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Device-Measured Change in Physical Activity in Primary School Children During the UK COVID-19 Pandemic Lockdown: A Longitudinal Study

James Scales, Jasmine Chavda, Erika Ikeda, Ivelina Tsocheva, Rosamund E. Dove, Helen E. Wood, Harpal Kalsi, Grainne Colligan, Lewis Griffiths, Bill Day, Cheryll Crichlow, Amanda Keighley, Monica Fletcher, Chris Newby, Florian Tomini, Fran Balkwill, Borislava Mihaylova, Jonathan Grigg, Sean Beevers, Sandra Eldridge, Aziz Sheikh, James Gauderman, Frank Kelly, Gurch Randhawa, Ian S. Mudway, Esther van Sluijs, and Christopher J. Griffiths

Background : Lockdown measures, including school closures, due to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused widespread disruption to children’s lives. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of a national lockdown on children’s physical activity using seasonally matched accelerometry data. Methods: Using a pre/post observational design, 179 children aged 8 to 11 years provided physical activity data measured using hip-worn triaxial accelerometers worn for 5 consecutive days prepandemic and during the January to March 2021 lockdown. Multilevel regression analyses adjusted for covariates were used to assess the impact of lockdown on time spent in sedentary and moderate to vigorous physical activity. Results: A 10.8-minute reduction in daily time spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity (standard error: 2.3 min/d, P < .001) and a 33.2-minute increase in daily sedentary activity (standard error: 5.5 min/d, P < .001) were observed during lockdown. This reflected a reduction in daily moderate to vigorous physical activity for those unable to attend school (−13.1 [2.3] min/d, P < .001) during lockdown, with no significant change for those who continued to attend school (0.4 [4.0] min/d, P < .925). Conclusion: These findings suggest that the loss of in-person schooling was the single largest impact on physical activity in this cohort of primary school children in London, Luton, and Dunstable, United Kingdom.

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Launch of the Global Observatory for Physical Education (GoPE!)

João Martins, Marcos Onofre, and Pedro C. Hallal

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Volume 20 (2023): Issue 5 (May 2023)

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An Assessment of State-Level Planning for Physical Activity Promotion in the United States

Harold W. Kohl III, Ashleigh M. Johnson, Erin E. Dooley, Brooke Towner, Russell R. Pate, Kurt Heischmidt, and Eloise M. Elliott

The prevalence and attributable risk of disease due to physical inactivity require it to be made a public health priority. Public health planning allows for prioritization and resource allocation, particularly at the state and local levels. The extent to which state planning efforts for physical activity exist in the United States is unknown. The purpose of this paper is to describe the scope in which physical activity is incorporated in state-level public health plans in the United States, with an emphasis on alignment with the national guidelines and the National Physical Activity Plan. A standardized internet search audit was developed and conducted for each of 50 US states and the District of Columbia between May 2017 and January 2018 to determine the prevalence and characteristics of health planning documents that include physical activity. Data abstracted for analysis used a standardized search protocol that included the components of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the US National Physical Activity Plan. Results found that most states had between 4 and 6 chronic disease prevention and control plans that mention physical activity; however, it was inconsistently aligned with recommendations from both the Guidelines and the National Plan. Only 2 states had stand-alone public health planning documents explicitly dedicated to physical activity promotion. No state planning documents addressed children and adolescents, adults, and older adults simultaneously. To be maximally effective, state public health planning for physical activity should be made a priority and these efforts should align as much as possible with current guidance from the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans and the US National Physical Activity Plan.

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Cross-Lagged Associations Between Physical Activity, Self-Rated Health, and Psychological Resilience Among Older American Adults: A 3-Wave Study

Sunwoo Lee

The current study examined the reciprocal association between psychological resilience, physical activity, and self-rated health in older America adults. A 3-wave cross-lagged panel design was employed using data sampled from the Health and Retirement Study 2010, 2014, and 2018. In total, 8380 older adults, age ranged between 56 and 95 years at the baseline (mean age = 68.06, SD = 7.77), were analyzed. Using structural equation modeling, standardized path coefficients were estimated to determine the relationship between physical activity, self-rated health, and psychological resilience across 2 follow-up points. Cross-lagged analysis revealed that higher levels of physical activity at T1 and T2 were significantly associated with higher levels of self-rated health at T2 and T3, respectively. Self-rated health at T1 and T2 were significantly associated with physical activity at T2 and T3, respectively. Self-rated health and psychological resilience were positively related to one another at each time point. However, relationship between physical activity and psychological resilience was complex across time. Study findings support reciprocal prospective relationship between physical activity and self-rated health and the relationship between self-rated health and psychological resilience.

