Social support is an important factor in increasing positive health outcomes and positive health behaviors across a variety of disease states including obesity. However, research examining the relationship between social support for exercise and weight and physical activity status, particularly among Latino men, is lacking. This paper examined whether social support for exercise predicted weight and physical activity status and whether the direction of these relationships differ as a function of Hispanic/Latino background (Puerto Rican/Mexican). Participants were 203 men who participated in a National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded study addressing culture- and obesity-related variables. Both family participation social support and family rewards and punishment social support predicted higher weight status (p <.005 and p <.05, respectively). Friend participation social support did not predict weight status. The direction of the relationship between weight status and family participation social support, family rewards and punishment social support, and friend participation social support did not significantly differ as a function of Hispanic/Latino background. The direction of the relationship between physical activity status and family participation social support, family rewards and punishment social support, and friend participation social support did not significantly differ as a function of Hispanic/Latino background. Findings suggest that increased social support for exercise from family members may be focused on those who need it most—overweight and obese participants. Additional research is needed to explore sociocultural factors that may promote social support, physical activity, and weight loss and maintenance in Puerto Rican and Mexican men.
- social support
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health