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1.  Experimenting with cigarettes and physical activity among Mexican origin youth: a cross sectional analysis of the interdependent associations among sensation seeking, acculturation, and gender 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:332.
Sensation seeking tendencies tend to manifest during adolescence and are associated with both health-compromising behaviors and health-enhancing behaviors. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the relationship between sensation seeking and physical activity, a health-enhancing behavior, and between sensation seeking and experimenting with cigarettes, a health compromising-behavior, among a cohort of Mexican origin adolescents residing in the United States with different levels of acculturation.
In 2009, 1,154 Mexican origin youth (50.5% girls, mean age 14.3 years (SD = 1.04)) provided data on smoking behavior, physical activity, linguistic acculturation, and sensation seeking. We conducted Pearson’s χ2 tests to examine the associations between categorical demographic characteristics (i.e. gender, age, country of birth and parental educational attainment) and both cigarette experimentation and physical activity and Student’s t-tests to examine mean differences on the continuous variables (i.e. sensation seeking subscale) by the behaviors. We examined mean differences in the demographic characteristics, acculturation, and both behaviors for each of the sensation seeking subscales using analysis of variance (ANOVA). To examine relationships between the sensation seeking subscales, gender, and both behaviors, at different levels of acculturation we completed unconditional logistic regression analyses stratified by level of acculturation.
Overall, 23.3% had experimented with cigarettes and 29.0% reported being physically active for at least 60 minutes/day on at least 5 days/week. Experimenting with cigarettes and being physically active were more prevalent among boys than girls. Among girls, higher levels of sensation seeking tendencies were associated with higher levels of acculturation and experimentation with cigarettes, but not with physical activity. Among boys, higher levels of sensation seeking tendencies were associated with higher levels of acculturation, experimenting with cigarettes and being physically active.
Our results suggest that interventions designed to prevent smoking among Mexican origin youth may need to address social aspects associated with acculturation, paying close attention to gendered manifestations of sensation seeking.
PMCID: PMC3441442  PMID: 22559717
Smoking behavior; Physical activity; Acculturation; Sensation seeking; Gender; Mexican origin youth
2.  Mexican-Origin Parents’ Work Conditions and Adolescents’ Adjustment 
Mexican-origin parents’ work experiences are a distal extra-familial context for adolescents’ adjustment. This two-wave multi-informant study examined the prospective mechanisms linking parents’ work conditions (i.e., self-direction, work pressure, workplace discrimination) to adolescents’ adjustment (i.e., educational expectations, depressive symptoms, risky behavior) across the transition to high school drawing on work socialization and spillover models. We examined the indirect effects of parental work conditions on adolescent adjustment through parents’ psychological functioning (i.e., depressive symptoms, role overload) and aspects of the parent-adolescent relationship (i.e., parental solicitation, parent-adolescent conflict), as well as moderation by adolescent gender. Participants were 246 predominantly immigrant, Mexican-origin, two-parent families who participated in home interviews when adolescents were approximately 13 and 15 years of age. Results supported the positive impact of fathers’ occupational self-direction on all three aspects of adolescents’ adjustment through decreased father-adolescent conflict, after controlling for family socioeconomic status and earner status, and underemployment. Parental work pressure and discrimination were indirectly linked to adolescents’ adjustment, with different mechanisms emerging for mothers and fathers. Adolescents’ gender moderated the associations between fathers’ self-direction and girls’ depressive symptoms, and fathers’ experiences of discrimination and boys’ risk behavior. Results suggest that Mexican-origin mothers’ and fathers’ perceptions of work conditions have important implications for multiple domains of adolescents’ adjustment across the transition to high school.
PMCID: PMC4461521  PMID: 25938710
adolescents’ depressive symptoms; adolescents’ educational expectations; adolescents’ risky behavior; Mexican-origin families; parental work
3.  The Effects of Parental Acculturation and Parenting Practices on the Substance Use of Mexican-Heritage Adolescents from Southwestern Mexican Neighborhoods 
A sample of 189 Mexican-heritage seventh grade adolescents reported their substance use, while one of the child’s parents reported parent’s acculturation and communication, involvement, and positive parenting with his or her child. Higher levels of parental acculturation predicted greater marijuana use, whereas parent communication predicted lower cigarette and marijuana use among girls. A significant parent acculturation by parent communication interaction for cigarette use was due to parent communication being highly negatively associated with marijuana use for high acculturated parents, with attenuated effects for low acculturated parents. A significant child gender by parent acculturation by parent positive parenting interaction was found. For girls, positive parenting had a stronger association with lower cigarette use for high acculturated parents. For boys, positive parenting had a stronger association with reduced cigarette use for low acculturated parents. Discussion focuses on how acculturation and gender impact family processes among Mexican-heritage adolescents.
PMCID: PMC4206522  PMID: 25176121
acculturation; Mexican American adolescents; parenting; substance use
4.  Smoking initiation among Mexican heritage youth and the roles of family cohesion and conflict 
High levels of family conflict increase the risk for early smoking initiation and smoking escalation among adolescents, while high levels of warmth and cohesion in the family are protective against smoking initiation. However, little is known about the associations between changes in family function during adolescence on subsequent smoking initiation among Mexican heritage adolescents.
In 2005-06, 1,328 Mexican heritage adolescents aged 11 to 14 years enrolled in a cohort study to examine non-genetic and genetic factors associated with cigarette experimentation. In 2008-09, 1,154 participants completed a follow-up. Multivariate logistic regression models were computed to prospectively examine associations between smoking behavior assessed in 2008-09 and changes in family cohesion and family conflict assessed in both 2005-06 and 2008-09, controlling for gender, age, and linguistic acculturation, positive outcome expectations associated with smoking, as well as friends and family smoking behavior.
