Peak oxygen consumption was positively related to all of the selfconcept domains (p < .001), and percent body fat was negatively related on most of the PSDQ scales (p < .005). Multiple-regression analyses found that physical fitness (i.e., peak oxygen consumption and percent body fat) was more closely related to physical self-concept than was physical activity. In addition to the possibility that genetically determined fitness levels may influence physical selfconcept, these findings suggest that programs designed to elevate self-perceptions may require physical activity levels sufficient to improve cardiovascular fitness and decrease body fat.

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Dan J. Graham, Katherine W. Bauer, Sarah Friend, Daheia J. Barr-Anderson and Dianne Nuemark-Sztainer

Background:

Physical activity (PA) declines sharply and rapidly during adolescence, especially among girls, posing a risk for inactivity and obesity in adulthood. This study identified personal, behavioral, and socioenvironmental correlates of concurrent and 6-month longitudinal PA among adolescent girls.

Methods:

Data were gathered from 356 adolescent girls (mean age 15.8 ± 1.2 years; > 75% racial/ethnic minorities) in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area in 2007–2009. Linear regression analyses controlling for age, race/ethnicity, and school were conducted predicting baseline and follow-up levels of total PA and moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) assessed via 3-Day Physical Activity Recall. Models were fit for each correlate individually and for all correlates together, mutually adjusted.

Results:

For concurrent PA, significant positive predictors when adjusting for the influence of all other variables included self-efficacy, support from friends and teachers, and friends’ PA. Total screen time and distance from school to PA resources related inversely to concurrent PA. In mutually-adjusted models, 6-month PA was positively related to self-worth, family support, and parent PA and inversely related to total screen time.

Conclusions:

PA interventions with adolescent girls might be enhanced by involving adolescents’ social networks and also by helping adolescents feel better about their self-worth and athletic abilities.

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Sharon E. Taverno Ross, Nicole Larson, Dan J. Graham and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Background:

This study compared moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behavior in U.S.–born and foreign-born adolescents and young adults, and differences in behavior change from adolescence to young adulthood by nativity.

Methods:

Data on 2039 U.S.–born and 225 foreign-born participants from Project EAT-III (Eating and Activity in Teens and Young Adults) were used to examine MVPA, television/DVD/video viewing, and computer use. Participants completed surveys at baseline in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN secondary school classrooms in 1998–1999 (14.9 ± 1.6 y) and follow-up measures online or by mail in 2008–2009 (25.3 ± 1.6 y).

Results:

At both time points, foreign-born participants reported significantly lower levels of MVPA than their U.S.–born counterparts (P < .05). Foreign-born females at baseline and follow-up and foreign-born males at follow-up reported less television/DVD/video viewing compared with U.S.–born participants (P < .01). All participants experienced a significant decline in MVPA from baseline to follow-up (P < .001). Between-group analyses revealed a significantly greater decline in television/DVDs/video viewing for the foreign-born males compared with U.S.–born males from baseline to follow-up (mean change: foreign-born: –4.8 ± 1.32 hrs/wk, U.S.–born: –0.6 ± 0.6 hrs/wk; P < .01).

Conclusions:

Differences in activity patterns between foreign-born and U.S.–born youth into young adulthood may contribute to disparities in chronic disease risk. Nativity, along with the social, environmental, and cultural context, should be considered when designing programs to promote MVPA and prevent obesity.