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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2006 Jan;14(1):97-105.

Physical activity correlates in adolescent girls who differ by weight status.

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Department of Nutrition, CB #7461, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.



This study compared correlates of physical activity (PA) among African-American and white girls of different weight groups to guide future interventions.


Participants were 1015 girls (mean age, 14.6 years; 45% African-American) from 12 high schools in South Carolina who served as control subjects for a school-based intervention. Post-intervention measures obtained at the end of ninth grade were used. PA was measured using the Three-Day PA Recall, and a questionnaire measured social-cognitive and environmental variables thought to mediate PA. Height and weight were measured, and BMI was calculated. Girls were stratified by race and categorized into three groups, based on BMI percentiles for girls from CDC growth charts: normal (BMI < 85th percentile), at risk (BMI, 85th to 94th percentile), and overweight (BMI > or = 95th percentile). Girls were further divided into active and low-active groups, based on a vigorous PA standard (average of one or more 30-minute blocks per day per 3-day period). Mixed-model ANOVA was used to compare factors among groups, treating school as a random effect


None of the social-cognitive or environmental variables differed by weight status for African-American or white girls. Perceived behavioral control and sports team participation were significantly higher in girls who were more active, regardless of weight or race group. In general, social-cognitive variables seem to be more related to activity in white girls, whereas environmental factors seem more related to activity in African-American girls.


PA interventions should be tailored to the unique needs of girls based on PA levels and race, rather than on weight status alone.

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