Social and Environmental Determinants of Child Physical Activity in a Rural Mexican-Origin Community

Sara E. Schaefer, Rosa Gomez-Camacho, Lisa Martinez, Banafsheh Sadeghi, J. Bruce German, Adela de la Torre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


California’s rural agricultural communities face an increased burden of obesity and metabolic disease. The present objective is to define the social and environmental influences to child obesity and physical activity within Mexican-origin communities in California’s Central Valley. A range of data (anthropometric, socioeconomic, demographic, cultural and environmental) were collected on more than 650 children enrolled in Niños Sanos, Familia Sana. Physical activity data were gathered from a subsample of children 4–7 years of age (n = 148) via accelerometer. Cross sectional analyses explored the relationship between BMI and physical activity and the influence of numerous social and environmental variables. In this sample 45 % of children were determined to be overweight or obese. Boys had a higher daily average moderate-to-vigorous physical activity than girls (p = 0.008). Chi square analyses showed weight status was associated with activity level in girls (p = 0.03) but not boys. Multivariate regression revealed several social and environmental indicators influenced BMI and physical activity (p = 0.004). In this population of school-age children of Mexican-origin, girls may benefit more from targeted efforts to increase MVPA. Family and community support systems may also boost child participation in physical activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-416
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Community Health
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2016


  • Childhood obesity
  • Community health
  • Latino health
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health(social science)


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