Implications of race and ethnicity for child physical activity and social connections at summer care programs


Latinx and African American children are disproportionately affected by obesity and often do not engage in enough physical activity (PA) to yield health benefits. Because children are less active during the summer compared to the school year, summer care programs can provide structure and social support needed for PA promotion. The purpose of this study was to examine how race/ethnicity relate to social connections and PA within a summer care program. Children self-reported race/ethnicity, PA, and friends at a summer care program before and after summer. PA did not significantly differ based on race/ethnicity or time. Additionally, children were more likely to make friends with and remain friends with those of the same race/ethnicity throughout the summer. PA was also related to a child’s social connections at the end of summer regardless of race/ethnicity. Using active play to connect children may promote diverse friend networks at these programs.

Child and Youth Services Review