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Larkin L. Strong, Cheryl B. Anderson, Patricia Y. Miranda, Melissa L. Bondy, Renke Zhou, Carol Etzel, Margaret Spitz and Anna V. Wilkinson

Background:

Understanding the factors that contribute to physical activity (PA) in Mexican-origin adolescents is essential to the design of effective efforts to enhance PA participation in this population.

Methods:

Multivariable logistic regression was used to identify sociodemographic and behavioral correlates of self-reported PA in school and community settings in 1154 Mexican-origin adolescents aged 12–17 years in Houston, TX.

Results:

The majority of adolescents were born in the US (74%), approximately half (51%) were overweight or obese, and nearly three-quarters (73%) watched more than 2 hours of weekday television. Similarities and differences by setting and gender were observed in the relationships between sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics and PA. In boys, parental education and attending physical education (PE) were positively associated with PA across multiple PA outcomes. Adolescent linguistic acculturation was inversely associated with participation in community sports, whereas parental linguistic acculturation was positively associated with PA at school. In girls, PA in school and community settings was inversely associated with TV viewing and positively associated with PE participation.

Conclusions:

These findings highlight similarities and differences in correlates of PA among boys and girls, and point toward potential sources of opportunities as well as disparities for PA behaviors in Mexican-origin adolescents.

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Jennifer G. Walker, Kelly R. Evenson, William J. Davis, Philip Bors and Daniel A. Rodríguez

Background:

This comparative case study investigates 2 successful community trail initiatives, using the Active Living By Design (ALBD) Community Action Model as an analytical framework. The model includes 5 strategies: preparation, promotion, programs, policy, and physical projects.

Methods:

Key stakeholders at 2 sites participated in in-depth interviews (N = 14). Data were analyzed for content using Atlas Ti and grouped according to the 5 strategies.

Results:

Preparation: Securing trail resources was challenging, but shared responsibilities facilitated trail development. Promotions: The initiatives demonstrated minimal physical activity encouragement strategies. Programs: Community stakeholders did not coordinate programmatic opportunities for routine physical activity. Policy: Trails’ inclusion in regional greenway master plans contributed to trail funding and development. Policies that were formally institutionalized and enforced led to more consistent trail construction and safer conditions for users. Physical Projects: Consistent standards for wayfinding signage and design safety features enhanced trail usability and safety.

Conclusions:

Communities with different levels of government support contributed unique lessons to inform best practices of trail initiatives. This study revealed a disparity between trail development and use-encouragement strategies, which may limit trails’ impact on physical activity. The ALBD Community Action Model provided a viable framework to structure cross-disciplinary community trail initiatives.

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David Kahan and Virginie Nicaise

Background:

Curriculum interventions aimed at increasing physical activity in schools may prove useful in contexts where changes in policy/environment are not feasible. Design/evaluation of interventions targeting minority groups is important in light of well-publicized health disparities. Religious minorities represent a special subset that may positively respond to interventions tailored to their unique beliefs, which to date have been relatively underreported.

Methods:

Muslim American youth (n = 45) attending a parochial middle school participated in a religiously- and culturally-tailored 8-wk, interdisciplinary pedometer intervention. School-time ambulatory activity was quantified using a delayed multiple-baseline across subjects ABA design. Visual analysis of graphic data as well as repeated-measures ANOVA and ANCOVA and post hoc contrasts were used to analyze step counts including the moderating effects of day type (PE, no-PE), gender, BMI classification, grade, and time.

Results:

The intervention elicited modest increases in males’ steps only with effect decay beginning midintervention. BMI classification and grade were not associated with changes in steps.

Conclusions:

Full curricular integration by affected classroom teachers, staff modeling of PA behavior, and alternative curriculum for girls’ PE classes may further potentiate the intervention.

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Michael B. Edwards and George Cunningham

Background:

Racial health disparities are more pronounced among older adults. Few studies have examined how racism influences health behaviors. This study’s purpose was to examine how opportunities for physical activity (PA) and community racism are associated with older racial minorities’ reported engagement in PA. We also investigated how PA levels influenced health.

Methods:

We analyzed survey data obtained from a health assessment conducted in 3360 households in Texas, USA, which included items pertaining to PA, community characteristics, and health.

Results:

Our sample contained 195 women and 85 men (mean age 70.16), most of whom were African American. We found no direct relationship between opportunities and PA. Results suggested that perceived community racism moderated this association. When community racism was low, respondents found ways to be active whether they perceived opportunities or not. When community racism was high, perceived lack of opportunities significantly impeded PA engagement. We found the expected association between PA and health.

Conclusions:

Results suggested that negative effects of community racism were counteracted through increased opportunities for PA.

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Deanna M. Hoelscher, Cristina Barroso, Andrew Springer, Brian Castrucci and Steven H. Kelder

Background:

Few studies have compared physical activity (PA) and sedentary activity (SA) by grade and ethnicity, specifically including elementary school students. A cross-sectional probability-based design was used to provide data by ethnicity (African American, Hispanic, and White/Other), gender, and grade (4th, 8th, and 11th) from 2000 to 2002.

Methods:

Two validated questionnaires (elementary and secondary) assessed self-reported PA and SA. Point-prevalence estimates and 95% confidence intervals were computed.

Results:

Over 70% of students reported vigorous PA on ≥3 days/week, but <50% participated in daily physical education. A significant percentage (30% to 50%) of students reported ≥3 hours per day in SA. Fourth-grade boys and girls reported equal PA; however, 8th and 11th grade girls reported lowered vigorous PA. African American 8th- and 11th-grade boys reported the highest PA, but African American children also reported the highest prevalence of SA.

