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Uptake of a Universal Sports Subsidy Program for School-Aged Children: A Population Data Analysis

Rachel G. Curtis, Michelle Crisp, Simone Licari, Rosa Virgara, Catherine E.M. Simpson, and Carol A. Maher

Background: Around 40% of Australian children do not participate in sport. Cost is a major barrier to participation, particularly for children from low socioeconomic backgrounds. This study aimed to evaluate the uptake of a population-level children’s sports subsidy scheme, including sociodemographic differences in uptake. Methods: A state-wide cross-sectional analysis comparing sports voucher claimants (primary school-aged children with a valid Medicare or Australian visa number) from the 2019 financial year with population census data from South Australia. Chi-square was used to examine whether the percentage of eligible children who claimed a voucher differed based on age, sex, socioeconomic status (SES), and geographical remoteness. Subgroup analyses were conducted for the lowest 2 socioeconomic disadvantage deciles, split by gender. Scatterplots were used to compare sports between high and low SES children. Results: A total of 74,668 children claimed sports vouchers (45.5% of eligible children). Children who were relatively younger, female, from low socioeconomic backgrounds, and from major cities were least likely to claim the voucher. The 5 most common sports were Australian rules football (30.2%), netball (13.6%), soccer (13.1%), gymnastics (10.4%), and basketball (5.7%), with the popular sports similar for high and low SES children. Conclusions: Future work is needed to understand how Sports Voucher, and sport participation rates have changed over time, and to improve voucher uptake among girls, city dwellers, and low SES children.

Open access

Association Between Sleep Time and Pro- and Anti-Inflammatory Biomarkers Is Mediated by Abdominal Obesity Among Adolescents

Augusto César Ferreira De Moraes, Vanessa Cassia Medeiros-Oliveira, Katie Burford, Beatriz D. Schaan, Katia Bloch, Kênia Mara Baiocchi de Carvalho, Felipe Vogt Cureau, and Marcus Vinicius Nascimento-Ferreira

Objectives: Movement behaviors and abdominal obesity are associated with higher inflammatory biomarkers. However, the role of waist circumference as a mediating factor is still unknown. Thus, our aims were to (1) test the associations between 24-hour movement behavior variables (physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep), abdominal obesity, and pro- and anti-inflammatory biomarkers; and (2) investigate whether abdominal obesity had a mediating effect between the investigated associations. Methods: This multicenter cross-sectional study included 3591 adolescents (aged 12–17 y) from 4 Brazilian cities. Waist circumference (in centimeters; at half the distance between the iliac crest and at the lower costal margin), 24-hour movement behaviors (validated questionnaire), high-sensitive C-reactive protein, and adiponectin (serum plasma) were evaluated. We used multiple mediation regression models (95% confidence interval) to determine if waist circumference mediated the association between 24-hour movement behaviors and pro- and anti-inflammatory biomarkers. Results: The results revealed that screen time and moderate to vigorous physical activity were not associated with pro- or anti-inflammatory biomarkers. However, sleep duration (in hours per day) was negatively associated with pro- (C-reactive protein, β = −0.08; 95% confidence interval, −0.38 to −0.02) and anti- (adiponectin, β = −0.31; 95% confidence interval, −2.13 to −0.12) inflammatory biomarkers. Our results also showed that waist circumference mediated the association between sleep duration and high-sensitive C-reactive protein (2.7%), and adiponectin (2.8%). Conclusion: Sleep duration was inversely associated with pro- and anti-inflammatory biomarkers, and these relations were mediated by abdominal obesity. Therefore, adolescents having healthy sleep can have implications for reducing waist circumference and inflammatory indicators.

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Effect of Aerobic/Strength Training on RANKL Gene DNA Methylation Levels

Ameni Chelly, Amal Bouzid, Fadoua Neifar, Ines Kammoun, Adel Tekari, Saber Masmoudi, Hamdi Chtourou, and Ahmed Rebai

Background: The osteoclastogenesis RANKL gene plays a key role in bone remodeling. The hypomethylation of its promoter region may cause osteoporosis. The present study aimed to elucidate the influence of physical activity on DNA methylation changes of RANKL promoter cytosine-phosphate-guanine (CpG)-rich region in active and sedentary adults and to assess the effect of aerobic and strength training on RANKL DNA methylation changes among Tunisian-North African adults. Methods: A total of 104 participants including 52 adults (58% males and 42% females) and 52 adults (31% males and 69% females) were recruited for the observational and interventional part of the study, respectively. The intervention consisted of 12 weeks of aerobic training (30 min/session) followed by 10 minutes of strengthening exercises. All participants completed the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and provided blood samples for quantitative methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis. Results: The study revealed a significant difference (P = 6 × 10−10) in the methylation level of the RANKL promoter region between active and sedentary adults, with a 6.68-fold increase observed in the active group. After the intervention, both the trained (P = 41 × 10−5) and untrained (P = .002) groups displayed high methylation levels in the RANKL promoter region. In addition, the trained group exhibited significant improvements in heart rate (P = 2.2 × 10−16), blood pressure (P = 39 × 10−3), maximal oxygen uptake (P = 1.5 × 10−7), and fat mass (P = 7 × 10−4). Conclusion: Exploring epigenetic modifications in the RANKL promoter region may contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the complexity of osteoporosis. This suggests that aerobic/strength training could potentially improve the bone system, reducing its vulnerability to osteoporosis by increasing RANKL DNA methylation.