Overall 21% had tried cigarettes by 2008-09. Consistently low levels of family cohesion (OR=3.06; 95% CI: 1.38-6.73) and decreases in family cohesion (OR=2.36; 95% CI: 1.37-4.07), as well as consistently high levels of family conflict (OR=1.74; 95% CI: 1.08-2.79) and increases in conflict (OR=1.87; 95% CI: 1.19-2.94) were independent risk factors for smoking initiation among Mexican heritage youth.
Our findings suggest that family cohesion protects against adolescent smoking while family conflict increases the risk for smoking. Therefore intervention programs for adolescents and parents could focus on enhancing family bonding and closeness, which is protective against smoking initiation.
PMCID: PMC4605269  PMID: 25911161
Family cohesion and conflict; Smoking; Adolescents; Mexican heritage
5.  Ethnic Minority Children’s Active Commuting to School and Association with Physical Activity and Pedestrian Safety Behaviors* 
Children’s active commuting to school, i.e. walking or cycling to school, was associated with greater moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, although studies among ethnic minorities are sparse.
Among a low-income, ethnic minority sample of fourth grade students from eight public schools, we examined (1) correlates of active commuting to school and (2) the relationship between active commuting to school and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of baseline measurements from a sample of participants (n=149) aged 9–12 years from a walk to school intervention study in Houston, Texas. The primary outcome was the weekly rate of active commuting to school. Daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, measured by accelerometers, was a secondary outcome. Child self-efficacy (alpha=0.75), parent self-efficacy (alpha=0.88), and parent outcome expectations (alpha=0.78) were independent variables. Participant characteristics (age, gender, race/ethnicity, distance from home to school, acculturation, and BMI percentile) were independent sociodemographic variables. We used mixed-model regression analyses to account for clustering by school and a stepwise procedure with backward elimination of non-significant interactions and covariates to identify significant moderators and predictors. School-level observations of student pedestrians were assessed and compared using chi-square tests of independence.
Among our sample, which was 61.7% Latino, the overall rate of active commuting to school was 43%. In the mixed model for active commuting to school, parent self-efficacy (std. beta = 0.18, p=0.018) and age (std. beta = 0.18, p=0.018) were positively related. Latino students had lower rates of active commuting to school than non-Latinos ( 16.5%, p=0.040). Distance from home to school was inversely related to active commuting to school (std. beta = 0.29, p<0.001). In the mixed model for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity, active commuting to school was positively associated (std. beta = 0.31, p <0.001). Among the Latino subsample, child acculturation was negatively associated with active commuting to school (std. beta = −0.23, p=0.01). With regard to school-level pedestrian safety observations, 37% of students stopped at the curb and 2.6% looked left-right-left before crossing the street.
Although still below national goals, the rate of active commuting was relatively high, while the rate of some pedestrian safety behaviors was low among this low-income, ethnic minority population. Programs and policies to encourage safe active commuting to school are warranted and should consider the influence of parents, acculturation, and ethnicity.
PMCID: PMC3160673  PMID: 21874160
Latino; ethnicity; active commuting to school; physical activity; pedestrian safety; safe routes to school
6.  The Associations of Body Image, Anxiety and Smoking among Mexican Origin Youth 
Among Mexican origin teenagers, anxiety is associated with cigarette experimentation, while among girls and young women from other ethnic groups the desire to be thin is associated with smoking. However, little is known about the associations of body image concerns with smoking in Mexican origin youth, particularly when accounting for anxiety.
In 2005-06, 1,328 Mexican origin adolescents aged 11 to 13 years enrolled in a cohort study to examine non-genetic and genetic factors associated with cigarette experimentation. In 2008-09, 1,154 participants completed a follow-up when they reported their smoking status, anxiety and body image. Height and weight were measured. In 2010-11, 1,001 participants completed another follow-up when they reported their smoking status. Multivariate multinomial regression models were computed to examine associations between smoking behavior assessed in 2010-11 and body image score, anxiety, and body mass index (BMI) assessed in 2008-09, controlling for gender, country of birth, age, and parental education.
Of the 892 participants with complete data, 48% were boys, 74% were US-born and in 2008-09, were 14.29 years (SD=1.00) old. Having smoked less than a whole cigarette was associated with being male (OR=1.53), older age (OR=1.42), a BMI <85th percentile (OR=1.93) and poor body image (OR=1.12). Having smoked more than one cigarette was associated with being male (OR=3.54), older age (OR=1.86), anxiety (OR=1.04), and poor body image (OR=1.11).
Poor body image and anxiety were independently associated with cigarette experimentation among Mexican origin youth. Implications for the design of culturally appropriate smoking prevention messages are discussed.
PMCID: PMC4441269  PMID: 23669646
Body image; Anxiety; Smoking; Adolescents; Mexican origin youth
7.  The influence of linguistic acculturation and parental monitoring on the substance use of Mexican-heritage adolescents in predominantly Mexican enclaves of the Southwest US 
This study presents the results of an assessment of 377 Mexican heritage 7th grade adolescents attending middle school in Arizona. The students answered questions concerning personal substance use, linguistic acculturation and parental monitoring. Linguistic acculturation in general did not predict substance use, while greater perceived parental monitoring significantly predicted a lesser likelihood to use substances for both boys and girls. There was a significant acculturation by parental monitoring interaction for ever use of alcohol for boys, with parent monitoring effects being more pronounced in reducing alcohol use among highly acculturated boys. Results are discussed in terms of how acculturation impacts family processes and the drug use behaviors of Mexican heritage adolescents living in predominantly Mexican enclaves.
