Environmental influences, physical activity, and weight status in 8- to 16-year-olds

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2001 Jun;155(6):711-7. doi: 10.1001/archpedi.155.6.711.


Objective: To assess the association between vigorous physical activity, participation on sport teams and in exercise programs, television watching, family environment, and weight status in youth.

Design: Cross-sectional data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Participants: A group of 2791 youth between the ages of 8 and 16 years who were enrolled in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Main outcome measures: Overweight was defined using age- and sex-specific 85th percentile of body mass index using Center for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts.

Results: Both males and females who had an overweight mother and or father were more likely to be overweight compared with youth who did not have an overweight parent. Females who watched 4 or more hours of television were more likely to be overweight than those who watched less than 4 hours. Males and 14- to 16-year-old females who participated in sport team and exercise programs were less likely to be overweight than their counterparts who did not participate. Also, females with larger families and males from families with higher family incomes were less likely to be overweight.

Conclusions: These results suggest that family environment is associated with overweight in youth and that sport and exercise program participants are less like to be overweight and that, for females, increased television watching is related to overweight.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Demography
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Skinfold Thickness
  • Television
  • United States / epidemiology