Correlates of adherence to a physical activity program in young African-American girls

Christian R. Lemmon, David A. Ludwig, Cheryl A. Howe, Ayanay Ferguson-Smith, Paule Barbeau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Objective: The goal was to identify correlates of adherence to a structured physical activity (PA) program. Research Methods and Procedures: Subjects were 136 8-to 12-year-old African-American girls. Potential correlates at baseline were: 1) fitness index (FI: % body fat from DXA and cardiovascular fitness from treadmill test), and 2) self-esteem, anxiety, attitude to school and teachers, relationship with parents, and interpersonal relations (Behavioral Assessment System for Children). The 10-month PA program included 80 minutes of PA offered 5 days/wk. Regression tree classification was used to model attendance. Results: Six splits occurred (34% total variance explained). Less anxious subjects attended more often than highly anxious subjects (3 days/wk vs. 1.5 days/wk) did. Subjects with a healthier FI attended more often than those with a less healthy FI (3 days/wk vs. 0.5 days/wk) did. Younger subjects attended more often than older ones (3 days/wk vs. 2.5 days/wk) did. The next two splits were again with anxiety (3.5 days/wk vs. 3 days/wk) and FI (3 days/wk vs. 2.5 days/wk). Finally, subjects with higher levels of self-esteem attended more often than those with lower levels (3.5 days/wk vs. 2 days/wk) did. Discussion: Subjects who were self-confident, younger, fitter, and less anxious were more likely to participate regularly. This suggests that children who may be more likely to benefit from a PA program are less likely to participate. To enhance participation in PA programs, especially in older African-American girls: 1) psychological concerns should be identified and addressed before enrollment, and 2) programs should be designed to be appealing to children of all fitness levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)695-703
Number of pages9
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Adiposity
  • Anxiety
  • Children
  • Physical fitness
  • Self-esteem

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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