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Differences in Types of Physical Activity Among Middle School Girls by Race/Ethnicity and Weight Status: 9228:30 AM – 8:45 AM

Kuo, JoAnn; Bedimo-Rung, Ariane L.; Evenson, Kelly R. FACSM; Gittelsohn, Joel; Jobe, Jared B.; McKenzie, Thomas L. FACSM; Pate, Russell R. FACSM; Schmitz, Kathryn H. FACSM; Young, Deborah R. FACSM

Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise: May 2006 - Volume 38 - Issue 5 - p S81
Presidential Closing Remarks 12:05 PM – 12:15 PM: Immediately Following President's Lectures ROOM: Ballroom 2/3 and Ballroom 1: E-15 Free Communication/Slide – Children: Physical Activity and Health: FRIDAY, JUNE 2, 2006 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM ROOM: 301

1University of Maryland, CollegePark, MD.

2Louisiana State University School of Public Health, New Orleans, LA.

3University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.

4Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.

5National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, MD.

6San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.

7University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC.

8University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA.


Adolescent girls tend to become less active during middle school years. Understanding which activities appeal to girls can be used to develop effective physical activity programs. Further, understanding differences in the most common activities across girls of different race/ethnicity and weight status may help identify intervention opportunities targeted to subgroups of girls.

PURPOSE: To describe the most frequently reported moderate and vigorous physical activities among a sample of middle school girls from six states, overall and by race/ ethnicity and weight status.

METHODS: Participants at baseline were 1,925 sixth grade girls in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG). They completed a 3-day physical activity recall (3DPAR) in Spring 2003, reporting the main activity they performed during 30-minute intervals from a list of activities. They also rated activity intensity. Intensity categories for each activity were assigned MET scores based on values identified in the literature. Moderate intensity was denned as 3 to 5.9 METS, and vigorous intensity was 6 or more METS. Participants self-reported their race/ethnicity. Weight and height were measured by trained staff, and weight status (i.e., normal weight, at risk for overweight, and overweight) was determined using the 85th and 95th percentiles for 11.5 year old girls from the CDC growth chart tables.

RESULTS: White girls comprised nearly half of participants, and Black and Hispanic girls each comprised about 20%. Almost two-thirds of participants were normal weight. The most frequently reported moderate activities among all girls were household chores (30%), dance (25%), traveling by walking (25%), playing with younger children (20%), and walking for exercise (18%). These were similar across race/ethnic groups and across weight status, although the percentages and rankings varied slightly. The most frequently reported vigorous activities among all girls were running/jogging (18%) and basketball (18%). These were similar across race/ethnic groups. Running/jogging was not common among overweight girls (<2%), but roller blading/ice skating was (19%).

CONCLUSIONS: In a large sample of adolescent girls, the most common activities tended to be similar among girls of different race/ethnicity. Differences observed by weight status point to additional vigorous activities, such as roller blading, that may be important to include in intervention programs targeting overweight girls. Supported by grants from NIH/NHLBI (#U01HL-66845, HL-66852, HL-66853, HL-66855, HL-66856, HL-66857, and HL-66858).

© 2006 American College of Sports Medicine