Physical activity attitudes, preferences, and practices in African American, Hispanic, and Caucasian girls

Mira Grieser, Maihan B. Vu, Ariane L. Bedimo-Rung, Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, Jamie Moody, Deborah Rohm Young, Stacey G. Moe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Physical activity levels in girls decline dramatically during adolescence, most profoundly among minorities. To explore ethnic and racial variation in attitudes toward physical activity, semistructured interviews (n = 80) and physical activity checklists (n = 130) are conducted with African American. Hispanic, and Caucasian middle school girls in six locations across the United States. Girls from all groups have similar perceptions of the benefits of physical activity, with staying in shape as the most important. Girls have similar negative perceptions of physical activity, including getting hurt, sweating, aggressive players, and embarrassment. Chores, running or jogging, exercises, and dance are common activities for girls regardless of ethnicity. Basketball, swimming, running, and dance are commonly cited favorite activities, although there are slight differences between ethnic groups. The results suggest that factors other than ethnicity contribute to girls' physical activity preferences and that distinct interventions may not be needed for each ethnic group.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-51
Number of pages12
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Adolescent girls
  • African American girls
  • Caucasian girls
  • Ethnic variation
  • Hispanic girls
  • Physical activity
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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