Conclusions:

Findings from this study highlight the disparities in physical and sedentary activities by gender, grade, and race/ethnicity, and the need to address these differences with programs and policy. In general, grade level and gender differences were more striking and consistent than racial/ethnic differences.

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Susan G. Zieff, Claudia M. Guedes and Amy Eyler

Background:

Neighborhood environment and resources affect physical activity. This study examined the relationships between San Francisco residents’ perceived barriers to physical activity and policy-maker perspectives of conditions in neighborhoods that are under-served for physical activity.

Methods:

Nine focus groups comprised of primarily African American, Chinese American, and Latino populations were constructed from 6 low-income neighborhoods to respond to questions based on the social-ecological model about neighborhood recreational opportunities and to offer policy and intervention strategies to increase physical activity. A tenth focus group was conducted with staff members from 7 city departments to respond to neighborhood focus groups outcomes. The transcribed videotaped discussions were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results:

Both residents and policy-makers highlighted neighborhood disparities that reduce physical activity including unsafe and unhealthy environments and difficulty accessing available resources. Residents reported fewer available free or low-cost resources than those identified by policy-makers.

Conclusions:

Findings suggest that policy-makers would benefit from consideration of neighborhood-level affects of policies on physical activity and local residents’ recommendations for policies affecting physical activity. Concordance between residents’ perceptions and policy-maker perceptions of neighborhood conditions for physical activity was greater than reported in previous literature.

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Hyo Lee, Bradley J. Cardinal and Paul D. Loprinzi

Background:

Socioeconomic status (SES) and acculturation are potential contributors of adolescent physical activity disparity among ethnic groups in the U.S. However, studies relying on self-report physical activity measures have reported inconsistent findings regarding sociocultural predictors of physical activity. Therefore, the current study examined the main and interactive effects of SES and acculturation on accelerometer-measured moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) among Mexican American adolescents.

Methods:

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2003–2004 was analyzed. Samples of 153 and 169 Mexican American boys and girls, respectively, were analyzed. SES was indicated by poverty-to-income ratio (PIR); and acculturation was measured by 5-item English preference scales and adolescent and parental country of birth. Regression models were tested separately for boys and girls.

Results:

U.S.-born boys compared with immigrants did more MVPA (β = .48, P < .01). On the contrary, the effect of English preference on MVPA in boys was negative (β = –.05, P < .01) and amplified by higher SES (β = –.02, P < .01). For girls, none of the tested variables were significant.

Conclusions:

Higher SES was a risk factor for physical inactivity in Mexican American adolescents, by a moderating mechanism. In addition, physical activity promotion efforts need to consider English speaking and immigrant Mexican American adolescent boys as a target population.

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Christopher A. Miller, Alan H. Feiveson and Jacob J. Bloomberg

Gait kinematics have been shown to vary with speed and visual-target fixation distance, but their combined effects on toe trajectory during treadmill walking are not known. The purpose of this investigation was to determine the role of walking speed and target distance on vertical toe trajectory during treadmill walking. Subjects walked on a treadmill at five speeds while performing a dynamic visual-acuity task at both “far” and “near” target distances (ten trials total). The analysis concentrated on three specific toe trajectory events during swing: the first peak toe height just after toe-off; the minimum toe height (toe clearance), and the second peak toe height just before heel strike. With increasing speed, toe clearance decreased and the peak toe height just before heel strike increased. Only the peak toe height just after toe-off was significantly changed between the near-target and far-target tasks, though the difference was small. Therefore, walking speed and visual-fixation distance cannot be neglected in the analysis of toe trajectory. Otherwise, differences observed between populations may be attributed to age- or clinically related factors, instead of disparities of speed or target-fixation distance.

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David W. Brock, Olivia Thomas, Charles D. Cowan, David B. Allison, Glenn A. Gaesser and Gary R. Hunter

Background:

Numerous public health organizations have adopted national physical activity recommendations. Despite these recommendations, over half of the US population does not meet the minimum recommendation for physical activity, with large variations across individual US states.

Methods:

Using the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) prevalence data for physical activity and obesity by state, we performed a weighted least squares regression using prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) as the dependent variable and insufficiently physically active (included completely sedentary), age, race, gender, and median household income as the independent variables.

Results:

The unadjusted weighted least squares regression revealed a strong correlation between a state’s prevalence of obesity and the prevalence of insufficiently physically active (R = .76, R 2 = .58, P < .0001). After adjusting for age, gender, race, and median household income, the prevalence of insufficiently physically active is still a significant predictor of the state prevalence of obesity (partial R = .44, R 2 = .19 P = .004).

Conclusion:

Macroenvironmental and sociopolitical disparities between individual US states that transcend simple state-level demographic factors need to be examined more rigorously to identify unique barriers and promoters of physical activity.

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Esther Rind and Andy Jones

Background:

At the population level, the prevalence of physical activity has declined considerably in many developed countries in recent decades. There is some evidence that areas exhibiting the lowest activity levels are those which have undergone a particularly strong transition away from employment in physically demanding occupations. We propose that processes of deindustrialization may be causally linked to unexplained geographical disparities in levels of physical activity. While the sociocultural correlates of physical activity have been well studied, and prior conceptual frameworks have been developed to explain more general patterns of activity, none have explicitly attempted to identify the components of industrial change that may impact physical activity.

Methods:

In this work we review the current literature on sociocultural correlates of health behaviors before using a case study centered on the United Kingdom to present a novel framework that links industrial change to declining levels of physical activity.

Results:

We developed a comprehensive model linking sociocultural correlates of physical activity to processes associated with industrial restructuring and discuss implication for policy and practice.

Conclusions:

A better understanding of sociocultural processes may help to ameliorate adverse health consequences of employment decline in communities that have experienced substantial losses of manual employment.