The purpose of this study was to determine the amount of physical and sedentary activity normal-weight and at-risk-for/overweight boys perform when alone, with a peer of similar weight and with a peer of different weight. Participants included boys, ages 8–12 years, classified as either normal-weight (<85th BMI percentile; N = 12) or at-risk-for/overweight (<85th BMI percentile; N = 12). At-risk-for/overweight boys allocated a greater amount of time to sedentary activities and accumulated fewer accelerometer counts than normal-weight boys in the alone condition. Once paired with a peer of either similar or different weight there were no differences between groups. These results indicate the presence of an unknown peer has a positive effect on at-risk-for/overweight children’s physical activity behavior.
Rittenhouse and Barkley are with the School of Exercise Leisure and Sport, Kent State University, Kent, OK. Salvy is with the Dept. of Pediatrics, Division of Behavioral Medicine, The State University of New York, University at Buffalo, Buffalo, NY.