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Am J Prev Med. 1997 Mar-Apr;13(2):115-22.

Determinants of physical activity among female adolescents.

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Department of Kinesiology, Health Promotion and Recreation, University of North Texas, Denton 76203-6857, USA.



Women, and particularly African-American women, may be less physically active than what is ideal. Knowledge of factors that influence physical activity is valuable information to those planning and administering exercise promoting interventions.


The associations of 25 variables with current global physical activity were assessed via regression analysis. Eight hundred and fifty-two young women, 14-18 years of age, were sampled. Each completed a 7-day recall of physical activity and an 83-item survey. The sample was further subdivided by ethnic group, and then ethnic group and age to ascertain whether determinants of physical activity differ across these groups.


Ethnic group (Caucasians more active) and age (younger more active) were significant influences on physical activity. Overall, nurture from biological fathers and participation in organized sports associated with physical activity. Viewing two or more hours of television per night negatively influenced physical activity. Among African-American girls (n = 626), participation in organized sports, friend support, and nurture from biological fathers significantly associated with physical activity. However, following sports through the media negatively influenced physical activity. Among Caucasians (n = 226), attitudes were the sole significant correlate of physical activity.


Those planning interventions targeting female adolescents should consider employing distinct strategies for specific ethnic group and age subgroups. Opportunities for physicians to have an impact on the physical activity of female adolescents includes using their community standing to influence school policies and to counsel female patients individually during office visits.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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