Determinants of Physical Activity and Low-Fat Diet Among Low Income African American and Hispanic Middle School Students
Public Health Nursing
African Americans, Hispanics, and those with low income experience disproportionate health problems that can be prevented by physical activity and a lower fat diet. In this descriptive cross-sectional study, antecedents of diet and exercise within the Health Promotion/Transtheoretical Model were examined among low-income African American and Hispanic seventh-grade students (n = 127). Total support was associated with higher physical activity for girls. African Americans perceived greater social support for activity than Hispanics. Family models and support for physical activity and low-fat diet were greater as family income increased. However, higher family role models and lower dietary fat were found among the lowest income Hispanic students' residing ZIP code with a higher concentration of Hispanics and greater availability of Hispanic foods and culture. A school-based approach may be useful to build peer support for physical activity and lower dietary fat. Parish nurse or clinic settings may be most appropriate for building family role models and support. Living in a neighborhood with traditional Hispanic culture and foods appears to have ameliorated the harmful effects of lower income, although further study with larger samples followed over time is needed.