Weight Status and Diet/Physical Activity Self-Perception in After-School Physical Activity Clubs

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Exhibit Hall Poster Area 2 (Convention Center)
Noel Kulik1, Agata Zalewska1, Nathan A. McCaughtry1, Alex C. Garn2, Kimberly Maljak1, Laurel L. Whalen1, Michele Kaseta1, Jeffrey Martin1 and Bo Shen1, (1)Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, (2)Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA

Background/Purpose After-school Physical Activity Clubs (PACs) can create opportunities for students at-risk for being physically inactive, especially urban, low SES females and non-athletes vulnerable to weight gain. Understanding weight perceptions, diet/physical activity (PA) self-efficacy may provide an avenue in which to intervene. This study used social learning theory to understand the role of self-efficacy in diet/PA behaviors.

Method PACs targeted inactive youth with one-hour sessions of healthy eating “chalk talks” and non-competitive exercise. Over seven months, PACs in six inner-city high schools averaged 44 sessions per club. Participants (N=222; 76% female) were 15.4 years and 87% African-American. Pre-program questionnaires included: Self-Efficacy for PA Scale, the Eating Self-Efficacy Scale, and questions on school, family and media emphasis on diet/PA.

Analysis/Results 58% of students were under/normal weight, while 42% were overweight/obese at T1. Weight groups did not differ by perception of family, school and media emphasis on PA and obesity/overweight, nor did groups differ if they were trying to lose/stay the same weight. Surprisingly, normal weight students reported more difficulty eating healthy after arguments (p = .013) or when frustrated (p = .005), and had higher levels of self-dissatisfaction. There were no differences in PA self-efficacy between groups.

Conclusions Findings could suggest normal weight students may be more self-aware of emotional responses and subsequent food intake, even though they report having difficulty making healthy choices in challenging situations. Future studies should examine these relationships more closely to understand how best to support all students in improving diet and exercise behaviors.