Relationships Between Health Behaviors and Weight Status in American Indian and White Rural Children

Authors

  • Jeffrey E. Holm PhD,

    1. Department of Psychology and Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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  • Kaitlin R. Lilienthal MS,

    1. Department of Psychology and Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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  • Dmitri V. Poltavski PhD,

    1. Department of Psychology and Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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  • Nancy Vogeltanz-Holm PhD

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Grand Forks, North Dakota
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  • Funding: This work was funded, in part, by a Center grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, US Department of Health and Human Services.

For further information, contact: Nancy Vogeltanz-Holm, PhD, Department of Clinical Neuroscience and Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research, University of North Dakota School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Grand Forks, ND 58202-9037; e-mail: nancy.vogeltanz@med.und.edu.

Abstract

Purpose

Preventing obesity in childhood is an increasingly important public health goal. Prevention efforts can be improved by better understanding relationships between health behaviors and overweight and obesity. This study examined such relationships in young American Indian and white children living in the rural United States.

Methods

Self-report measures of diet, screen time (passive and active), and physical activity were combined with cardiovascular fitness in cross-sectional analyses to predict weight categories based on body mass index percentiles in 306 American Indian and white children (aged 8-9 years) from a rural area in the upper Midwestern United States.

Findings

Multinomial logistic regression models were statistically significant for girls (χ2[20] = 42.73, P < .01), boys (χ2[20] = 50.44, P < .001), American Indian (χ2[20] = 36.67, P < .05), and white children (χ2[20] = 55.99, P < .001). Obesity was associated with poorer cardiovascular fitness in girls (OR = 0.82), boys (OR = 0.83), American Indian (OR = 0.79), and white children (OR = 0.85), and with passive screen time in girls (OR = 1.69), boys (OR = 2.1), and white children (OR = 1.81). Overweight was associated with passive screen time (OR = 2.24) and inversely with active screen time (OR = 0.54), but only in boys.

Conclusions

Logistic regression models were more successful at predicting obesity than overweight in all groups of participants. Poorer cardiovascular fitness showed the strongest and most consistent association with obesity, but passive screen time was also a significant and important contributor to the prediction of obesity in most prediction models. Prediction models were similar in girls, boys, American Indian, and white children.

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