Correlates of physical activity in First Nations youth residing in First Nations and northern communities in Canada
Physical activity (PA) can help youth achieve balance among physical, mental, emotional and spiritual dimensions of health. The objective of this project was to identify individual, family and community factors associated with PA among First Nations (FN) youth residing in on-reserve and northern FN communities. Participants were 4,837 youth (12-17 years of age) responding to the 2008/10 First Nations Regional Health Survey. Through in-person interviews, youth responded to questions about moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), participation in traditional physical activities, and individuallevel, family and community factors. When averaged across all days of the year, 65% of FN youth accumulated at least 60 min/day of MVPA and 48% of youth participated in at least one traditional FN PA in the previous year. Being male, having a lower number of chronic conditions, living in balance physically, living with at least one biological parent, having more relatives help youth understand their culture, having more community challenges and having more leisure/recreation facilities were independently associated with an increased likelihood of accumulating ≥60 min of MVPA. Younger age, being male, knowledge and use of FN language, living in balance spiritually, living with at least one biological parent, having more relatives help youth understand their culture, living in a community of ≤300 people, and perceiving the natural environment and community health programs as strengths were independently associated with participation in traditional FN physical activities. There are several correlates of PA from diverse ecological levels among FN youth.