Existing racial/ethnic disparities in physical activity during childhood increase Hispanics’ risk of developing chronic diseases, which serves to increase health disparities. This study examined associations of family cohesion and conflict with self-reported moderate-tovigorous physical activity (MVPA), controlling for psychosocial covariates such as subjective social status, anxiety, and sensation-seeking.
1000 Mexican origin adolescents reported their MVPA levels approximately 2 years apart. Psychosocial covariates, family cohesion and conflict were measured at the first assessment. Generalized Linear Models were used to prospectively examine the relationship between family cohesion and conflict and subsequent MVPA based on 711 participants who had low levels of baseline MVPA.
35% of boys and 24% of girls reported adequate MVPA levels at follow-up; girls were less likely to report adequate MVPA (RR = 0.76; 95% CI: 0.61–0.93) than boys. Overall, family cohesion was associated with MVPA (P = .01), but family cohesion was not (P = .41). Gender-based analyses revealed that adequate MVPA was associated with family cohesion (RR = 1.40; 95% CI: 1.03–1.88), sensation seeking (RR = 1.05; 95% CI: 1.00–1.10), and age (RR = 0.85; 95% CI: 0.74–0.98) among girls and with subjective social status (RR = 1.20; 95% CI: 1.08–1.33) among boys.
The family social environment and gender differences should be addressed in health promotion programs targeting MVPA.