The influence of wanting to look like media figures on adolescent physical activity

Elsie M. Taveras, Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, Alison E. Field, A. Lindsay Frazier, Graham A. Colditz, Matthew W. Gillman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose To examine the association of adolescents' wanting to look like figures in the media with physical activity levels. Methods Cross-sectional mailed survey of 11,606 boys and girls, between the ages of 9 and 16 years, participating in the Growing Up Today Study in 1997. Participants reported detailed information on physical activities over the previous year, and the degree to which they were trying to look like same-sex images in television, movies, and magazines. We performed linear regression modeling to assess the independent effects of wanting to look like figures in the media on physical activity levels. Results Mean total weekly physical activity levels were 12.4 hours in girls and 15.2 hours in boys. 3019 (46%) girls and 1360 (27%) boys reported making at least some effort to look like figures in the media. Adjusted for age, body mass index, sexual maturity rating, and race/ethnicity, total physical activity levels were higher by 0.7 (95% CI 0.5-0.9) and 1.2 (95% CI 0.9-1.6) hours per week in girls and boys, respectively, for every 1 (out of 5) category increase in wanting to look like figures in the media. Adjustment for intrapersonal and social confounders modestly attenuated the associations. Conclusions Wanting to look like figures in the media was associated with higher physical activity levels among older children and adolescents, independent of other personal and social influences. These data suggest that television, movie, and magazine industries should be encouraged to cultivate and reinforce realistic and healthy norms of physical activity and body image.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-50
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Volume35
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2004

Keywords

  • Adolescents
  • Gender differences
  • Media
  • Physical activity

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The influence of wanting to look like media figures on adolescent physical activity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this