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Why do some Mexican parents discourage teens' physical activity?
Date:12/5/2011

arciaand a host of students to join the project, along with Mexican colleagues, forming the Up Amigos collaboration. (Up Amigos is an acronym for the University of San Luis Potosί and Illinois: A Multidisciplinary Investigation on Genetics, Obesity, and the Social Environment.)

The researchers were given access to data from the applicants' physical exams and were asked to formulate questions for the surveys that aspiring students complete. They hope to establish a data set that can be used to learn more about obesity, diabetes, and healthy family functioning in Mexican students and their families. But she also wants to understand more about how Latino culture and attitudes affect young people's health and fitness.

Each year since 2008, Up Amigos has received new data, and Wiley took the lead in publishing some initial findings in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

In the study, 3,908 16- to 25-year-old applicants to the University of San Luis Potosί answered questions about their own physical activity, their parents' perceived physical activity, and their family's influence on exercise and fitness. Because students in Mexico usually live at home while attending college, family influence may be a bigger factor that it would be in other countries.

Of the students in this pilot study, 61 percent reported that they were physically active, although only about 40 percent reported having physically active parents.

"If the teens believed their parents were active, they too were likely to enjoy and participate in various forms of exercise. The surprise was that we expected to find parents supporting their sons' and daughters' physical activity. Instead physically active applicants reported more conflict about exercise at home," she said.

Wiley said that a significant number of teens reapply to the university in successive years, giving the researchers the basis for a longitudinal study. "In these cases,
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Contact: Phyllis Picklesimer
p-pickle@illinois.edu
217-244-2827
University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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