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Volume 20 (2023): Issue 4 (Apr 2023)

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Bridging the Built and Social Environments: A Systematic Review of Studies Investigating Influences on Physical Activity

Tyler Prochnow, Laurel S. Curran, Christina Amo, and Meg S. Patterson

Background: The purpose of this review was to examine articles assessing aspects of the built and social environment simultaneously, and how these environments influence physical activity (PA). A thorough review of studies is needed to identify patterns across studies and gaps for future research and practice. Methods: To be included, articles needed to contain: (1) self-report or objective measure of PA; (2) a measure of the built environment; (3) a measure of the social environment; and (4) an analysis between built environment, social environment, and PA. A systematic literature search of 4358 articles resulted in 87 articles. Results: Several populations were present within the sample including various age groups and different countries. As previously established, the built environment and social environment were consistently associated with PA; however, mediating factors between these 2 layers were less clear. Further, there was a lack of longitudinal and experimental study designs. Conclusions: Results suggest a need for longitudinal and experimental designs with validated and granular measures. As communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a thorough understanding of how built environment factors enhance or detract from social connectedness and how this reciprocal relationship impacts PA behavior is needed for future policy, environment, and systematic change.

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Cardiorespiratory Fitness and Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Childhood Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Survivors

Maxime Caru, Daniel Curnier, Pierre Dubois, Matthias G. Friedrich, Gregor Andelfinger, Maja Krajinovic, Caroline Laverdière, Daniel Sinnett, and Delphine Périé

Background: Childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivors’ anthracycline-induced cardiotoxicity could be prevented with good cardiorespiratory fitness levels and regular physical activity. This cross-sectional study aimed to assess the association between cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity with cardiac magnetic resonance parameters. Methods: A total of 96 childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia survivors underwent a maximal cardiopulmonary exercise test and answered physical activity questionnaires. We calculated the odds ratio of the preventive fraction of regular physical activity (≥150 min/wk) and adequate cardiorespiratory fitness levels (above the median ≥31.4 mL·kg−1·min−1) on cardiac magnetic resonance parameters (left ventricular [LV] and right ventricular [RV] morphological and functional parameters). Results: An adequate cardiorespiratory fitness was associated with a significant preventive fraction for LV (up to 84% for LV end-diastolic volume) and RV volumes (up to 88% for RV end-systolic volume). The adjusted analyses highlighted a preventive fraction of 36% to 91% between an adequate cardiorespiratory fitness and LV and RV parameters, late gadolinium enhancement fibrosis, and cardiac magnetic resonance relaxation times. No associations were reported with regular physical activity. Conclusions: This study provides additional evidence regarding the benefits of an adequate cardiorespiratory fitness level for childhood cancer survivors’ cardiac health.

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COVID-19 Containment Measures—a Step Back for Walking Mobility? A 2-Year, 60-Country Analysis of the Apple Mobility Data

Francesco Luciano, Federica Crova, and Francesco Canella

Background: COVID-19 containment measures curb viral spread but may hamper walking mobility. As a low daily step count is associated with increased noncommunicable diseases and mortality, assessing the relationship between pandemic responses and walking mobility can help trade-off public health measures. We investigated the association between containment stringency and walking mobility across 60 countries in the period between January 21, 2020 and January 21, 2022 and modeled how this could impact mortality hazard. Methods: Walking mobility was measured through the Apple Mobility Trends, containment measures stringency index through the Oxford COVID-19 response tracker (which considers local policies on closures, healthcare, and economy), and meteorological data by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather stations. Walking mobility was regressed over stringency in a mixed-effect model with weather variables as covariates. The impact of stringency on all-cause mortality due to reduced mobility was modeled based on regression results, prepandemic walking mobility, and the association between step count and all-cause mortality hazard. Results: Across the 60 countries, the average stringency was 55 (9) (mean [SD]) out of 100. Stringency was negatively associated with walking mobility; a log-linear model fitted data better than a linear one, with a regression coefficient for stringency on ln (walking mobility) (95% confidence interval) of  −1.201 × 10−2 (−1.221 × 10−2 to −1.183 × 10−2). Increasing stringency, thus decreasing walking mobility, nonlinearly incremented the modeled all-cause mortality hazard by up to ∼40%. Conclusions: In this study, walking mobility was negatively associated with containment measures stringency; the relationship between stringency, mobility, and the subsequent impact on health outcomes may be nonlinear. These findings can help in balancing pandemic containment policies.