PMCID: PMC3477602  PMID: 22931157
8.  Correlates of weight status among Norwegian 11-year-olds: The HEIA study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:1053.
The underlying mechanisms of overweight and obesity in adolescents are still not fully understood. The aim of this study was to investigate modifiable and non-modifiable correlates of weight status among 1103 Norwegian 11-year-old adolescents in the HEalth in Adolescents (HEIA) study, including demographic factors such as gender and parental education, and behavioral factors such as intake of sugar-sweetened beverages, snacks and breakfast consumption, watching TV and playing computer games, physical activity and sedentary time.
Weight and height were measured objectively, body mass index (BMI) was calculated and International Obesity Task Force cut-offs were used to define weight status. Physical activity and sedentary time were measured by accelerometers. Other behavioral correlates and pubertal status were self-reported by questionnaires. Parental education was reported by the parents on the consent form for their child. Associations were investigated using logistic regressions.
There were gender differences in behavioral correlates of weight status but not for weight status itself. Adolescents with parents in the highest education category had a 46% reduced odds of being overweight compared to adolescents with parents in the lowest education category. Adolescents with parents with medium education had 42% lower odds of being overweight than adolescents with parents with the lowest education category. Level of parental education, breakfast consumption and moderate to vigorous physical activity were positively associated with being normal weight, and time watching TV was positively associated with being overweight for the total sample. Gender differences were detected; boys had a doubled risk of being overweight for every additional hour of watching TV per week, while for girls there was no association.
The present study showed a social gradient in weight status in 11-year-olds. Both breakfast consumption and moderate to vigorous physical activity were inversely associated with weight status. No associations were found between intake of sugar-sweetened beverages and snacks, playing computer games and weight status. Watching TV was positively associated with weight status for boys but not for girls. Interventions are needed to gain more insight into the correlates of change in weight status.
PMCID: PMC3538064  PMID: 23216675
Overweight; Physical activity; Sedentary time; Parental education; Diet; Children; Adolescents
9.  Acculturation, Social Self-Control, and Substance Use Among Hispanic Adolescents 
It is unclear how acculturation is related to self-control characteristics and whether part of the effect of acculturation on Hispanic adolescents’ substance use behavior is mediated through lower self-control. We tested social self-control, peer substance use, and baseline substance use as mediators of the effect of Hispanic (predominantly Mexican or Mexican American) adolescents’ level of U.S. acculturation on their substance use behavior 1 year later. In addition, we tested gender as a possible moderator of the pathways involved in the mediation model. Participants included 1,040 self-identified Hispanic/Latino adolescents (M = 14.7; SD = 0.90; 89% Mexican/Mexican American) recruited from nine public high schools. Acculturation was measured in terms of adolescents’ extent of English language use in general, at home, with friends, and their use of the English-language entertainment media. Analyses were conducted using structural equation modeling and controlled for potential confounders such as age and parental education. Results indicated a statistically significant three-path mediation in which poor social self-control and peer substance use mediated the effects of acculturation on prospective substance use. Paths in the mediation model were not found to differ by gender. Our findings suggest that acculturation may influence adolescents’ self-control characteristics related to interpersonal functioning, which may in turn influence their affiliation with substance-using friends and substance use behavior. Implications of the findings are discussed in terms of future research and prevention programming.
PMCID: PMC4181571  PMID: 23772765
acculturation; social self-control; substance use
10.  Academic Success of Mexican Origin Adolescent Boys and Girls: The Role of Mothers’ and Fathers’ Parenting and Cultural Orientation 
Sex roles  2009;60(7-8):588-599.
To understand the role that Mexican origin parents play in their children’s academic success, this study used structural equation modeling to evaluate the associations of parents’ parenting practices (warmth, monitoring, harshness, and academic involvement) and cultural orientations (enculturation and acculturation) with their adolescents’ grades, classroom behavior, and association with peers who get into trouble at school. Data were obtained from teachers, mothers, fathers, and male and female adolescents in 560 Mexican origin families living in the southwest U.S. Results indicated that mothers’ and fathers’ parenting practices and cultural orientations were linked to adolescents’ academic outcomes. However, there were differences for boys and girls. Results are discussed in relation to parent and adolescent gender roles and implications for intervention.
PMCID: PMC3128498  PMID: 21731172
Mexican American; parenting; adolescents; acculturation; enculturation; academic performance
11.  Association of Acculturation Levels and Prevalence of Diabetes in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA)  
Diabetes Care  2008;31(8):1621-1628.
OBJECTIVE—The prevalence of type 2 diabetes among Hispanic and Asian Americans is increasing. These groups are largely comprised of immigrants who may be undergoing behavioral and lifestyle changes associated with development of diabetes. We studied the association between acculturation and diabetes in a population sample of 708 Mexican-origin Hispanics, 547 non–Mexican-origin Hispanics, and 737 Chinese participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA).
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—Diabetes was defined as fasting glucose ≥126 mg/dl and/or use of antidiabetic medications. An acculturation score was calculated for all participants using nativity, years living in the U.S., and language spoken at home. The score ranged from 0 to 5 (0 = least acculturated and 5 = most acculturated). Relative risk regression was used to estimate the association between acculturation and diabetes.
RESULTS—For non–Mexican-origin Hispanics, the prevalence of diabetes was positively associated with acculturation score, after adjustment for sociodemographics. The prevalence of diabetes was significantly higher among the most acculturated versus the least acculturated non–Mexican-origin Hispanics (prevalence ratio 2.49 [95% CI 1.14−5.44]); the higher the acculturation score is, the higher the prevalence of diabetes (P for trend 0.059). This relationship between acculturation and diabetes was partly attenuated after adjustment for BMI or diet. Diabetes prevalence was not related to acculturation among Chinese or Mexican-origin Hispanics.
