2013-07-16Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.3390/ijerph10072944
Distal and Proximal Factors of Health Behaviors and Their Associations with Health in Children and Adolescents
Objective: The aim of the present paper was to analyze factors affecting distal and proximal health behavior within a biopsychosocial model for examining their interactions and associations with respect to health. Methods: Path analysis was based on the nationwide, cross-sectional German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Children and Adolescents (2003 to 2006). The data was collected from 4,529 participants with an average age of 9.45 years (SD = 4.01). Socio-demographic data, psychosocial factors and health behavior were assessed via questionnaire. Participants also underwent physical fitness tests and a medical examination. Results: Over the five levels of the model analyzed with socioeconomic status, immigration background, and rural-urban differences on the first level; physical activity of relatives and peers, intrinsic motivation, and quality of life on the second level; eating patterns, sedentary behavior, and physical activity on the third level; physical fitness and objective health on the fourth level; and health complaints and subjective health on the fifth level; direct, moderation, and mediation effects could be shown. Conclusions: Several distal and proximal factors are needed to take account of the multivariate complexity of health: e.g., immigration background affected health behaviors only indirectly and the effect of physical activity on objective health was mediated by physical fitness.
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