Document Type



Behaviors such as sedentariness, poor nutritional choices and inadequate sleeping put youth at risk of illnesses. Although health and physical education programs are structured to promote the development of various health and physical skills, they are constantly faced with challenges to their continual existence. As such, issues related to body composition ensue and manifest differently across gender and race/ethnicity. This study aimed at examining the relationships between multiple youth risk behaviors and body composition. In addition, gender and racial/ethnic differences between white and black high school students were examined. Bivariate and multivariate examinations of physical activity, dietary behavior, sleep in relation to Body Mass Index (BMI) percentiles, was followed by a comparison of two data sets of the 2013 YRBS (n= 13, 363) and 2015 YRBS (n= 15, 624). The results revealed an existence of gender differences in relationships between physical activity, dietary behavior, sleep duration and BMI percentiles with significant associations in male high school students but not their female counterparts in both data sets. There were no racial differences in the strength of these relationships between Black or African American and White or Caucasian high school students. These findings corroborate the need for gender based interventions and further analyses based on non-subjective measures of those health-risk behaviors, in order to fully understand the relationships. In addition, family, school and community based interventions to the physical inactivity, poor nutrition and poor sleep habits are warranted, and should encircle strategies from various stakeholders.

Publication Date

November 2018

Publication Title

International Journal of Sports Science





First Page




Included in

Psychology Commons