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Jeanette M. Garcia, Sean Healy and David Rice

Background:

The aim of this study was to use a social-ecological approach to examine the influence of individual, social, and environmental factors on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and screen-time in a sample of 9-year-old children in Ireland.

Methods:

The sample was 1509 boys and girls from the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) national study. MVPA, screen time, and individual, social, and environmental variables were assessed via questionnaires completed by children, their parents, and their teachers. Multiple regression was used to identify factors that correlated with children’s MVPA and screen-time levels.

Results:

For boys, factors such as activity with friends (P < .0001) and popularity (P < .01) were associated with MVPA, while factors such as BMI (P < .01) and MVPA (P < .01) were associated with screen time. Similarly for girls, factors such as activity with friends (P < .0001) and sociability were associated with MVPA, however factors such as BMI (P < .05), and access to play space (P < .05) were more closely associated with screen time.

Conclusion:

Social factors were more closely associated with MVPA, while individual factors were significantly correlated with screen time for both boys and girls. Correlates differed for boys and girls, suggesting that interventions should consider both the target population as well as the activity behavior.

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Kayla M. Baker, Sean Healy, David J. Rice and Jeanette M. Garcia

Background: To examine the associations and differences between gender and weight classification for physical activity (PA) and individual, social, and parental factors. Methods: Data from wave 2 of the “Growing up in Ireland” national study were used, resulting in a sample of 7525 13-year-old adolescents. Information on factors affecting adolescents’ social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development was collected. Results: Overweight (OW) adolescents were more likely to exercise and restrict food for weight loss and less likely to perform moderate to vigorous PA than normal weight adolescents. Parent body mass index was associated with adolescent body mass index for OW and normal weight adolescents, with the strongest association seen with OW females. Parents of OW adolescents considered themselves to be more OW and less physically active than parents of normal weight adolescents. Furthermore, for all groups, a greater amount of moderate to vigorous PA was associated with less television viewing, greater PA of parents, and a greater number of friends. Conclusion: Parental health behaviors play a significant role in adolescents’ bodyweight, representing the necessity for more constructive health behaviors and PA among parents. Future interventions may be strengthened by focusing specifically on gender and body mass index, while taking into consideration the importance of parental behaviors on adolescents.

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Jeanette M. Garcia, John R. Sirard, Ross Larsen, Meg Bruening, Melanie Wall and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Objective:

The purpose of this study was to examine, using structural equation modeling, the associations between nominated friend physical activity (PA), friend social support with individual PA-related psychological factors, and adolescent PA.

Methods:

Data were obtained from EAT 2010 (Eating and Activity Among Teens), a large cross-sectional study conducted in 20 middle and high schools. The sample consisted of 1951 adolescents (mean age: 14.25 ± 1.96, 54% female, 68% ethnic minorities). PA, parent and friend social support (perceived social support for PA from parents and friends), and psychological measures (PA enjoyment, PA self-efficacy, and PA barriers) were assessed by self-report questionnaires. The SEM analysis consisted of 1 observed variable: friend PA, and 2 latent constructs: psychological factors, perceived social support.

Results:

The model was a good fit, indicating that there were significant direct effects of both friend PA (P < .01) and psychological factors (P < .0001) on adolescent PA. In addition, psychological factors mediated the association between friend PA and adolescent PA.

Conclusion:

The results of this model suggest that psychological factors and friend PA are associated with adolescent PA, and that psychological factors may play an important role. Future studies should further examine the association of both friend PA and psychological variables with adolescent PA.

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Jeanette M. Garcia, Alen Agaronov, John R. Sirard, Diane Whaley, David J. Rice and Arthur Weltman

Background:

Sedentary behavior (SB) increases throughout adolescence, and is associated with adverse health outcomes.

Purpose:

Examine psychosocial and friend influences on SB and screen time in adolescents using a mixed-methods design.

Methods:

108 middle and high school students wore accelerometers to measure objective SB, completed screen time and psychosocial questionnaires, and nominated friends to complete activity questionnaires. Focus groups centered around influences on SB behavior. Regression analyses and NVivo software analyzed quantitative and qualitative data.

Results:

Screen time was associated with greater screen time enjoyment, lower self-efficacy, and friends’ screen time (r 2 = .21, P < .0001). Friends influenced whether adolescents engaged in screen time behaviors, with active friends encouraging less screen time.

Conclusion:

Active friends influenced adolescents to engage in less SB. Interventions should place an emphasis on encouraging less screen time, and providing opportunities for adolescents and their friends to engage in activities that promote physical activity rather than SB.