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Neighborhood Places for Preschool Children’s Physical Activity: A Mixed-Methods Study Using Global Positioning System, Geographic Information Systems, and Accelerometry Data

Pulan Bai, Jasper Schipperijn, Michael Rosenberg, and Hayley Christian

Background: This study adds to the current literature by using a novel device-based method to explore where preschool children are physically active outside of home and childcare settings. This study combined accelerometry with geospatial data to explore the influence of the environment on preschool children’s physical activity by objectively identifying the locations where preschool children engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) within and outside of their neighborhood. Methods: Accelerometry, Global Positioning System, and Geographic Information Systems data from 168 preschool children aged 2–5 years were processed in ArcGIS Pro to identify locations (per 25 × 25-m fishnet cell) with high MVPA counts. Locations with high MVPA counts were defined as those with the top 20% of MVPA counts per fishnet cell. The land use for high MVPA count location was determined for 3 domains: <500 m from home, 500 to 1600 m from home, and >1600 m from home. Results: Locations with high MVPA counts <500 m from home were playgrounds (66.6%), schools (16.7%), and parks (16.7%). Locations with high MVPA counts 500 to 1600 m from home included playgrounds (33.3%), nonhome residential (29.6%), childcare centers (11.1%), and parks (3.7%). Locations with high MVPA counts >1600 m from home included nonhome residential (54.7%), sports and recreation centers (11.1%), playgrounds (6.8%), and parks (5.3%). Conclusions: Our findings highlight that local parks and playgrounds provide physical activity opportunities for preschool children, yet beyond the local neighborhood, the homes of others are important locations for preschool children to accumulate MVPA. These findings can be used to inform the design of current and future neighborhood places to better accommodate preschool children’s MVPA.

Free access

The Epidemiology of Domain-Specific Physical Activity in New Zealand Adults: A Nationally Representative Cross-Sectional Survey

Ryan Gage, Anja Mizdrak, Justin Richards, Adrian Bauman, Melissa Mcleod, Rhys Jones, Alistair Woodward, and Caroline Shaw

Background: Surveillance of domain-specific physical activity (PA) helps to target interventions to promote PA. We examined the sociodemographic correlates of domain-specific PA in New Zealand adults. Methods: A nationally representative sample of 13,887 adults completed the International PA Questionnaire–long form in 2019/20. Three measures of total and domain-specific (leisure, travel, home, and work) PA were calculated: (1) weekly participation, (2) mean weekly metabolic energy equivalent minutes (MET-min), and (3) median weekly MET-min among those who undertook PA. Results were weighted to the New Zealand adult population. Results: The average contribution of domain-specific activity to total PA was 37.5% for work activities (participation = 43.6%; median participating MET-min = 2790), 31.9% for home activities (participation = 82.2%; median participating MET-min = 1185), 19.4% for leisure activities (participation = 64.7%; median participating MET-min = 933), and 11.2% for travel activities (participation = 64.0%; median MET-min among participants = 495). Women accumulated more home PA and less work PA than men. Total PA was higher in middle-aged adults, with diverse patterns by age within domains. Māori accumulated less leisure PA than New Zealand Europeans but higher total PA. Asian groups reported lower PA across all domains. Higher area deprivation was negatively associated with leisure PA. Sociodemographic patterns varied by measure. For example, gender was not associated with total PA participation, but men accumulated higher MET-min when taking part in PA than women. Conclusions: Inequalities in PA varied by domain and sociodemographic group. These results should be used to inform interventions to improve PA.

