Physical activity differences between children from migrant and native origin

Wim Labree*, Freek Lotters, Dike van de Mheen, Frans Rutten, Ana Rivera Chavarria, Madelon Neve, Gerda Rodenburg, Honorine Machielsen, Gerrit Koopmans, Marleen Foets

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: 

Children from migrant origin are at higher risk for overweight and obesity. As limited physical activity is a key factor in this overweight and obesity risk, in general, the aim of this study is to assess to what degree children from migrant and native Dutch origin differ with regard to levels of physical activity and to determine which home environment aspects contribute to these differences.

Methods: 

A cross-sectional survey among primary caregivers of primary school children at the age of 8-9 years old (n = 1943) from 101 primary schools in two urban areas in The Netherlands. We used bivariate correlation and multivariate regression techniques to examine the relationship between physical and social environment aspects and the child's level of physical activity. All outcomes were reported by primary caregivers. Outcome measure was the physical activity level of the child. Main independent variables were migrant background, based on country of birth of the parents, and variables in the physical and social home environment which may enhance or restrict physical activity: the availability and the accessibility of toys and equipment, as well as sport club membership (physical environment), and both parental role modeling, and supportive parental policies (social environment). We controlled for age and sex of the child, and for socio-economic status, as indicated by educational level of the parents.

Results: 

In this sample, physical activity levels were significantly lower in migrant children, as compared to children in the native population. Less physical activity was most often seen in Turkish, Moroccan, and other non-western children (p <.05).

Conclusions: 

Although traditional home characteristics in both the physical, and the social environment are often associated with child's physical activity, these characteristics provided only modest explanation of the differences in physical activity between migrant and non-migrant children in this study. The question arises whether interventions aimed at overweight and obesity should have to focus on home environmental characteristics with regard to physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number819
Number of pages9
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Child health
  • Transients and migrants
  • Physical activity
  • Parenting
  • The Netherlands
  • BODY-MASS INDEX
  • CHILDHOOD OBESITY
  • SOCIOECONOMIC POSITION
  • HISPANIC ETHNICITY
  • PRESCHOOL-CHILDREN
  • SEDENTARY BEHAVIOR
  • WOMENS ATTITUDES
  • SCHOOL-CHILDREN
  • OVERWEIGHT
  • HEALTH

Cite this

Labree, W., Lotters, F., van de Mheen, D., Rutten, F., Chavarria, A. R., Neve, M., Rodenburg, G., Machielsen, H., Koopmans, G., & Foets, M. (2014). Physical activity differences between children from migrant and native origin. BMC Public Health, 14, [819]. https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-14-819