CONCLUSIONS—Among non–Mexican-origin Hispanics in MESA, greater acculturation is associated with higher diabetes prevalence. The relation is at least partly mediated by BMI and diet. Acculturation is a factor that should be considered when predictors of diabetes in racial/ethnic groups are examined.
PMCID: PMC2494621  PMID: 18458142
12.  Importance of physical health and health-behaviors in adolescence for risk of dropout from secondary education in young adulthood: an 8-year prospective study 
Education and health constitute two interlinked assets that are highly important to individuals. In Iceland, prevalence of dropout from secondary education poses a considerable problem. This 8-year prospective study assesses to what extent poor physical health and negative health-behaviors of Icelandic adolescents predict increased odds of dropout from secondary education.
The sample included n = 201 Icelandic children who participated at age 15 (baseline) and again at age 23 (follow-up). Data included objective measurements of physical health and questionnaires assessing health-behaviors, education status, parental education, neighborhood characteristics, self-esteem, and depression. Independent t-tests and chi-square were used to assess differences in physical health and health-behaviors at follow-up stratified by education status. Ordinal regression models were conducted to assess whether physical health and health-behaviors at age 15 predicted increased odds of dropout from secondary education at age 23, independent of gender, parental education and psychological factors.
At age 23, 78 % of girls and 71 % of boys had completed a secondary education. Completion of a secondary education was associated with significant health benefits, especially among women. Women without a secondary education had lower fitness, more somatic complaints, higher diastolic blood pressure, less sports participation, and poorer sleep, whilst men without a secondary education watched more television. In logistic regression models somatic complaints during adolescence were associated with 1.09 (95 % CI: 1.02-1.18) higher odds of dropout from secondary education in young adulthood, independent of covariates. Health-behaviors associated with higher dropout odds included smoking (3.67, 95 % CI: 1.50-9.00), alcohol drinking (2.57, 95 % CI: 1.15-5.75), and time spent watching television (1.27, 95 % CI:1.03-1.56), which were independent of most covariates. Finally, mother’s higher education was strongly associated with significantly lower dropout odds (OR 0.54, 95 % CI: 0.34-0.88) independent of father’s education and psychological factors, whilst high self-esteem was independently associated with lower dropout odds (OR 0.91, 95 % CI: 0.85-0.98).
Completion of a secondary education yields substantial physical health benefits for young women, but not for men. Importantly, somatic complaints and negative health-behaviors among adolescent boys and girls adversely impact their educational outcomes later in life, and may have widespread consequences for their future prospects.
PMCID: PMC4657320  PMID: 26597711
Adolescence; Health Inequalities; Education; Gender; Health-behaviors
13.  Perceptions of Social Mobility: Development of a New Psychosocial Indicator Associated with Adolescent Risk Behaviors 
Social class gradients have been explored in adults and children, but not extensively during adolescence. The first objective of this study was to examine the association between adolescent risk behaviors and a new indicator of adolescent relative social position, adolescent “perceived social mobility.” Second, it investigated potential underlying demographic, socioeconomic, and psychosocial determinants of this indicator. Data were taken from the 2004 urban adolescent module of Oportunidades, a cross-sectional study of Mexican adolescents living in poverty. Perceived social mobility was calculated for each subject by taking the difference between their rankings on two 10-rung ladder scales that measured (1) projected future social status and (2) current subjective social status within Mexican society. Adolescents with higher perceived social mobility were significantly less likely to report alcohol consumption, drinking with repercussions, compensated sex, police detainment, physical fighting, consumption of junk food or soda, or watching ≥4 h of television during the last viewing. They were significantly more likely to report exercising during the past week and using a condom during last sexual intercourse. These associations remained significant with the inclusion of covariates, including parental education and household expenditures. Multiple logistic regression analyses show higher perceived social mobility to be associated with staying in school longer and having higher perceived control. The present study provides evidence for the usefulness of perceived social mobility as an indicator for understanding the social gradient in health during adolescence. This research suggests the possibility of implementing policies and interventions that provide adolescents with real reasons to be hopeful about their trajectories.
PMCID: PMC4399326  PMID: 25932460
adolescent health; social gradient; risk behaviors; international health; socioeconomic factors; social mobility
14.  Childhood and adolescent predictors of leisure time physical activity during the transition from adolescence to adulthood: a population based cohort study 
Few studies have investigated factors that influence physical activity behavior during the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This study explores the associations of sociodemographic, behavioral, sociocultural, attitudinal and physical factors measured in childhood and adolescence with physical activity behavior during the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Childhood and adolescent data (at ages 7-15 years) were collected as part of the 1985 Australian Health and Fitness Survey and subdivided into sociodemographics (socioeconomic status, parental education), behavioral (smoking, alcohol, sports diversity, outside school sports), sociocultural (active father, active mother, any older siblings, any younger siblings, language spoken at home), attitudinal (sports/recreational competency, self-rated health, enjoyment physical education/physical activity, not enjoying school sports) and physical (BMI, time taken to run 1.6 km, long jump) factors. Physical activity between the ages 15 and 29 years was reported retrospectively using the Historical Leisure Activity Questionnaire at follow-up in 2004-2006 by 2,048 participants in the Childhood Determinants of Adult Health Study (CDAH). Australia's physical activity recommendations for children and adults were used to categorize participants as persistently active, variably active or persistently inactive during the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
For females, perceived sports competency in childhood and adolescence was significantly associated with being persistently active (RR = 1.88, 95% CI = 1.39, 2.55). Smoking (RR = 0.31 CI = 0.12, 0.82) and having younger siblings (RR = 0.69 CI = 0.52, 0.93) were inversely associated with being persistently active after taking physical and attitudinal factors into account. For males, playing sport outside school (RR = 1.47 CI = 1.05, 2.08), having active fathers (RR = 1.25 CI = 1.01, 1.54) and not enjoying school sport (RR = 4.07 CI = 2.31, 7.17) were associated with being persistently active into adulthood. Time taken to complete the 1.6 km run was inversely associated with being persistently active into adulthood (RR = 0.85 CI = 0.78, 0.93) after adjusting for recreational competency.
