The effects of diet, physical activity, psychosocial variables, and home environment on weight status of children who reside in a low-income rural area
Type of Degreedissertation
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The purpose of this investigation was to determine the effect of diet, physical activity, psychosocial variables, and environment on the weight status of children who reside in a low-income rural area. One hundred fifty seven 3rd – 6th graders, from one elementary school in Alabama participated in this study. Measures included height, weight, and physical activity levels measured by accelerometry. Self-efficacy, social support, outcome expectations, perception of access to physical activity opportunities near the home, fruit and vegetable availability in the home, and fruits and vegetables consumption outside the school setting were assessed by questionnaires. Direct observation was used to record fruit and vegetable consumption during breakfast and lunch for two school days. Children’s activity levels were recorded for seven days. On average children met physical activity requirements (71 minutes of moderate and vigorous physical activity; MVPA) per day which was significantly related to children’s weight status (p=0.016). Children who exhibited increased levels of physical activity had healthier weight. children’s access to physical activity opportunities near the home was not significantly (p=0.963) related to their physical activity levels. Social support (p=0.722) and self-efficacy (p=0.386) did not significantly relate to children’s weight status however, their outcome expectancies (p=0.033) did significantly relate to their weight status. Social support (p=0.531), self-efficacy (p=0.158) and outcome expectations (p=0.670) did not related to children’s physical activity levels. In this study, children’s fruit and vegetable consumption (p=0.514) was not significantly related to their weight status and their access to fruits and vegetables (p=0.963) in the home environment was not significantly related to the consumption of fruits and vegetables. The results of this study showed that children’s physical activity levels and their beliefs in their abilities to perform physical activity related tasks are related to their weight status.