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  • Author: Jason A. Mendoza x
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Jason A. Mendoza, David Cowan and Yan Liu

Background:

Few reports examined long term predictors of children’s active commuting to school (walking or cycling to school, ACS).

Purpose:

To identify predictors of ACS over 1 school year among a sample of children with relatively high rates of ACS.

Methods:

Parents were surveyed in September 2010 (Time 1) and April 2011 (Time 2). The dependent variable was children’s commuting mode to school (active versus passive). Independent variables included: 1) parents’ outcome expectations (from Social Cognitive Theory: the expected risks/benefits for their child doing ACS), 2) distance to school, 3) participation in an adult-led walk to school group, 4) temperature, and 5) child demographics. Generalized mixed-models estimated odds ratios for ACS (n = 369 or 49.7% of Time 1 respondents).

Results:

Males (OR = 2.59, 95% CI [1.57–4.30]), adult-led walk to school group participation (OR = 1.80, 95% CI [1.14–2.86]), parents’ outcome expectations (OR = 1.26, 95% CI [1.14–1.39]), temperature (OR = 1.03, 95% CI [1.01–1.07), distance to school (OR = 0.23, 95% CI [0.14–0.37]), and Latino ethnicity (OR = 0.28, 95% CI [0.12–0.65]) were associated with ACS.

Conclusions:

Programs and policies sensitive to parents’ concerns (eg, adult-led walk to school groups) and targeting Latinos and girls appear promising for increasing ACS.

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Elizabeth E. Dawson-Hahn, Megan D. Fesinmeyer and Jason A. Mendoza

Background:

Physical activity is associated with long-term benefits for health and tracks from early childhood into later adolescence. Limited information exists about factors influencing physical activity among Latino preschoolers. We aimed to identify correlates of objectively measured light-to-vigorous-intensity physical activity as a proportion of wear time (% PA) in Latino 3–5 year olds.

Methods:

Latino preschoolers (n = 96) were recruited from Head Start centers in Houston, TX, USA, from 2009 to 2010. Sociodemographics, anthropometrics, acculturation, neighborhood disorder, and TV viewing were measured. Actigraph GT1M accelerometers measured physical activity. Block linear regression was used with % PA as the dependent variable.

Results:

Children achieved 285.7 ± 58.0 min/day of PA. In the final adjusted-model, child age, parental education and neighborhood disorder were positively associated with % PA (beta = 0.33, p = .002; beta = 0.25, p = .038; beta = 0.22, p = .039, respectively). TV viewing was inversely associated with % PA (beta=-0.23, p = .027).

Conclusion:

The majority of Latino preschoolers in our study exceeded US national and international guidelines of physical activity duration. Future interventions to sustain physical activity should focus on the influence of age, socioeconomic status, neighborhood disorder, and TV viewing on Latino preschoolers’ attainment of physical activity.

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Jason A. Mendoza, Jessica McLeod, Tzu-An Chen, Theresa A. Nicklas and Tom Baranowski

Background:

Childhood obesity is at record high levels in the US and disproportionately affects Latino children; however, studies examining Latino preschool children’s obesity-related risk factors are sparse. This study determined correlates of Latino preschoolers’ (ages 3–5 years) adiposity to inform future obesity interventions and policies.

Methods:

Latino preschoolers (n = 96) from 4 Head Start centers in Houston, Texas were recruited. Parents reported acculturation and neighborhood safety. Children’s and parents’ height and weight were measured. Children’s television (TV) viewing was measured by TV diaries and physical activity by accelerometers. Linear regression was used with body mass index (BMI) z-score as the dependent variable and covariates sequentially added and retained in 4 blocks: 1) child age, gender, parent education, and BMI; 2) neighborhood safety and parent and child acculturation; 3) TV viewing; and 4) moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Results:

In the final model (n = 96), only neighborhood disorder (β = 0.30, P = .005) and MVPA (β = –0.21, P = .049) were significantly associated with BMI z-score.

Conclusions:

Among Latino preschoolers, higher neighborhood disorder and lower MVPA were associated with greater children’s BMI z-scores.

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Jason A. Mendoza, Kathy Watson, Nga Nguyen, Ester Cerin, Tom Baranowski and Theresa A. Nicklas

Background:

Walking or bicycling to school (ie, active commuting) has shown promise for improving physical activity and preventing obesity in youth. Our objectives were to examine, among US youth, whether active commuting was inversely associated with adiposity and positively associated with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). We also examined whether MVPA mediated the relationships between active commuting and adiposity.

Methods:

Using data of participants aged 12 to 19 years from the US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003 to 2004 (n = 789 unweighted), we constructed multiple linear regression models that controlled for dietary energy intake and sociodemographics. The main exposure variable was active commuting. The outcomes were BMI z-score, waist circumference, skinfolds and objectively measured MVPA. The product-of-coefficients method was used to test for mediation.

Results:

Active commuting was inversely associated with BMI z-score (β = −0.07, P = .046) and skinfolds (β = −0.06, P = .029), and positively associated with overall daily (β = 0.12, P = .024) and before- and after-school (β = 0.20, P < .001) MVPA. Greater before- and after-school MVPA explained part of the relationship between active commuting and waist circumference (Sobel z = −1.98, P = .048).

Conclusions:

Active commuting was associated with greater MVPA and lower measures of adiposity among US youth. Before- and after-school MVPA mediated the relationships between active commuting and waist circumference.

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Katie Teller, Mark Abbey-Lambertz, Nasira Sharma, Alan Waite, Scott Ickes and Jason A. Mendoza

Background: The walking school bus (WSB) is a promising intervention to increase walking to school and physical activity in school-age children. The aim of this qualitative study was to assess parent perceptions of a WSB program that was part of a randomized controlled trial to inform future programs. Methods: The authors interviewed 45 parents whose children had participated in a WSB program in the Seattle area, in which third- and fifth-grade students walked to/from school with adult chaperones along a set route. The authors performed a qualitative analysis of the interview transcripts and coded interview segments into 4 broad categories as follows: facilitators, barriers, general positive sentiments, and proposals. Results: Most parents spoke of the benefits of the WSB program; in particular, parents frequently applauded exercise/physical health benefits. Of the barriers, the most frequently cited was time, with work schedule and commute changes leading some families to walk less frequently. Conclusions: Most parents voiced support for the WSB program as a means to improve child health, to learn pedestrian safety, and to interact with positive adult role models. Parents made several suggestions to improve the program, including better recruitment methods, logistical improvements, and a platform for communicating with other parents.