An Examination of Family, Healthcare Professionals, and Peer Advice on Physical Activity Behaviors among Adolescents at High Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
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Studies have shown that many college students do not meet the recommended daily physical activity (PA) levels, and about 22% of these students are overweight. Given that engaging in PA is a protective behavior against many chronic conditions, it is imperative to understand what sources of information/advice to engage in PA is most influential. Hence, the purpose of this study was to examine the relative impact of different sources of advice regarding exercise and PA on actual PA engagement among obese/overweight adolescents. Using data from 319 overweight/obese college students, multivariate regression analyses were conducted to examine which source of advice (from parents, peers, or healthcare provider) to engage in PA was associated with PA behavior among these adolescents. Influence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) family history on PA behavior was also examined. Moderate and vigorous PA behavior was more likely among obese/overweight adolescents who received advice to exercise or engage in PA from their peers (B = 200.85, β = 0.193, p = 0.001; B = 121.19, β = 0.145, p = 0.014). Overweight/obese adolescents with a T2D family history were more likely to walk compared with those without a T2D family history (χ2 = 12.97, p = 0.000). Findings suggest that although healthcare professionals advise obese/overweight adolescents, those who received advice regarding PA behavior from their peers were more likely to heed the advice and exercise/engage in PA. In essence, intervention efforts should focus on employing peer ambassadors to counsel other adolescents on the importance of PA.
author list (cited authors)
Amuta, A. O., Jacobs, W., & Barry, A. E.