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Open access

Jessica Murphy, Karen A. Patte, Philip Sullivan, and Scott T. Leatherdale

The mental health benefits of physical activity may relate more to the context of the behavior, rather than the behavior of being active itself. The association between varsity sport (VS) participation, depression, and anxiety symptoms was explored using data from 70,449 high school students from the Cannabis use, Obesity, Mental health, Physical activity, Alcohol use, Smoking, and Sedentary behavior study. The model adjusted for potential covariates; interactions by sex and participation in outside of school sport (OSS) were explored. Overall, 70% and 24% of respondents met or exceeded cutoff values for depression and anxiety, respectively. Students participating in VS had lower symptoms of anxiety and depression compared with nonparticipants. Results were consistent regardless of OSS participation; associations were strongest among students who participated in both VS and OSS and males. Participation in VS may prove beneficial for the prevention and/or management of depression or anxiety symptoms, particularly among males. An additive beneficial effect of OSS on depression and anxiety scores may exist.

Open access

Gavin Thomas, Jaime Guinan, and Győző Molnár

Strength and conditioning (S&C) has become a chief part of athletes’ physiological preparation. Despite S&C’s growing presence across sports, women coaches have been generally marginalized and underrepresented. This study explores female S&C coaches’ experiences and coping mechanisms in a male-dominated industry. Semi-structured interviews with 15 female S&C coaches were conducted. The main themes identified from interview data are organizational politics, impression management, and humor. The findings suggest that women S&C coaches are often in subservient positions and have to adopt some traditional, male-generated subcultural practices to fit in. They carefully manage their coaching front stage to generate an impression that is expected and accepted in the given milieu. In their efforts to fit in, women often find themselves in a multiplicity of power matrices that involve a continuous negotiation of gender identity, internal politics, and sexist banter.

Open access

Noah Wexler, Yingling Fan, Kirti V. Das, and Simone French

Background: Neighborhood parks are important locations to encourage and stimulate physical activity (PA) among the urban population. This study aims to evaluate the impact of an informational intervention on adult park use and PA behaviors in 3 low-income, racially diverse urban neighborhoods in Minneapolis, MN. Method: The study employed a household-level randomized controlled trial and collected baseline and follow-up data from 171 participants. Within each neighborhood, participants were randomized to an informational intervention or to a no-intervention comparison. Intervention households received monthly, neighborhood-specific newsletters about park-based PA opportunities, park program brochures, trail maps, and activity guides. Results: The average treatment effect of the newsletter intervention was positive yet moderated by respondent age. For a 20-year-old resident, treatment was associated with 0.97 (P < .05) additional park visits and 31.24 (P < .05) additional minutes of park-based PA over a 3-day recall period. For 40-year-old respondents, these positive effects are smaller at 0.36 (P < .05) additional visits and 4.66 (P < .05) additional minutes, respectively. Conclusions: An intervention to increase awareness about park-based PA opportunities and benefits increased self-reported park visits and in-park PA among adults who lived in low-income, racially diverse neighborhoods.

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Justin A. Haegele, Xihe Zhu, Sean Healy, and Freda Patterson

Background: The purposes of this study were to examine the proportions of youth receiving special education services in the United States who individually and jointly met physical activity, screen time, and sleep duration guidelines, and to examine the impact of meeting none, one, two, and three of the guidelines on overweight and obesity. Methods: This cross-sectional analysis utilized data from the 2016 to 2017 National Survey for Children’s Health data set on 3582 youth aged 10–17 years who received special education services. The frequency of the participants’ compliance with the 24-hour movement guidelines and body weight status (based on the age- and sex-specific percentile cutoffs) were estimated. Meeting guidelines was defined as: 9–11 hours/night (5–13 y) or 8–10 hours/night (14–17 y) of sleep, ≤120 minutes per day of screen time, and ≥60 minutes per day of moderate to vigorous physical activity. A multinomial logistic regression analysis was conducted to estimate the impact of meeting none, one, two, or three guidelines on body weight status, adjusted for potential confounders. Results: Overall, 8.1% of youth met all three guidelines, 42.0% met two guidelines, 38.0% met one guideline, and 11.9% did not meet any guideline. Meeting all three guidelines was associated with an approximately 50% decreased likelihood of overweight than meeting no guideline, or sleep or screen time guidelines independently. Conclusions: This study extends the 24-hour movement framework to children receiving special education services and should prompt the continued study of its utility for understanding health disparities experienced by this population.