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Scoping Review of Population-Based Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior in Saudi Arabia

Kelly R. Evenson, Noara Alhusseini, Christopher C. Moore, Mariam M. Hamza, Ada Al-Qunaibet, Severin Rakic, Reem F. Alsukait, Christopher H. Herbst, Reem AlAhmed, Hazzaa M. Al-Hazzaa, and Saleh A. Alqahtani

Background: Saudi Arabia is experiencing rapid development of the built environment and implementing policy changes to promote physical activity (PA) and reduce sedentary behavior (SB) among its population. In light of these developments, this scoping review systematically summarized population levels of PA/SB in Saudi Arabia. Methods: The authors searched 6 databases on December 13, 2021, for articles published in English or Arabic from 2018 to the search date. Studies using population-based sampling in Saudi Arabia and measuring PA/SB were included. Results: Of the 1272 records found, 797 were screened, and 19 studies (9 on children/adolescents age 6–19 y and 10 on adults age 15–75 y) were included. All studies were cross-sectional in design, and 18 studies collected data at only one point in time, ranging from 2009 to 2020. A total of 18 studies relied on self-reporting to assess PA/SB using a variety of questionnaires. Among children/adolescents, approximately 80% to 90% did not attain at least 60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous PA and 50% to 80% engaged in ≥2 hours per day of screen time or SB. Among adults, approximately 50% to 95% had low or insufficient PA (eg, less than meeting PA guidelines) and about half had a sitting time of ≥5 hours per day. Population-based studies were not found among children <10 years and adults >75 years. Conclusions: A high proportion of participants in the reviewed studies did not meet PA recommendations and spent excessive time in SB. Ongoing surveillance efforts for all ages may help identify target populations for interventions and prioritize the national strategy on PA/SB in Saudi Arabia.

Open access

Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Socioeconomic Inequality of Health Behavior Among Japanese Adolescents: A 2-Year Repeated Cross-Sectional Survey

Akira Kyan and Minoru Takakura

Background: Although disparities in socioeconomic status in health behaviors have been highlighted globally, they are not well understood in Japanese adolescents. The purpose of this study was to clarify the changes in socioeconomic disparities in adolescents’ fundamental health behaviors, such as physical activity, screen time (ST), sleep, breakfast intake, and bowel movement before and during COVID-19. Methods: This was a repeated cross-sectional study which used data from the 2019 and 2021 National Sports-Life Survey of Children and Young in Japan. Data of 766 and 725 participants in 2019 and 2021, respectively, were analyzed. Favorable health behaviors were defined as daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) of at least 60 minutes, ST of less than 2 hours, sleep of 8 to 10 hours, daily breakfast intake, and bowel movement frequency of at least once in every 3 days. We calculated the slope index of inequality and relative index of inequality in each health behavior for equivalent household income levels for assessing absolute and relative economic inequalities. Results: Compliance with MVPA and ST recommendation significantly declined from 20.1% and 23.0% in 2019 to 11.7% and 14.9% in 2021, respectively. The slope index of inequality and relative index of inequality increased in MVPA for income levels, but decreased in daily breakfast in 2019 to 2021. Although the widening and narrowing of the disparity were inconclusive for ST, it exacerbated for the higher-income groups. Conclusions: Our study revealed widening of economic disparities in the achievement of recommended MVPA and narrowing of it in breakfast intake among adolescents before and during COVID-19.

