Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Science (MS)

Other Degree Name/Area of Focus

Health Promotion

Department or School/College

Department of Health and Human Performance

Committee Chair

Blakely D. Brown

Commitee Members

Curtis Noonan, Kari Jo Harris, Laura Dybdal


Adolescent, American Indian, Behavior, Knowledge, Nutrition, Parent, Physical Activity, Support


University of Montana


Type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is a growing health concern among American Indian populations. Many behavioral risk factors for T2DM are influenced by the family unit. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess the influence of certain parent/guardian variables on youth type 2 diabetes risk factors. Methods: The parents/guardians of 10-14 year old Northern Plains American Indian youth (n=37) were surveyed regarding their knowledge for physical activity and nutrition, support behaviors for physical activity and nutrition in their youth, and their individual physical activity and nutrition behaviors. Youth variables including physical activity behavior, dietary behavior, and body mass index percentile-for-age (BMI %ile) were also collected. Results: Higher levels of parent/guardian physical activity support were correlated with higher youth BMI %ile (r= 0.433, p=0.013). Parent/guardian nutrition support was also significantly correlated with higher youth BMI %ile as well (r=0.406, p=0.021). Parent/guardian physical activity support and nutrition support were not significantly correlated (p>0.05) with youth physical activity behavior or dietary behavior. Parent/guardian knowledge about physical activity and nutrition was not associated with youth physical activity, youth dietary intake, or youth BMI %ile. Parent/guardian nutrition behaviors and physical activity behaviors were also not significantly correlated with youth physical activity, dietary intake, or BMI %ile. Discussion: The results for parent/guardian support to be associated with higher youth BMI %ile were unexpected and deserve attention in future research to evaluate the motivating forces behind parent/guardian support of youth physical activity and nutrition. Although parents/guardians have an influential role in the lives of adolescents, this role did not translate broadly to measurable outcomes concerning T2DM risk factors for the 10-14 year old Northern Plains American Indian youth in the study. While this study was not conclusive regarding the influence of parent/guardian factors on youth disease risk factors, this topic merits further research in light of the increasing incidence of T2DM among American Indian youth.



© Copyright 2009 Christiana Lea Ricci