Ethnic differences in physical activity and inactivity patterns and overweight status

Obes Res. 2002 Mar;10(3):141-9. doi: 10.1038/oby.2002.23.


Objective: To examine the relationship between physical activity and inactivity patterns and overweight in U.S. adolescents using baseline and 1-year change in activity and inactivity data.

Research methods and procedures: Nationally representative data from 12,759 participants (6997 non-Hispanic whites, 2676 non-Hispanic blacks, 2185 Hispanics, and 901 Asians) in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (1995 and 1996). Data on moderate to vigorous and low-intensity physical activity, TV/video viewing, and video game/computer use were obtained from questionnaires. Multivariate models assessed the association of overweight (body mass index > or = 95th percentile Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/National Center for Health Statistics 2000 curves) with initial (and 1-year change) activity and inactivity levels, controlling for age, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, urban residence, cigarette smoking, and region of residence.

Results: Overweight prevalence was positively associated with high level TV/video viewing among white boys (odds ratio [OR] = 1.52; 95% confidence interval [1.08 to 2.14]) and girls (OR = 2.45 [1.51 to 3.97]). The odds of overweight decreased with high levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity among white boys (OR = 0.81 [0.76 to 0.87]), non-Hispanic black boys (OR = 0.86 [0.76 to 0.98]) and girls (OR = 0.88 [0.78 to 0.99]), and Hispanic boys (OR = 0.90 [0.83 to 0.97]) and girls (OR = 0.91 [0.84 to 0.99]).

Discussion: Predicted probabilities generated from the logistic regression models, which examined the experimental effects of altering hours of TV/video viewing and bouts of moderate to vigorous physical activity, show lower overweight among adolescents who watched less TV per week combined with frequent moderate to vigorous physical activity than those who watched more TV per week combined with fewer bouts of weekly moderate to vigorous physical activity. Predicted probabilities suggest important sex and ethnic differences in these associations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • African Americans
  • Asian Americans
  • Child
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Obesity / ethnology*
  • Prevalence
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Television
  • Video Games
  • Whites