Journal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities

, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp 1365–1372 | Cite as

Variability in Weight Concern and Physical Activity Engagement Among African American Adolescent Girls

  • Stephanie M. McClure
  • Travis M. Loux


Lower rates of recreational physical activity (PA) among African American (AA) adolescent girls relative to other US age/race/gender groups are assumed to reflect within-race similarity in PA attitudes and practices. However, variability in PA attitudes and practices among AA adolescent girls is not well studied. To address this, a class-diverse sample of 51 AA adolescent girls’ responses to survey items querying weight concern (WC) and PA was examined for sub-groupings using cluster analysis. Three clusters were identified [L/H—low WC, high PA; H/L—high WC, low PA; and L/L—low WC and PA]. Survey item response means were examined by cluster. L/L differed visibly, but not significantly, from L/H and H/L on items assessing PA engagement. The same was true for H/L with WC items. Cluster identification and trends in response differences by cluster have potential implications for targeted PA promotion efforts. Further investigation with larger, representative samples is warranted.


African American Adolescent girls Physical activity Weight concern Family gender norms 



The research was funded by the Cultural and Physical Anthropology Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant Committees; Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Division; National Science Foundation (DDIG 0922436).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© W. Montague Cobb-NMA Health Institute 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Behavioral Science/Health Education, College for Public Health and Social JusticeSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biostatistics, College for Public Health and Social JusticeSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA

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