Purpose. Understanding the physical activity patterns of youth is an essential step in addressing the obesity epidemic and, ultimately, developing programs that reverse this trend. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the habitual physical activity patterns of Hispanic and African-American children living in a northeastern USA urban environment. Methods. Participants included 39 inner-city children (10.5 ± 0.61 years old; 78% African American, 14% Hispanic; 85% free/reduced lunch; 20.3 ± 4.3 BMI with 45% overweight/obese). Children wore a pedometer for seven consecutive days. Means and standard deviations were calculated and Student’s t test was utilized to examine difference across gender and day of the week. Results. Children averaged 9535 ± 2594 steps/day. The weekday step count mean was 10090 ± 2939 and the weekend step count was 7557 ± 4337, = 2533. Students were significantly more active during the week; t(16) = 2.38, p = 0.03. Children averaged 10610 ± 2842 steps on physical education weekdays and 8338 ± 2802 steps on non-physical education weekdays. Children were significantly more active on days with physical education classes; t(30) = 4.7, p = 0.00,Δ = 2272. Conclusions. Very few children in the current sample met daily step recommendations. Our results support previous research that suggests that the ‘suburban built’ environment is more conducive to promoting physical activity than the inner city. Our sample was less active than those in the majority of other studies exploring physical activity in primary school-aged children. Our findings (compared with previous research) found reduced physical activity among African-American children, especially girls.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.