Is social support during physical education lessons associated with body mass index status, gender and age?
There are findings suggesting that social support could impact the physical activity (PA) levels of adolescents, depending on age and biological gender. Simultaneously, some studies report the relationship between social support and Body Mass Index (BMI) status. Because of the limited information available regarding the influence of social support regarding students of different ages, BMI status and gender, this study examined the associations between two social support sources (classmates and physical education [PE] teachers) and BMI status among the youth in Poznan, Poland. Body mass and height of 284 adolescents (girls=136; boys=148) aged 10-17.5 years were measured. BMI was used to classify participants as underweight, normal weight and overweight. Classmate and Teacher Support Scales were used to determine the level of social support. Descriptive statistics, a three-way ANOVA, and Tuckey’s HSD post hoc test were applied. Findings indicated a statistically significant two-way interaction effect of age and BMI status on classmate support (p<0.002) and also on PE teacher support (p<0.03). The results provide a better understanding of age-related and BMI status-related changes in social support received by students during PE lessons and might provide a basis for the future teaching context of PE students.
Keywords: Body Mass Index; Classmate support; Teacher support; Gender; Age; Youth