Objectives: To evaluate correlates of physical activity in Mexico City school youth.
Methods: A cross-sectional survey was conducted with 1,004 school youth (490 males and 514 females), 9-18 years of age resident in Mexico City. Age, height, body mass index (BMI), socioeconomic status (SES), time viewing television and playing video games (physical inactivity), and perceived sport/physical activity status of mother and father were evaluated as potential correlates of physical activity [Physical Activity Questionnaire (PAQ)]. Multiple linear regression analyses (backward elimination) by age group and sex were used.
Results: Physical activity declined in older adolescents, while differences between the two younger age groups were minimal. Television time showed a similar tendency. Overall, fathers were perceived as being active in sport/physical activity more frequently than mothers. Significant predictors of activity differed by age group and sex. For the total sample, age (negative) and perceived sport/activity status of the mother (positive) were significant predictors of the PAQ in boys, and age and the BMI (negative) and height and perceived sport/activity status of both parents (positive) were significant predictors for girls. Age (negative) was the main predictor for inactivity in both males and females.
Conclusions: Potential correlates of physical activity and inactivity considered in this analysis were limited and accounted for relatively little of the variance in physical activity. The role of perceived sport/activity of the parents, especially among younger boys and girls, is particularly of interest and merits more detailed study. Nevertheless, many other variables also need to be considered.