Objective: Physical inactivity is an important modifiable cause of the excess burden of disease among Indigenous Australians. We describe physical activity patterns and influencing factors, comparing Indigenous and non-Indigenous adolescents.
Methods: Indigenous (n=359) and non-Indigenous (n=637) adolescents aged 13–17 years from disadvantaged New South Wales regions completed a health and lifestyle survey. Socio-demographic, social, psychosocial and health correlates of out of school physical activity (high vs. low) among the whole sample, and stratified by Indigenous status were examined.
Results: Only 21% of Indigenous and 28% of non-Indigenous adolescents achieved higher levels of physical activity. Overall, higher levels were associated with being male; sports team membership; lower levels of TV viewing time and having an employed mother. Indigenous girls were less active than boys (OR=0.36; 85%CI=0.24–0.54), as were those whose mothers were unemployed (OR=0.66; 95%CI=0.40–1.09). Among non-Indigenous adolescents, high levels of physical activity were associated with sports team membership (OR=2.28; 95%CI=1.39–3.74) and community involvement (OR=1.46; 95%CI=1.04–2.06).
Conclusions: Physical activity levels were similarly low among disadvantaged Indigenous and non-Indigenous adolescents. Some influencing factors existed across the whole sample; others in stratification by Indigenous status.
Implications for public health: Early and targeted, supportive approaches are necessary. Some apply to disadvantaged adolescents broadly; others are Indigenous or non-Indigenous specific.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health|
|Early online date||13 Dec 2016|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Apr 2017|