Perceived sports competency (females) and cardiorespiratory fitness, playing sport outside school and having active fathers (males) in childhood and adolescence were positively associated with being persistently active during the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
PMCID: PMC3129289  PMID: 21631921
15.  The Influence of Linguistic Acculturation and Gender on the Initiation of Substance Use Among Mexican Heritage Preadolescents in the Borderlands 
The Journal of early adolescence  2011;31(2):271-299.
This article examined the impact of linguistic acculturation and gender on the substance use initiation of a sample of 1,473 Mexican heritage preadolescents attending 30 public schools in Phoenix, Arizona. It was hypothesized that linguistic acculturation operates differently as a risk or protective factor for young children than for older youth. The study used discrete-time event history methods to model the rate at which nonusing children initiate substance use. Alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, and inhalants were studied separately while inhalant use was examined more closely. Results suggested that while linguistic acculturation is a risk factor for Mexican heritage preadolescents, this association depended on gender, the linguistic acculturation context (family, friends, or media), and the type of substance. For inhalants, higher linguistic acculturation with friends was inversely associated with drug initiation both for boys and girls. Implications for preventive science and future intervention research are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3108799  PMID: 21660121
acculturation; bilingual/bicultural; Hispanic/Latino/Latina; substance use/alcohol and drug use
16.  Gender Identity, Ethnicity, Acculturation, and Drug Use: Exploring Differences among Adolescents in the Southwest 
Journal of community psychology  2003;31(2):167-188.
This article presents the findings of a survey completed by 1351 predominantly Mexican American middle school students residing in a large urban center in the U.S. Southwest. The study explores possible associations between drug use attitudes and behaviors and gender (biological sex), gender identity, ethnicity, and acculturation status. Based on the concepts of “machismo” and “marianismo” that have been used to describe Mexican populations, four dimensions of gender identity were measured: aggressive masculinity, assertive masculinity, affective femininity, and submissive femininity. In explaining a variety of indicators of drug use behaviors and anti-drug norms, gender alone had limited explanatory power, while gender identity—often regardless of gender—was a better predictor. Aggressive masculinity was generally associated with higher risk of drug use, while the other three gender identity measures had selected protective effects. However, the impact of gender identity was strongly mediated by acculturation. Less acculturated Mexican American students reported lower aggressive masculinity scores than non-Latinos. Less acculturated Mexican American girls reported both the lowest aggressive masculinity scores and the highest submissive femininity scores. More acculturated Mexican American students, along with the less acculturated Mexican American boys, did not appear to be following a polarized approach to gender identity (machismo and marianismo) as was expected. The findings suggest that some aspects of culturally prescribed gender roles can have a protective effect against drug use behaviors and attitudes, possibly for both girls and boys.
PMCID: PMC3045088  PMID: 21359134
17.  Prevalence of overweight/obesity in relation to dietary habits and lifestyle among 7–17 years old children and adolescents in Lithuania 
BMC Public Health  2015;15:1001.
Until recently increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity among pediatric population in Europe and worldwide contributes to major well-known risks for metabolic consequences in later life. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of overweight/obesity among children and adolescents in Lithuania and assess its association with energy balance related behaviors as well as familial demographic and socioeconomic factors.
Cross-sectional study included 3990 7–17 years old schoolchildren from 40 schools of Kaunas region, Lithuania. Study participants underwent anthropometric measurements. Body mass index (BMI) was evaluated according to International Obesity Task Force (IOTF) criteria for children and adolescents. Children and adolescents and their parents filled in the questionnaires on parental sociodemographic characteristics, dietary habits, TV watching time, and family socioeconomic status.
The prevalence of underweight, overweight, and obesity among boys and girls was 6.9 and 11.7 % (P < 0.05), 12.6 and 12.6 % (P > 0.05), and 4.9 and 3.4 % (P < 0.05), respectively. Obesity was significantly more prevalent in the 7–9 years old group (6.7 and 4.8 % in boys and girls, respectively, P < 0.05). Lower meals frequency and breakfast skipping were directly associated with overweight/obesity (P < 0.05); however, physical inactivity was not associated with higher BMI. Children‘s overweight/obesity was directly associated with lower paternal education and unemployment (OR 1.30, P = 0.013 and OR 1.56, P = 0.003, respectively).
The prevalence of overweight and obesity among 7–17 years old Lithuanian children and adolescents was more prevalent in younger age, still being one of the lowest across the European countries. Meals frequency, breakfast skipping, paternal education and unemployment as well as a family history of arterial hypertension were found to be associated with children’s and adolescents’ overweight/obesity.
PMCID: PMC4590263  PMID: 26429124
Overweight; Obesity; Underweight; Children; Adolescents; Schoolchildren; Body mass index; Dietary habits; Physical activity
18.  Adolescent body satisfaction: the role of perceived parental encouragement for physical activity 
Parents play an important role in the development of children's health behaviors, but less is known about the role of parental encouragement for physical activity (PA) on youth PA behavior and body image satisfaction. The purposes of this study were to: (1) longitudinally assess whether adolescent PA at age 15 mediates the effect of perceived parental encouragement for PA at age 15 for predicting adolescent body satisfaction at age 16, while controlling for body mass index (BMI), and (2) examine the extent to which adolescent sex moderates this association.