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Physical Activity Interventions for Adults Aged 60+ Years in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Scoping Review

Gabriela Cuadra, Juliana S. Oliveira, Marina B. Pinheiro, Anne Tiedemann, Catherine Sherrington, Luiza Pivotto, Saman Khalatbari-Soltani, Sweekriti Sharma, and Nathalia Costa

Background: Most reviews investigating physical activity interventions for older people consider evidence primarily from high-income countries. This review examined physical activity interventions for older people from low- and middle-income countries. Methods: We searched 9 electronic databases to identify randomized controlled trials or quasi-randomized trials studies investigating physical activity interventions for people aged 60+ in low- and middle-income countries. Following study selection, one reviewer extracted relevant data. A second reviewer double-checked the data extraction of a randomly selected sample of interventions (20%). Data were summarized using descriptive statistics. Results: We included 234 studies from 19 countries, investigating 259 distinct physical activity interventions. Studies were mostly conducted in upper middle-income countries (89%), often assessing physical activity interventions through randomized controlled trials (82%). Most studies investigated a mixed population in terms of sex (68%), with a mean age between 65 and 70 years (36%), not selected on the basis of having a specific health condition (55%). The intervention most commonly investigated was structured exercise (63%) and “no intervention” was the most frequent comparator (47%). The outcomes measured more often were intrinsic capacity (59%) and functional ability (51%), whereas physical activity, falls, and social outcomes were rare. Only 2 studies targeted underserved populations. Conclusion: Although we identified a substantial number of randomized controlled trials, most evidence for physical activity interventions for older people in low- and middle-income countries is limited to upper middle-income countries. Gaps identified included interventions targeting populations with underserved backgrounds, using sport as an intervention, and assessing the impact of physical activity interventions on physical activity, falls, and social outcomes.

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Association of Time-of-Day Physical Activity With Incident Cardiovascular Disease: The UK Biobank Study

Tongyu Ma, John R. Sirard, and Lydia Jennings

Introduction: Early morning is characterized by an increased risk of cardiovascular events, a sudden rise in blood pressure, impaired endothelial function, and exacerbated hemodynamic changes during physical activity. The study aims to examine whether the time of day of physical activity is associated with incident cardiovascular disease (CVD). Methods: We prospectively analyzed 83,053 participants in the UK Biobank with objectively measured physical activity and initially free of CVD. Based on the diurnal patterns of physical activity, participants were categorized into 4 groups: early morning (n = 15,908), late morning (n = 22,371), midday (n = 24,764), and evening (n = 20,010). Incident CVD was defined as the first diagnosis of coronary heart disease or stroke. Results: During 197.4 million person-years of follow-up, we identified 3454 CVD cases. After adjusting for the overall acceleration average, the hazard ratios and 95% confidence intervals were 0.95 (0.86–1.07) for late morning, 1.15 (1.03–1.27) for midday, and 1.03 (0.92–1.15) for evening, as compared with the early morning group. In the joint analyses, higher levels of physical activity were associated with a lower risk of incident CVD in a similar manner across the early morning, late morning, and evening groups. However, the beneficial association was attenuated in the midday group. Conclusion: In conclusion, early morning, late morning, and evening are all favorable times of day to engage in physical activity for the primary prevention of CVD, while midday physical activity is associated with an increased risk of CVD compared with early morning physical activity after controlling for the levels of physical activity.

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Beyond Individual Cognitions: Time for Intervention Science to Focus on Health Context and Audience

Aïna Chalabaev, Boris Cheval, Silvio Maltagliati, Ilyes Saoudi, and Falko F. Sniehotta

Intervention science faces a hazardous paradox: on the one hand, vulnerable populations (eg, patients, people from low socioeconomic background, older adults) are those for whom adoption of healthy behaviors is most urgent; on the other hand, behavior change models are less predictive, and interventions less successful, in these populations. This commentary presents 4 reasons that may explain this issue: (1) research mostly focuses on what causes behavior and how to change it, at the expense of investigating among whom and under what conditions models are valid; (2) models put an undue emphasis on individual cognitions; (3) most studies are not conducted on vulnerable populations; and (4) most researchers are from high-income countries. Several avenues are proposed to address this issue: (1) providing a central place to the context and audience in health behavior change modelization, through collaborations with researchers from other disciplines and countries, and with members of the targeted audience; (2) better reporting samples’ sociodemographic characteristics and increasing samples’ diversity; and (3) using more rigorous and innovative designs (eg, powered randomized controlled trials, N-of-1 trials, intensive longitudinal studies). In conclusion, it becomes urgent to change the way we do research: the social utility and credibility of intervention science depend on it.