Publication Abstract

Authors: Dunton GF, Berrigan D, Ballard-Barbash R, Perna FM, Graubard BI, Atienza AA

Title: Adolescents' sports and exercise environments in a U.S. time use survey.

Journal: Am J Prev Med 39(2):122-9

Date: 2010 Aug

Abstract: BACKGROUND: Studies examining environmental influences on adolescent physical activity largely measure the presence and availability of social resources and built environment facilities. Unfortunately, this research approach provides limited information about adolescents' social company during exercise or the extent to which adolescents actually use physical settings for physical activity. PURPOSE: The current study used data from the nationally representative American Time Use Survey (2003-2006) to describe demographic and temporal patterns in the social and physical contexts of physical activity among adolescents. METHODS: The sample consisted of high school students (aged 15-18 years) reporting at least one bout of sports or exercise (N=867). During the interview, participants reported where (e.g., outdoors, home, work) and with whom (e.g., alone, family, friends) each bout occurred. Sample-weighted multinomial logistic regression analyses compared the proportion of bouts occurring in each environment by age, gender, family income, season, weekend/weekday, and time of day, controlling for race/ethnicity. Data were analyzed in 2009. RESULTS: Girls were more likely to exercise with family (22% vs 16%), and less likely to exercise with friends/acquaintances/others (47% vs 52%) and outdoors (18% vs 24%) than boys. Compared with those aged 15 years, a larger proportion of exercise bouts among those aged 18 years occurred alone (23% vs 18%); and a smaller proportion occurred at home (14% vs 20%), at someone else's house (5% vs 12%), and at school (14% vs 27%) (p's<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Information about the social and physical contexts of adolescents' sports and exercise can help guide the selection of future environmental targets for investigation and intervention.