Participants were 379 boys and girls assessed at 15 and 16 years of age, who completed surveys as part of a larger longitudinal study in their health/physical education classes in a school district in Central Pennsylvania. Participants completed measures of their perception of parental encouragement for PA, PA behavior, body satisfaction, and height and weight to calculate BMI at age 15 and 16 (i.e., 10th and 11th grades). Pearson correlations were used to examine the association among the study variables and hierarchical regression analyses were used to predict body satisfaction at age 16.
Perceived encouragement for PA from fathers, but not mothers, at age 15, was significantly associated with adolescent PA at age 15 and body satisfaction scores at age 16. Adolescents reporting higher PA behavior and perceived encouragement for PA from fathers at age 15 had higher body satisfaction scores at age 16. Moreover, adolescent PA at age 15 mediated the association between perceived fathers' encouragement for PA at age 15 and adolescent body satisfaction at age 16, when controlling for BMI. Examining the moderating effect of adolescent sex on this association revealed that adolescent PA no longer mediated the association between perceived encouragement for PA from fathers and adolescent body satisfaction, and sex moderated this association.
These findings suggest that, regardless of adolescent BMI, fathers may play an instrumental role in adolescents' body image satisfaction by positively influencing PA behavior. However, the influence of perceived encouragement for PA from fathers on adolescent body satisfaction and PA behavior may differ for boys and girls.
PMCID: PMC2799384  PMID: 20003215
19.  Use and Appreciation of a Web-Based, Tailored Intervention (E-health4Uth) Combined With Counseling to Promote Adolescents’ Health in Preventive Youth Health Care: Survey and Log-File Analysis 
JMIR Research Protocols  2014;3(1):e3.
Health promotion for adolescents is important in the prevention of mental health problems and health-risk behaviors. We implemented two interventions in a preventive youth health care setting. Adolescents in the E-health4Uth group received Web-based, tailored messages on their health behavior and well-being. Adolescents in the E-health4Uth and counseling group received the same tailored messages, but were subsequently referred to a school nurse for a consultation if they were at risk of mental health problems.
This study evaluated the use and appreciation of these Web-based, tailored messages and additional consultation with a school nurse. Differences in use and appreciation according to demographics (ie, gender, level of education, and ethnicity) of the adolescents were also assessed.
Two youth health care organizations participated in this study and conducted the interventions in 12 secondary schools. In total, 1702 adolescents participated; 533 in the E-health4Uth group, 554 in the E-health4Uth and counseling group, and 615 in the control group (ie, care as usual). Adolescents completed an evaluation questionnaire assessing the use and appreciation of the tailored messages immediately after receiving these messages and at a 4-month follow-up. After the consultation, adolescents and nurses completed an evaluation questionnaire on the use and appreciation of the consultation.
The majority of the adolescents (845/1034, 81.72%) indicated they had read the tailored messages. Most items on the use and appreciation of the tailored messages and the program were scored positive (overall satisfaction on a scale from 1, most-negative, to 10, most-positive: mean 6.70, SD 1.60). In general, adolescents in vocational training, girls, and adolescents of non-Dutch ethnicity, indicated they used the tailored messages more often and appreciated the content of the messages better than adolescents receiving preuniversity education, boys, and adolescents of Dutch ethnicity, respectively (all P<.05). In the E-health4Uth and counseling group, 18.6% (103/553) of the adolescents were referred to a nurse. Adolescents in vocational training and girls were more often referred to a nurse than adolescents receiving preuniversity education (P=.007) and boys (P=.03), respectively. Adolescents and nurses positively evaluated the consultation (overall satisfaction of adolescents: mean 8.07, SD 1.21). Adolescents in vocational training attended the consultation more often (P=.047) and considered the consultation a more valuable addition to the tailored messages than adolescents receiving preuniversity education (P=.034).
The Web-based, tailored messages and additional consultation were used and appreciated positively by adolescents and nurses. The consultation seems a valuable addition to the tailored messages. However, the tailored messages might need further improvement since adolescents did not rate all evaluation items about these messages explicitly positive. As these interventions were already interweaved with the existing practice of the preventive youth health care, they are especially promising for future implementation.
Trial Registration
Netherlands Trial Register Number (NTR): NTR3596; (Archived by WebCite at
PMCID: PMC3906651  PMID: 24394676
adolescents; youth health care; Web-based tailoring; eHealth; Internet; counseling; health care evaluation; health promotion
20.  Association of breakfast intake with obesity, dietary and physical activity behavior among urban school-aged adolescents in Delhi, India: results of a cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:881.
In developed countries, regular breakfast consumption is inversely associated with excess weight and directly associated with better dietary and improved physical activity behaviors. Our objective was to describe the frequency of breakfast consumption among school-going adolescents in Delhi and evaluate its association with overweight and obesity as well as other dietary, physical activity, and sedentary behaviors.
Design: Cross-sectional study. Setting: Eight schools (Private and Government) of Delhi in the year 2006. Participants: 1814 students from 8th and 10th grades; response rate was 87.2%; 55% were 8th graders, 60% were boys and 52% attended Private schools. Main outcome measures: Body mass index, self-reported breakfast consumption, diet and physical activity related behaviors, and psychosocial factors. Data analysis: Mixed effects regression models were employed, adjusting for age, gender, grade level and school type (SES).
