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Keywords:

  • American Indian;
  • community-based participatory research;
  • physical activity;
  • tribal communities;
  • youth

ABSTRACT Objective: American Indian youth experience a greater prevalence of obesity compared with the general U.S. population. One avenue to reverse the trend toward increasing obesity prevalence is through promoting physical activity. The goal of this project was to understand tribal youths' current patterns of physical activity behavior and their beliefs and preferences about physical activity.

Design and Sample: This assessment used a community-based participatory research approach. Sample included 35 Native youth aged 8–18.

Measures: A Community Advisory Board was created that specifically developed an exercise survey for this assessment to explore physical activity patterns, preferences, and determinants. Twenty-six youth completed the survey. Descriptive statistics were analyzed, exploring differences by age group. Nine youth participated in 2 focus groups. Qualitative data were analyzed with thematic analysis.

Results: Youth distinguished between sports and exercise, with each possessing different determinants. Common motivators were friends, coach, and school, and barriers were lack of programs and school or work. None of the youth reported meeting the recommended 60 min of strenuous exercise daily.

Conclusions: This tribal academic partnership responded to a tribal concern by developing an exercise survey and conducting focus groups that addressed tribal-specific questions. The results are informing program development.