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Longitudinal effects of parental, child and neighborhood factors on moderate-vigorous physical activity and sedentary time in Latino children

Nancy F Butte1*, Steven E Gregorich2, Jeanne M Tschann3, Carlos Penilla3, Lauri A Pasch3, Cynthia L De Groat3, Elena Flores4, Julianna Deardorff5, Louise C Greenspan6 and Suzanna M Martinez7

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pediatrics,Baylor College of Medicine, USDA/ARS Children¿s Nutrition Research Center, 1100 Bates Street, Houston 77030-2600, TX, USA

2 Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California at San Francisco, 3333 California St. Ste. 335, San Francisco 94118, CA, USA

3 Department of Psychiatry, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco 94143-0848, CA, USA

4 Counseling Psychology Department, School of Education, University of San Francisco, 2130 Fulton Street, San Francisco 94118, CA, USA

5 Division of Community Health and Human Development, School of Public Health, 50 University Hall, University of California at Berkeley, Berkeley 94720-736, CA, USA

6 Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, Department of Pediatric, 2200 O¿Farrell Street, San Francisco 94115, CA, USA

7 Division of General Pediatrics, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco 94143-0848, CA, USA

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2014, 11:108  doi:10.1186/s12966-014-0108-x

Published: 4 September 2014



Moderate-vigorous physical activity (%MVPA) confers beneficial effects on child musculoskeletal health, cardiovascular fitness, and psychosocial well-being; in contrast, sedentary time (%SED) is emerging as a risk factor for health. This study aimed to identify parental, child and neighborhood factors influencing longitudinal assessments of body mass index (BMI) and activity patterns among Latino children, and to estimate lagged and cross-lagged effects between child BMI, %MVPA and %SED.


A longitudinal design with assessments at baseline, 1 and 2 years follow-up (FU) was used to evaluate the effects of maternal and paternal factors (BMI, age, education level, acculturation, household income and household size), child factors (gender, age, BMI, pubertal status) and neighborhood factors (disorder, victimization) on child BMI, %MVPA and %SED, expressed as a percent of awake time, in 282 Latino children ages 8¿10 y and their parents. This study was restricted to families with a mother and biological father or father figure in the child¿s life.


Across time, total daily accelerometer counts (p?=?0.04) and steps decreased (p?=?0.0001), %SED increased (p?=?0.0001), and %MVPA decreased (p?=?0.02). Moderate lagged effects or tracking was seen for %MVPA and %SED (p?=?0.001). %MVPA varied by gender (5.5% higher in boys than girls, p?=?0.0001); child age (?0.4% per year, p?=?0.03), and child BMI in boys only (?0.22%, p?=?0.0002). Negative effects of paternal age, maternal education and maternal changes in BMI on %MVPA also were seen. %SED increased with child age (2.5% higher per year, p?=?0.0001). Positive effects of paternal acculturation, maternal change in BMI, paternal age, and negative effects of household size on %SED were observed. A cross-lagged positive effect of BMI at FU1 on %SED at FU2 was observed for boys and girls (p?=?0.03). Neighborhood disorder and victimization were not significant predictors of child BMI, %MVPA or %SED.


The major child determinants of physical activity (age, gender and BMI) and minor parental influences (maternal BMI and education, paternal age and acculturation) should be considered in designing interventions to promote %MVPA and reduce %SED among Latino children as they approach adolescence.

Physical activity patterns; Accelerometers; Childhood obesity; Maternal factors; Paternal factors; Education level; Acculturation; Household income; Household size; Environment; Disorder; Victimization