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No Associations Between Physical Activity and Immunogenicity in SARS-CoV-2 Seropositive Patients With Autoimmune Rheumatic Diseases Prior to and After Vaccination

Fabiana Infante Smaira, Bruna Caruso Mazzolani, Ítalo Ribeiro Lemes, Rafael Pires da Silva, Ana J. Pinto, Sofia M. Sieczkowska, Nadia E. Aikawa, Sandra G. Pasoto, Ana C. Medeiros-Ribeiro, Carla G.S. Saad, Emily F.N. Yuk, Clovis A. Silva, Paul Swinton, Leonard de Vinci Kanda Kupa, Pedro C. Hallal, Hamilton Roschel, Bruno Gualano, and Eloisa Bonfa

Aim: To investigate the association between physical activity and immunogenicity among SARS-CoV-2 seropositive patients with autoimmune rheumatic diseases prior to and following a 2-dose schedule of CoronaVac (Sinovac inactivated vaccine). Methods : This was a prospective cohort study within an open-label, single-arm, phase 4 vaccination trial conducted in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In this substudy, only SARS-CoV-2 seropositive patients were included. Immunogenicity was assessed by seroconversion rates of total anti-SARS-CoV-2 S1/S2 immunoglobulin G (IgG), geometric mean titers of anti-S1/S2 IgG, frequency of positive neutralizing antibodies, and neutralizing activity before and after vaccination. Physical activity was assessed through a questionnaire. Model-based analyses were performed controlling for age (<60 or ≥60 y), sex, body mass index (<25, 25–30, and >30 kg/m2), and use of prednisone, immunosuppressants, and biologics. Results: A total of 180 seropositive autoimmune rheumatic disease patients were included. There was no association between physical activity and immunogenicity before and after vaccination. Conclusions: This study suggests that the positive association between physical activity and greater antibody responses seen in immunocompromised individuals following vaccination is overridden by previous SARS-CoV-2 infection, and does not extend to natural immunity.

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Park Area and Physical Activity Among Children and Adolescents: Findings From the Healthy Communities Study

Matthew T. Stewart, Manish Verma, Alisha Rajbhandari, Cathy L. Antonakos, and Natalie Colabianchi

Background: There is currently a nationwide effort to bring parks and green spaces within a 10-minute walk of the home. We examined the association between park area within 1 km of a child’s residence and self-reported park-specific physical activity (PA) along with accelerometer-derived moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Methods: A subsample of K through eighth-grade youth (n = 493) from the Healthy Communities Study reported whether they engaged in park-specific PA during the last 24 hours and wore an accelerometer for up to 7 days. Park area was defined as the percentage of park land in a 1 km Euclidean buffer around the participant’s residence, categorized into quintiles. Analysis consisted of logistic and linear regression modeling with interaction effects that controlled for clustering within communities. Results: Regression models estimated greater park-specific PA for participants in the fourth and fifth quintiles of park land. Age, sex, race ethnicity, and family income were unrelated to park-specific PA. Accelerometer analysis indicated that total MVPA was unrelated to park area. Older children (β = −8.73, P < .001) and girls (β = −13.44, P < .001) engaged in less MVPA. Seasonality significantly predicted both park-specific PA and total MVPA. Conclusion: Increasing park area is likely to improve youth PA patterns, lending support for the 10-minute walk initiative.

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Experiences, Perspectives, and Barriers to Physical Activity Parenting Practices for Chinese Early Adolescents

Youjie Zhang, Ruohong Cao, Cheng Li, Ziying Shi, Hui Sheng, and Yong Xu

Background: Parents play an important role in shaping youth’s lifestyle behaviors. This study aimed to investigate physical activity parenting practices (PAPP) for Chinese early adolescents and compare reporting discrepancies between parents and adolescent boys and girls. Methods: Fifty-five adolescent–parent dyads participated in 16 paired focus group interviews, and an additional 122 dyads completed questionnaire surveys with open-ended questions. Participants were recruited from 3 public middle schools in Suzhou, China. Qualitative data were analyzed inductively using an open-coding scheme. Frequencies of codes were compared by parent–child role and adolescent gender using chi-square tests. Results: Eighteen types of PAPP were identified and grouped into 6 categories: goals/control, structure, parental physical activity participation, communication, support, and discipline. These PAPP were viewed as promotive, preventive, or ineffective. Participants had mixed opinions on the effects of 11 PAPP and identified parental, adolescent, and environmental barriers for parents to promote youth physical activity. Compared with parents, adolescents were more likely to value the effects of setting expectation, scheduling, and coparticipation as well as dislike pressuring, restriction, and punishment. Girls were more likely to favor coparticipation and were more sensitive about negative communication than boys. Parents paid more attention to environmental barriers, whereas adolescents, especially girls, focused more on personal issues. Conclusions: Future studies need to address both positive and negative PAPP as well as perception discrepancies by child–parent role and adolescent gender to generate more evidence to promote parents as favorable socialization agents of youth physical activity.

Free access

Moving Toward the Inclusion of Step-Based Metrics in Physical Activity Guidelines and Surveillance

Jacqueline L. Mair, Elroy J. Aguiar, Emmanuel Stamatakis, and Sarah M. Edney

Free access

Reducing Sedentary Behavior and Increasing Physical Activity Among Low Active, Underserved Adults: A Staircase Approach

Scherezade K. Mama, Erica G. Soltero, and Rodney P. Joseph