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Jun-Hyun Kim, Chanam Lee, Norma E. Olvera and Christopher D. Ellis

Background:

Childhood obesity and its comorbidities have become major public health challenges in the US. While previous studies have investigated the roles of land uses and transportation infrastructure on obesity, limited research has examined the influence of landscape spatial patterns. The purpose of this study was to examine the association between landscape spatial patterns and obesity in Hispanic children.

Methods:

Participants included 61 fourth- and fifth-grade Hispanic children from inner-city neighborhoods in Houston, TX. BMI z-scores were computed based on objectively-measured height and weight from each child. Parental and child surveys provided sociodemographic and physical activity data. Landscape indices were used to measure the quality of landscape spatial patterns surrounding each child’s home by utilizing Geographic Information Systems and remote sensing analyses using aerial photo images.

Results:

After controlling for sociodemographic factors, in the half-mile airline buffer, more tree patches and well-connected landscape patterns were negatively correlated with their BMI z-scores. Furthermore, larger sizes of urban forests and tree patches were negatively associated with children’s BMI z-scores in the half-mile network buffer assessment.

Conclusions:

This study suggests that urban greenery requires further attention in studies aimed at identifying environmental features that reduce childhood obesity.

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Norma Olvera, Kendall E. McCarley, Patrick Leung, Jessica McLeod and Augusto X. Rodriguez

The purpose of this study was to assess physical activity preferences (PAP) in preadolescent children. 191 Latino and White children (M = 11.9, SD = ±0.7) participated. Demographic, anthropometric, and PAP measures were employed. Both Latino and White children reported water play, basketball, and bicycling as their most preferred activities while indoor chores were least preferred. Compared with Latino, White children reported a higher preference for baseball/softball. Exploratory factor analysis of PAP measure indicated a three-factor solution: free play, sports, and exercise. Multiple linear regression models revealed that PAP varied as a function of ethnicity, gender, age, and body mass index.

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Norma Olvera, Dennis W. Smith, Chanam Lee, Jian Liu, Jay Lee, Jun-Hyun Kim and Stephanie F. Kellam

Background:

Parents represent a key ecological component in influencing their child’s physical activity. The aim of this exploratory study was to assess the relationship between maternal acculturation and physical activity in Hispanic children.

Methods:

102 Hispanic mothers (mean age 36.2 yrs; +SD 7.3 yrs) and their children (mean age 10.0 yrs, +SD 0.8 yrs) participated. Most of the mothers (74%) were foreign-born, with 62% classified as low acculturated and 38% high acculturated. Demographic, acculturation, and anthropometric measures were completed by mothers and children. Physical activity was measured using accelerometers. Relationships between maternal acculturation and demographic variables and children’s physical activity were examined using chi-square, Analysis of Variance, and simple regression.

Results:

Children had higher physical activity levels than their mothers (t(49) = −7.87, P < .0001). Significant correlations between maternal and child’s physical activity levels were observed in moderate (r 2 = 0.13, P = .001), vigorous (r 2 = 0.08, P = .05), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (r 2 = 0.17, P = .002). Low acculturated mothers were more likely to have active children compared with high acculturated mothers. Maternal BMI and other demographic characteristics were not significantly associated with child’s physical activity.

Conclusions:

Findings from this study revealed an association among maternal acculturation, role modeling, and child’s physical activity.