The effects of student, school and neighborhood poverty on the association between fitness and absenteeism in New York City middle school youth.
Recent research demonstrates that youth fitness improvements are associated with lower absenteeism. This study assessed whether the effects of poverty on the longitudinal fitness-absenteeism relationship are consistent across poverty measures at the student, school, and neighborhood levels and across sex in New York City (NYC) public school youth individually followed over 4 years. Negative binomial longitudinal mixed models with random-intercepts were developed stratified by five dichotomized student, school and neighborhood poverty measures and sex to test the change in fitness-lagged absenteeism relationship in six cohorts of NYC middle school students (2006/7-2012/13). Models were adjusted for individual-level race/ethnicity, place of birth, change in obesity status, grade, time, and school size. The sample included 360,743 students (51% male, 39% Hispanic, 28% non-Hispanic black, 69% qualifying for free/reduced price school meals). Adjusted estimates showed an inverse dose-response fitness-absenteeism relationship in high poverty youth across all poverty measures, including the student, school and neighborhood levels. For example, in girls exposed to high poverty based on school neighborhood, absenteeism decreased by 11.3% (IRR = -0.12, 95% CI: -0.20, -0.04), 10.4% (IRR = -0.11, 95% CI: -0.21, -0.02), 6.8% (IRR = -0.07, 95% CI: -0.14, 0.00) and 4.9% (IRR = -0.05, 95% CI: -0.15, 0.04) for students who had a >20% increase, 10-20% increase, <10% change, and 10-20% decrease in fitness from the prior year, respectively, relative to the reference group (>20% decrease in fitness). Future research should explore the impact of tailored interventions for youth that aim to promote youth physical activity at each of the individual, school and neighborhood levels, and particularly among high poverty subgroups.
D'Agostino, EM; Day, SE; Konty, KJ; Larkin, M; Wyka, K
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