Significantly more Government school (lower SES) students consumed breakfast daily as compared to Private school (higher SES) students (73.8% vs. 66.3%; p<0.01). More 8th graders consumed breakfast daily vs.10th graders (72.3% vs. 67.0%; p<0.05). A dose–response relationship was observed such that overall prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents who consumed breakfast daily (14.6%) was significantly lower vs. those who only sometimes (15.2%) or never (22.9%) consumed breakfast (p<0.05 for trend). This relationship was statistically significant for boys (15.4 % vs. 16.5% vs. 26.0; p<0.05 for trend) but not for girls. Intake of dairy products, fruits and vegetables was 5.5 (95% CI 2.4-12.5), 1.7 (95% CI 1.1-2.5) and 2.2 (95% CI 1.3-3.5) times higher among those who consumed breakfast daily vs. those who never consumed breakfast. Breakfast consumption was associated with greater physical activity vs. those who never consumed breakfast. Positive values and beliefs about healthy eating; body image satisfaction; and positive peer and parental influence were positively associated with daily breakfast consumption, while depression was negatively associated.
Daily breakfast consumption is associated with less overweight and obesity and with healthier dietary- and physical activity-related behaviors among urban Indian students. Although prospective studies should confirm the present results, intervention programs to prevent or treat childhood obesity in India should consider emphasizing regular breakfast consumption.
PMCID: PMC3549919  PMID: 23075030
Breakfast; Obesity; Adolescent; Diet; Physical activity; Behavior
21.  Lack of parental rule-setting on eating is associated with a wide range of adolescent unhealthy eating behaviour both for boys and girls 
BMC Public Health  2016;16:359.
Unhealthy eating habits in adolescence lead to a wide variety of health problems and disorders. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of absence of parental rules on eating and unhealthy eating behaviour and to explore the relationships between parental rules on eating and a wide range of unhealthy eating habits of boys and girls. We also explored the association of sociodemographic characteristics such as gender, family affluence or parental education with eating related parental rules and eating habits of adolescents.
The data on 2765 adolescents aged 13–15 years (mean age: 14.4; 50.7 % boys) from the Slovak part of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study 2014 were assessed. The associations between eating-related parental rules and unhealthy eating patterns using logistic regression were assessed using logistic regression.
Unhealthy eating habits occurred frequently among adolescents (range: 18.0 % reported skipping breakfast during weekends vs. 75.8 % for low vegetables intake). Of all adolescents, 20.5 % reported a lack of any parental rules on eating (breakfast not mandatory, meal in front of TV allowed, no rules about sweets and soft drinks). These adolescents were more likely to eat unhealthily, i.e. to skip breakfast on weekdays (odds ratio/95 % confidence interval: 5.33/4.15–6.84) and on weekends (2.66/2.12–3.34), to report low consumption of fruits (1.63/1.30–2.04) and vegetables (1.32/1.04–1.68), and the frequent consumption of sweets (1.59/1.30–1.94), soft drinks (1.93/1.56–2.38) and energy drinks (2.15/1.72–2.70).
Parental rule-setting on eating is associated with eating behaviours of adolescents. Further research is needed to disentangle causality in this relationship. If causal, parents may be targeted to modify the eating habits of adolescents.
PMCID: PMC4847241  PMID: 27117062
22.  Physical Activity and Beverage Consumption among Adolescents 
Nutrients  2016;8(7):389.
This study assessed the relationship between physical activity and beverage consumption among adolescents with a population based cross-sectional survey was carried out in the Balearic Islands, Spain (n = 1988; 12–17 years old). Body composition, educational and income level, physical activity (PA), and beverage consumption and energy intake were assessed. Sixty-two percent of adolescents engaged in >300 min/week of PA. Boys were more active than girls, younger adolescents were more active than older counterparts, low parental income was associated with physical inactivity, and time spent watching TV (including, TV, Internet or handheld cellular devices) was inversely associated with PA practice. The average beverage intake of the studied adolescents was 0.9 L/day, higher in boys than in girls. Beverage intake was positively associated with PA practice, and the highest amount of energy intake from beverages was observed in active boys and girls. Most of the studied adolescent population met the PA recommendations. Gender, age, parental income, and time spent watching TV were significant determinants of PA. Type and amount of beverages drunk varied according to gender and PA, and general daily total beverage intake was lower than recommended adequate fluid intake. PA behavior should be considered when analyzing beverage consumption in adolescents.
PMCID: PMC4963865  PMID: 27347993
beverage consumption; physical activity; adolescents
23.  Screen Time on School Days and Risks for Psychiatric Symptoms and Self-Harm in Mainland Chinese Adolescents 
Objective: To investigate associations of television and of video game or non-educational computer use (VG/CU) exposure volumes in a typical school day with psychiatric symptoms and suicidal ideation/self-injurious behavior (self-harm), in mainland Chinese adolescents.
Methods: Secondary school pupils (N = 13,659; mean age: 15.18 ± 1.89) from 10 urban areas sampled from different regions of mainland China were recruited. The subjects were divided into the following four screen exposure volume groups for television and VG/CU respectively based on a self-administered questionnaire: 0 h/day, >0 to ≤1 h/day, >1 to ≤2 h/day, and >2 h/day. Demographic and psychiatric symptoms were recorded for each respondent. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for several types of psychological problems and self-harm were calculated.
