Obesity is a critical problem among Mexican youth, but few studies have investigated associations among physical activity (PA) modes and anthropometrics in this population. This study examined associations among active commuting to school (ACS), sports or other organized PA, outdoor play, and body mass index (BMI) percentile and waist circumference (WC) among Mexican youth.
Parents of school children (N = 1996, ages 6 to 14 years, 53.1% female) in 3 Mexican cities reported PA participation using the (modified) fourth grade School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey. Trained assessors measured BMI percentile and WC in person.
Parents reported that 52.3% of children engaged in ACS, 57.3% participated in sports or organized PA, and a median of 2 days in the previous week with at least 30 minutes of outdoor play. In complete case analyses (n = 857), ACS was negatively associated with BMI percentile, and outdoor play was negatively associated with WC after adjusting for school, age, sex, and income. In analyses incorporating data from multiple imputation (N = 1996), outdoor play was negatively associated with WC (all Ps < . 05).
ACS and outdoor play are favorably associated with anthropometrics and may help prevent childhood obesity in Mexico. ACS and outdoor play should be priorities for increasing youth PA in Mexico.