Abstract P083: Friends Participating in Physical Activity with Obese Youth is Associated with Lower Perceived Barriers to Physical Activity and More Time Spent in Physical Activity
Background: Physical activity is an important component of pediatric comprehensive weight management programs (CWMP), but little is known about children and adolescents’ views of parental/friend support for physical activity, or perceived benefits or barriers to physical activity. We hypothesized that high family or friend support for physical activity would be related to higher perceived benefits and lower perceived barriers to physical activity.
Methods: Children and adolescents were recruited at their initial CWMP clinic visit to participate in the Biorepository of Environment, Activity and Nutrition to Prevent Obesity-related Disorders (BEANPOD) study. Participants and parents provided written informed consent/assent. Those over age 6 completed questionnaires rating their agreement on a 5-point scale with 10 potential benefits and 15 potential barriers to physical activity (PA), and recoded into low, medium and high categories. Participants also reported on the perceived extent (low, medium, high) of family/friend participation, offering and encouragement with regard to PA, and the amount of time spent in sports activities per week.
Results: One hundred four children and adolescents (74% female, median 12.5 yrs, 47% white) answered questions about PA benefits and barriers. Almost all benefits were perceived as high by most children and adolescents, with adolescents (> age 12) more likely than children to endorse the benefits of reducing boredom (p=0.04) and combatting disease (p=0.01). The most commonly cited high barriers were “self-consciousness” (29%), “lack of enjoyment” (22%), “lack of self-discipline” (21%), “lack of energy” (21%), and “poor health” (22%). Adolescents were more likely to report higher barriers due to lack of time (p=0.03), lack of enjoyment (p=0.05), and fear of injury (p=0.03), and less likely to report barriers due to lack of knowledge (p=0.005) than children under 12. Family encouragement was high (78% reporting), but family and friend offering to or doing physical activity with the participants was less common (36-48% reporting). Friends doing PA with the participant was associated with many lower perceived barriers, including lack of interest (p=0.01), energy (p=0.01), enjoyment (p=0.005), equipment (p=0.003), skill (p<0.0001), health (p=0.05) and knowledge (p=0.03), adjusting for participant age, while family participation and family/friend encouragement/offers did not. Friends doing PA with the participant also increased reported time spent in PA (p=0.005).
Conclusions: Children and adolescents entering a pediatric comprehensive weight management program typically see the benefits of physical activity, but also many barriers. While many report family encouraging them to engage in physical activity, only friends doing physical activity with the participant was associated with lower perceived barriers and more time spent in PA.
Author Disclosures: J.G. Woo: None. A. Giordullo: None. N.A. Crimmins: None. L.J. Martin: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.