Results: More than 2 h per school day television watching was associated with higher risk of depression in both boys (OR = 1.33, 95%CI: 1.02–1.73) and girls (OR = 1.62, 95%CI: 1.19–2.21), of anxiety in boys (OR = 1.43, 95%CI: 1.05–1.95), of general emotional, behavioral, and social problems (GEBSPs; OR = 1.55, 95%CI: 1.01–2.39), and of oppositional defiant problems (OR = 1.65, 95% CI: 1.09–2.50) in girls, compared with no television exposure. Conversely, television exposure of no more than 1 h per school day was associated with lower self-harm risk in boys (OR = 0.81, 95%CI: 0.67–0.99) compared with no television exposure. High school day VG/CU time (>2 h) compared with no VG/CU were associated with higher risks of anxiety (OR = 1.40, 95%CI: 1.06–1.86) and of attention deficit/hyperactivity problems (ADHPs; OR = 1.56, 95%CI: 1.02–2.38) in boys. And any school day VG/CU exposure was associated with higher risks of self-harm and all other psychiatric problems in boys and all psychiatric problems (including anxiety and ADHPs) in girls (ORs, 1.44–3.69), compared to no VG/CU exposure.
Conclusion: For secondary school students, associations of psychiatric problems and self-harm were more strongly associated with exposure to VG/CU than with exposure to television. The findings suggest that VG/CU and television exposure on weekdays should be considered in psychiatric interventions for adolescents.
PMCID: PMC4842926  PMID: 27199811
sedentary behavior; physical activity; depression; anxiety; attention deficit/hyperactivity; oppositional defiant; conduct problems; suicide
24.  Intervention effects on physical activity: the HEIA study - a cluster randomized controlled trial 
Although school-based interventions to promote physical activity in adolescents have been suggested in several recent reviews, questions have been raised regarding the effects of the strategies and the methodology applied and for whom the interventions are effective. The aim of the present study was to investigate effects of a school-based intervention program: the HEalth in Adolescents (HEIA) study, on change in physical activity, and furthermore, to explore whether potential effects varied by gender, weight status, initial physical activity level and parental education level.
This was a cluster randomized controlled 20 month intervention study which included 700 11-year-olds. Main outcome-variable was mean count per minute (cpm) derived from ActiGraph accelerometers (Model 7164/GT1M). Weight and height were measured objectively. Adolescents reported their pubertal status in a questionnaire and parents reported their education level on the consent form. Linear mixed models were used to test intervention effects and to account for the clustering effect of sampling by school.
The present study showed an intervention effect on overall physical activity at the level of p = 0.05 with a net effect of 50 cpm increase from baseline to post intervention in favour of the intervention group (95% CI −0.4, 100). Subgroup analyses showed that the effect appeared to be more profound among girls (Est 65 cpm, CI 5, 124, p = 0.03) and among participants in the low-activity group (Est 92 cpm, CI 41, 142, p < 0.001), as compared to boys and participants in the high-activity group, respectively. Furthermore, the intervention affected physical activity among the normal weight group more positively than among the overweight, and participants with parents having 13–16 years of education more positively than participants with parents having either a lower or higher number of years of education. The intervention seemed to succeed in reducing time spent sedentary among girls but not among boys.
A comprehensive but feasible, multi-component school-based intervention can affect physical activity patterns in adolescents by increasing overall physical activity. This intervention effect seemed to be more profound in girls than boys, low-active adolescents compared to high-active adolescents, participants with normal weight compared to the overweight, and for participants with parents of middle education level as opposed to those with high and low education levels, respectively. An implementation of the HEIA intervention components in the school system may have a beneficial effect on public health by increasing overall physical activity among adolescents and possibly among girls and low-active adolescents in particular.
PMCID: PMC3598379  PMID: 23379535
Obesity prevention; Overweight; Accelerometers; Intervention; Children; Adolescents
25.  Two-year longitudinal health-related fitness, anthropometry and body composition status amongst adolescents in Tlokwe Municipality: The PAHL Study 
To evaluate a two-year longitudinal development of health-related fitness, anthropometry and body composition status amongst adolescents in Tlokwe Municipality, Potchefstroom, South Africa.
A total of 283 high-school learners (111 boys and 172 girls) of ages 14 and 15 years who were part of the ongoing Physical Activity and Health Longitudinal Study (PAHLS) participated in the study. For the purpose of the present study, data collected for 2011 and 2012 for anthropometric, body composition and health-related physical fitness were used.
Body mass index (BMI) classification of boys and girls for 2011 and 2012 showed that 24.3% of them were underweight compared with 21% in 2012. In 2011, 50% of boys and girls had normal body weight compared with 52% in 2012, whilst 25.5% of the total group of participants were overweight compared with 27% in 2012. Both boys and girls showed significant increases of 5.9% in body fat (BF) and 3.2 kg in body weight over two years’ measurements, respectively. Regarding health-related fitness (i.e BAH), boys showed an increase of 14.8 seconds whilst girls gained 9.6 seconds. Significant decreases were found for sit-ups in both boys and girls. A significant VO2max increase of 2.9 mL/kg/min. was found in boys over the time period. A non-significant decrease of −0.5 mL/kg/min. was observed in girls. Regression coefficients showed that changes in BMI were inversely associated with those in health-related physical fitness. The changes in percentage BF were negatively associated with standing broad jump (SBJ), bent arm hang (BAH) and VO2 max in both boys and girls. A low significant positive association was found between changes in waist-to-height ratio (WHtR) and SBJ in both genders, whilst inverse low associations were found between WHtR and BAH in girls and for VO2max in both genders.
Changes in BMI, %BF and WHtR were negatively associated with strength and running performances in the participating children. The relative increase in overweight, especially in girls, negatively affected their endurance running and static strength performances. The health implications of the observed findings are discussed and recommendations offered for physical activity intervention in school physical education (PE) programmes.
PMCID: PMC4656917  PMID: 26842513

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