Date of Award

12-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Exercise Science

Major Professor

Eugene Fitzhugh

Committee Members

Carol Costello, David Bassett

Abstract

Background: Productive sedentary-to-light activity pursuits may enhance the relationship between positive health behaviors, like physical activity and sufficient fruit and vegetable intake, and weight status. The purpose of this study is to examine whether participation in a creative, problem-solving program is related to overweight/obesity, other sedentary pursuits, physical activity, and diet.

Methods: This study describes select health behaviors that are believed to be related to body weight status for 1,679 adolescents in grades 6-12 participating in the 2008 Destination Imagination (DI) Global Finals. Dietary, physical activity (PA), and sedentary behavior data was collected via self-reported survey based on the 2007 Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Measured height and weight data were collected to calculate BMI percentile. Using multinomial regression, models were constructed to predict the likelihood of being overweight/obesity compared to normal weight.

Results: The prevalence of overweight in the study population was 15.6% and obese was 11.4%. Fruit/vegetable intake, milk consumption, moderate/vigorous PA, television time, and total screen time (ST) were all independently associated with weight status. After controlling for all covariates, male gender, minority racial/ethnic status, and high ST while not meeting the PA recommendation significantly increased the likelihood of overweight/obesity. DI exposure does not appear to be independently associated with, nor influence the relationship between, the above variables and the risk of overweight/obesity.

Conclusion: The participants in the current study are leaner and engage in healthier behaviors compared to national data for adolescents. Even among these low risk adolescents, the interaction between sedentary and physical activity behavior, presented as an interactive measure, was strongly associated with weight status.

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