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Open Access Research

Family and home correlates of children's physical activity in a multi-ethnic population: the cross-sectional child heart and health study in england (CHASE)

Alison M McMinn1*, Esther MF van Sluijs1, Claire M Nightingale2, Simon J Griffin1, Derek G Cook2, Chris G Owen2, Alicja R Rudnicka2 and Peter H Whincup2

Author Affiliations

1 Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge, UK

2 Community Health Sciences, St George's University of London, London, UK

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2011, 8:11  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-11

Published: 15 February 2011

Abstract

Background

The influence of the family and home environment on childhood physical activity (PA) and whether this differs between ethnic groups remains uncertain. This paper investigates associations between family and home factors and childhood PA in a multi-ethnic population and explores whether associations differ between ethnic groups.

Methods

Cross-sectional study of 9-10 year-old schoolchildren, in which PA was objectively measured by Actigraph GT1 M accelerometers for ≤7 days to estimate average activity counts per minute (CPM). Information on 11 family and home environmental factors were collected from questionnaires. Associations between these factors and CPM were quantified using multi-level linear regression. Interactions with ethnicity were explored using likelihood ratio tests.

Results

2071 children (mean ± SD age: 9.95 ± 0.38 years; 47.8% male) participated, including 25% white European, 28% black African-Caribbean, 24% South Asian, and 24% other ethnic origin. Family PA support and having a pet were associated with higher average CPM (adjusted mean difference: 6 (95%CI:1,10) and 13 (95%CI:3,23), respectively) while car ownership and having internet access at home were associated with lower average CPM (adjusted mean difference: -19 (95%CI:-30,-8) and -10 (95%CI:-19,0), respectively). These associations did not differ by ethnicity. Although the number of siblings showed no overall association with PA, there was some evidence of interaction with ethnicity (p for ethnicity interaction = 0.04, 0.05 in a fully-adjusted model); a positive significant association with number of siblings was observed in white Europeans (per sibling CPM difference 10.3 (95% CI 1.7, 18.9)) and a positive non-significant association was observed in black African-Caribbeans (per sibling CPM difference: 3.5 (-4.2, 11.2)) while a negative, non-significant association was observed in South Asians (per sibling CPM difference -6.0 (-15.5, 3.4)).

Conclusions

Some family and home environmental factors have modest associations with childhood PA and these are mostly similar across different ethnic groups. This suggests that targeting these factors in an intervention to promote PA would be relevant for children in different ethnic groups.