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The Impacts of COVID-19 Restrictions on Physical Activity in Children and Youth: A Systematic Review of Qualitative Evidence

Andrea Eaton, Geoff D.C. Ball, Yeongho Hwang, Valerie Carson, Rebecca Gokiert, Liz Dennett, Hasu Rajani, Mona Zhang, and Michele P. Dyson

Background: The objectives of this systematic review were to synthesize qualitative evidence on the impacts of COVID-19 restrictions on physical activity (PA) for children and youth, and explore factors perceived to influence those impacts. Methods: Five databases (MEDLINE, Embase, SPORTDiscus, ERIC, and CINAHL) were searched initially in June 2021 and updated in December 2021 to locate qualitative articles considering COVID-19 restrictions and PA for children and youth (≤18 y old), in any setting. Eligibility, quality assessments, and data extraction were completed by 2 independent reviewers. Data were synthesized using meta-aggregation with confidence of findings rated using ConQual. Results: After screening 3505 records, 15 studies were included. Curriculum-based PA, organized sport, and active transportation were negatively impacted by COVID-19 restrictions. Negative changes were affected by COVID-19 exposure risks, inadequate instruction, poor access, screen time, and poor weather. Unstructured PA was inconsistently impacted; outdoor unstructured PA increased for some. Positive changes were facilitated by family co-participation, availability of outdoor space, and perceived mental health benefits. Conclusion: Qualitative data indicated restrictions had a predominantly negative impact on PA for children and youth, but inconsistent impacts on unstructured PA. The improved contextual understanding offered by our review will be foundational knowledge for health strategies moving forward.

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A Protocol for a Local Community Monitoring and Feedback System for Physical Activity in Organized Group Settings for Children

Ann M. Essay, Michaela A. Schenkelberg, Mary J. Von Seggern, Marisa S. Rosen, Chelsey R. Schlechter, Richard R. Rosenkranz, and David A. Dzewaltowski

Background: Communities are wellness landscapes of geospatially and temporally bound settings where children spend their time. Improving population physical activity (PA) requires investigating available community settings for children, such as classrooms and sport teams, and the dynamic social interactions producing PA. This protocol describes a multiscale community wellness landscape monitoring and feedback system of adult-led organized group settings and PA outcomes for children. Methods: The data system assessed organized groups for third- through sixth-grade children in 2 rural communities within seasons (fall 2018–2019). Within each season, groups were identified, sampled, and recruited. Sampled group meetings were assessed for children’s PA (accelerometry) and meeting routines (video observation). A data processing protocol time-segmented data into meetings and meeting routines into smaller units (sessions). A purpose code was assigned to each meeting (eg, classroom, sport) and session (eg, academic, PA). Group accelerometer data were paired with the coded segments. Multiscale metrics (season, meeting, and session) were generated and provided to the communities in tailored reports. Results: A total of 94 groups were recruited, and 73 groups with 1302 participants were included in the data system. Data were collected from 213 meetings and 844 sessions. Most participants (83.1%) consented to link their accelerometer data with demographic data from school enrollment records. Conclusions: The community data system identified available organized group settings for children and collected video and PA data from these settings. Incorporating setting data into local data systems provides detailed accounts of whole-of-community PA social systems to inform population health improvement efforts.

