Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 246–253 | Cite as

Correlates of Physical Activity Differ by Sex and Country of Birth Among Mexican-Heritage Youth

  • Anna V. Wilkinson
  • Erline E. Miller
  • Laura M. Koehly
  • Carrie R. Daniel
  • Michele R. Forman
Original Paper


Barriers to physical activity (PA) may be experienced differently by sex and country of birth. We examine psychosocial correlates of PA in four groups based on sex (boy/girl) and country of birth [Mexico/United States (U.S.)]. 1154 Mexican heritage adolescents residing in Houston, Texas provided psychosocial data in 2008–09 and PA (number of days per week active for at least 60 min) in 2010–11 (N = 1001). Poisson regression models were fitted for each groups. Among boys, English language preference (p US-born  = 0.045, p Mexico-born  = 0.008) and higher subjective social status (p US-born  = 0.002, p Mexico-born  = 0.031) were associated with increased PA. Body image dissatisfaction was associated with decreased PA in Mexico-born girls (p = 0.007). Sensation-seeking tendencies were associated with increased PA among all groups; anxiety was associated with decreased PA among all but U.S.-born boys. Tailoring PA interventions to key sex-specific psychosocial correlates rather than country of birth may enhance efficacy of interventions to increase PA levels among Mexican heritage adolescents.


Physical activity Acculturation Childhood obesity Immigrant 



We thank the field staff for their on-going work with participant recruitment and follow-up. Most importantly, we thank our study participants and their parents for their cooperation and participation, without which this research would not be possible.


This research is supported by the National Cancer Institute grants [CA105203 to MRS, CA126988 to AVW]. The Mexican–American Cohort receives funds collected pursuant to the Comprehensive Tobacco Settlement of 1998 and appropriated by the 76th legislature to The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center; from the Caroline W. Law Fund for Cancer Prevention, and the Dan Duncan Family Institute for Risk Assessment and Cancer Prevention. The funders did not contribute to the design and conduct of the study, the data collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data, the preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna V. Wilkinson
    • 1
  • Erline E. Miller
    • 1
    • 2
  • Laura M. Koehly
    • 3
  • Carrie R. Daniel
    • 4
  • Michele R. Forman
    • 5
  1. 1.Michael and Susan Dell Center for Healthy LivingThe University of Texas School of Public HealthAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of EpidemiologyUniversity of North Carolina – Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  3. 3.National Human Genome Research InstituteUS National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA
  4. 4.Division of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences, Department of EpidemiologyThe University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer CenterHoustonUSA
  5. 5.School of Human EcologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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