Socioeconomic status, race, and body mass index: The mediating role of physical activity and sedentary behaviors during adolescence

Margaret D. Hanson*, Edith Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To assess how sociodemographic and activity behaviors contribute to adolescent body mass index (BMI). Methods: One hundred and thirteen adolescents (M = 17 years; 42% Caucasian, 56% African American) were assessed on BMI. Teens reported activity levels and caregivers reported socioeconomic status (SES). Results: Adolescents from lower SES backgrounds, and from minority groups, had higher BMI (r = -.26, p < .01 and t(110) = -3.01, p < .01). Formal statistical mediation tests revealed that sedentary behaviors significantly mediated the association between SES and BMI (Z = 2.31, p < .05), whereas physical activity significantly mediated the race-BMI association (Z = 2.32, p < .05). Conclusions: Interventions targeting teen BMI could benefit by aiming to decrease sedentary behavior in low SES teens and increase physical activity in teens from minority groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)250-259
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of pediatric psychology
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2007

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • BMI
  • Physical activity
  • Sedentary behaviors
  • Sociodemographics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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