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The Physical Activity Policy to Practice Disconnect

Michael Pratt, Andrea Ramirez Varela, and Adrian Bauman

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Patterns of Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Thai 2021 National Health Survey

Thitikorn Topothai, Viroj Tangcharoensathien, Rapeepong Suphanchaimat, Nicholas Alexander Petrunoff, Orana Chandrasiri, and Falk Müller-Riemenschneider

Background: Understanding patterns of physical activity and sedentary behavior is essential, but evidence from low- and middle-income countries remains limited. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of physical activity and sedentary behavior in the Thai population; their sociodemographic correlates; and the contribution of specific domains to total physical activity. Methods: We analyzed data from the 2021 Health Behavior Survey, a nationally representative survey, conducted by the Thailand National Statistical Office during the COVID-19 pandemic. Physical activity and sedentary behavior were assessed using the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire. “Sufficiently active” was defined according to the World Health Organization guidelines. “Highly sedentary” was defined as sitting ≥7 hours per day. The contribution of work, transport, and recreational physical activity was determined as the proportion of total physical activity. Multivariable logistic regression was conducted to determine the correlates of being sufficiently active and being highly sedentary. Results: Of the total study population (N = 78,717), 71.9% were sufficiently active, whereas 75.8% were highly sedentary. Females, having a labor-intensive work, and living in Bangkok had a higher likelihood of being sufficiently active. Those with higher education and income levels, and living in Bangkok and the Central region had a greater likelihood of being highly sedentary. The work domain contributed the highest proportion toward physical activity (82.1%), followed by the recreation (10.0%) and transport domains (7.9%). Conclusions: Policies should focus on promoting transport and recreational physical activity and activity that can break up sedentary behavior among adults because when countries become technologically advanced, physical activity at work declines.

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Physical Activity and Screen Viewing Behaviors Among Children Aged 6–9 Years During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Reem A. Albesher and Reem M. Basuodan

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many restrictions worldwide, including lockdowns and school closures. This may have prevented children from meeting the recommended physical activity (PA) levels and screen time. The aim of this study was to examine the impact of the pandemic on school-age children’s PA and screen time in Saudi Arabia. Methods: A cross-sectional study where caregivers of children aged 6–9 years living in Saudi Arabia were recruited through convenience sampling to fill out an online survey between July and August 2020. The survey covered demographic information, PAs, and screen time across 3 periods: pre-COVID-19 pandemic, during the COVID-19 lockdown, and the last 7 days preceding the survey during the pandemic where social distancing applied, but no lockdown. Results: A total of 339 caregivers completed the online survey about their children. The number of active children slightly increased during the lockdown (9.7%) than before COVID-19 and the last days (5.8%); however, the average reported days of PA during the pandemic were fewer than before. The findings indicated that all 3 types of screen time (watch time, screenplay, and device time) were longer during the pandemic (mean [SD]: 9.5 [5.5]) than before the COVID-19 (mean [SD]: 5.8 [5.1]). Conclusion: While the proportion of active children had increased during the lockdown, the COVID-19 pandemic, the COVID-19 pandemic negatively impacted PA days and screen time in school-age children. School-age children in Saudi Arabia were already far from meeting global guidelines even before the pandemic, highlighting this population’s need for healthy lifestyle promotion.

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The Effect of Primary School-Based Physical Education Programs: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials

Markel Rico-González

The present article aimed to systematically summarize primary school-based intervention programs and their effects evaluated through randomized-controlled trial design. A systematic review of relevant articles was carried out using 4 electronic databases. From a total of 193 studies initially found, 30 were included in the qualitative synthesis. Main results: (1) Intensive interval training or jump/strength exercises may positively influence physical fitness, promoting challenging task, psychological needs, and guided styles to a greater extent; (2) Games that demand more cognitive function seem more beneficial than those based on repetitive aerobic exertion to improve fundamental motor skills; (3) The jumping/strength exercises may cause benefits in bone area and bone mineral density, while flexibility and balance may reduce the risk of muscle injury; and (4) Programming a greater dose of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity seems to be related to positive effects in core executive function and academic performance. Additionally, providing information and involving the social environment may enhance the positive effects.