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MInority Children More Sedentary, US Study

Update Date: Aug 04, 2014 05:47 PM EDT

Ethnic children are more likely than U.S.-born white children to be sedentary, according to new research.

Researcher Rachel Kimbro, an associated Professor of sociology at Rice University, said that the latest findings suggest healthcare providers and parents of minority children should help encourage physical activity.

The latest findings from the study "Neighborhood Context and Immigrant Children's Physical Activity," revealed that even after accounting for confounding factors, researchers found that children of immigrants from all racial and ethnic backgrounds have lower levels of exercise than U.S.-born white children.

For instance, children of Asian immigrants were nearly three times as likely to have lower levels of physical activity and those of Hispanic immigrants and those of unspecified ethnicity are nearly two times as likely to be sedentary.

The latest study, which involved 17,510 participants between 1998 and 1999, also revealed that U.S.-born white children have higher rates of physical activity than minority American-born children.  However, the gap between minority and white children is smaller than the gap between children of immigrants.

The study revealed that American-born black children are 1.35, American-born Hispanic children are 1.23 times and American-born children of unspecified ethnicities are 1.52 times more likely to be sedentary.

"Children in immigrant families are at particular risk for low levels of physical activity, which we were unable to explain with a host of factors relating to family and neighborhood characteristics," Kimbro said in a news release.

"These children comprise a growing population of American youth, and failing to address the low levels of physical activity among this group could have important long-term health consequences as this population transitions into adolescence and adulthood," lead researcher Mackenzie Brewer, a doctoral student in sociology at Rice University, said in a news release.

The findings are published in the journal Social Science and Medicine.

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