Social and cultural environment factors influencing physical activity among african-american adolescents

Academic Article


  • Purpose African-American youth are at high risk for physical inactivity. This study explored social and cultural environment facilitators of physical activity among 12- to 14-year-old African-American adolescents living in a metropolitan area in the Southeast. Methods Youth (n = 51; 45% male) participated in brainstorming focus groups responding to the prompt, "What about your family, friends, and community, encourages you to be physically active?" In a second meeting, participants (n = 56; 37.5% male) sorted statements (n = 84) based on similarity in meaning and rated statements on relative importance. Statement groups and ratings were entered into Concept Systems software where multidimensional scaling and hierarchical cluster analysis were used to create graphical representation of ideas. Finally, researchers named clusters according to the gestalt of grouped statements. Results The total sample included 28.9% of youth with household incomes 30,000 (area median income = $30,701), 29% who perceived themselves as overweight, and 14.5% who reported being active for 60+ minutes everyday. Nine clusters, in rank order, emerged as follows: access/availability of physical activity resources; family and friend support; physical activity with friends; physical activity with family members; inspiration to/from others; parental reinforcement; opportunities in daily routine; pressure from social networks; and seeing consequences of activity/inactivity. Themes analyzed by gender were very similar (r =.90); however, "pressure from social networks" was more important for girls than boys (r =.10). Conclusions Clear patterns of social and cultural facilitators of physical activity are perceived by African-American adolescents. Interventions targeting this group may benefit by incorporating these themes.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Baskin ML; Dulin-Keita A; Thind H; Godsey E
  • Start Page

  • 536
  • End Page

  • 542
  • Volume

  • 56
  • Issue

  • 5