Health attitudes and behaviors of African American adolescents

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Lewis, Rhonda K.
Paschal, Angelia M.
Redmond, Michelle L.
Green, B. Lee
Carmack, Chakema C.

Journal of community health. 2008 Oct; 33(5): 351-6.


African Americans continue to die disproportionately from chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. Eating fruits and vegetables have been shown to reduce those risks yet little is known about the health attitudes of African American adolescents and their eating habits and engagement in physical activity. A survey was administered to African American adolescents in a Midwestern city to determine the health attitudes and behaviors related to dietary intake and physical activity. The total sample consisted of 448 African American adolescents aged 12-17. Forty-seven percent were males and 53% were females. The findings show that African American adolescents did have poor fruit and vegetable intake and fairly low rates of exercise. The study also showed there were statistically significant differences between males and females regarding eating a balanced diet, reducing the amount of fat in diets and engaging in physical activity. African American females were more likely to eat a balanced diet and have reduced the fat in their diets than males but African American males were more likely to engage in physical activity in the past 7 days than females. Findings suggest more efforts are needed to curb the poor eating and exercising habits of African American adolescents if a reduction in chronic disease is to be met for this population.

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