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Sandra Silva-Santos, Amanda Santos, Clarice Martins, Michael Duncan, Maria João Lagoa, Susana Vale, and Jorge Mota

Background: To examine the associations between motor competence (MC), moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), and body mass index (BMI) changes over 1 year in preschoolers. Methods: Fifty-four preschoolers (24 girls; 42.4%) aged 4–5 years old from the metropolitan area of Porto, Portugal comprised the sample. Height, body mass, and BMI were calculated. MC was assessed according to the Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2. MVPA was measured by accelerometry. For each participant, changes in MVPA, MC, and BMI over a year were computed. Different levels of MC were calculated; and then data were analyzed. Results: The MVPA increased over time in all levels of MC in the follow-up. The BMI decreased over time for all levels in follow-up (P = .001). The preschoolers classified as at a high level of MC were more likely to spend more time in MVPA (in minutes) than their counterparts with low MC in follow-up. Multiple linear regression analyses, adjusted by sex and age, were fit to predict Δ% MC by Δ% MVPA and Δ% BMI. The Δ% MC was positively associated with Δ% MVPA. Conclusion: Increases in MC were positively associated with MVPA. Higher performance in MC increases due to time spent in MVPA. Improvement of MC in young children has potentially relevant policy implications related to MVPA and public health.

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Alicia Fillon, Pauline Genin, Benjamin Larras, Jeremy Vanhelst, Maxime Luiggi, Salome Aubert, Charlotte Verdot, Olivier Rey, Lena Lhuisset, Julien Bois, Nicole Fearnbach, Martine Duclos, and David Thivel

Background: There is an alarming and constant worldwide progression of physical inactivity and sedentary behaviors in children and adolescents. The present paper summarizes findings from France’s 2020 Report Card on physical activity for children and youth, comparing its results to its 2 previous editions (2016 and 2018). Methods: France’s 2020 Report Card follows the standardized methodology established by the Active Healthy Kids Global Matrix, grading 10 common physical activity indicators using the best available evidence. The grades were informed by national surveys, peer-reviewed literature, government and nongovernment reports, and online information. Results: The expert panel awarded the following grades: Overall Physical Activity: D; Organized Sport Participation and Physical Activity: C−; Active Play: INC; Active Transportation: C−; Sedentary Behaviors: D−; Family and Peers: D−; Physical Fitness: D; School: B−; Community and the Built Environment: F; Government: C. Conclusions: This 2020 edition of France’s Report Card again highlights the alarming levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviors among French children and adolescents, calling for the development of effective national action. It also draws attention to the particular deleterious effects of the COVID-19 confinement on youth’s movement behaviors, which significantly worsened the situation.

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Luciana L.S. Barboza, Heike Schmitz, Julian Tejada, Ellen Caroline M. Silva, Advanusia S.S. Oliveira, Luís B. Sardinha, and Danilo R. Silva

Background: To evaluate the effects of the introduction of physically active lessons on movement behaviors, cognitive, and academic performance in schoolchildren. Methods: This was a cluster-controlled trial. A total of 61 students from the second year of elementary school in a public school in Brazil made up 2 intervention classes (n = 34) with the introduction of physically active lessons and 2 control classes (n = 27). Sedentary behavior, physical activity, cognitive, and academic performance were evaluated in 3 moments, which were compared using models of generalized estimating equations. Results: The intervention was effective for reducing the standing time between the baseline and 3 months while increasing the walking time between baseline and 3 months and baseline and 9 months. There was a reduction in time in stationary activities and increased time in light physical activities between all moments. The intervention group increased their performance in the go/no go test, showing a smaller number of errors between the baseline and 3 months and baseline and 9 months, and a reduction in the test time between baseline and 3 months. No impact on students’ academic performance was observed. Conclusion: Physically active lessons improve movement behaviors and cognitive functions among elementary schoolchildren.

Open access

Karen Milton, Nick Cavill, Anna Chalkley, Charlie Foster, Sjaan Gomersall, Maria Hagstromer, Paul Kelly, Tracy Kolbe-Alexander, Jacqueline Mair, Matthew McLaughlin, James Nobles, Lindsey Reece, Trevor Shilton, Ben J. Smith, and Jasper Schipperijn

Background: The International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) is a leading global organization working to advance research, policy, and practice to promote physical activity. Given the expanding evidence base on interventions to promote physical activity, it was timely to review and update a major ISPAH advocacy document—Investments that Work for Physical Activity (2011). Methods: Eight investment areas were agreed upon through consensus. Literature reviews were conducted to identify key evidence relevant to policymakers in each sector or setting. Results: The 8 investment areas were as follows: whole-of-school programs; active transport; active urban design; health care; public education; sport and recreation; workplaces; and community-wide programs. Evidence suggests that the largest population health benefit will be achieved by combining these investments and implementing a systems-based approach. Conclusions: Establishing consensus on ‘what works’ to change physical activity behavior is a cornerstone of successful advocacy, as is having appropriate resources to communicate key messages to a wide range of stakeholders. ISPAH has created a range of resources related to the new investments described in this paper. These resources are available in the ‘advocacy toolkit’ on the ISPAH website (

Open access

Sebastien F.M. Chastin, Duncan E. McGregor, Stuart J.H. Biddle, Greet Cardon, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Philippa M. Dall, Paddy C. Dempsey, Loretta DiPietro, Ulf Ekelund, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Michael Leitzmann, Emmanuel Stamatakis, and Hidde P. Van der Ploeg

Background: Crucial evidence gaps regarding: (1) the joint association of physical activity and sedentary time with health outcomes and (2) the benefits of light-intensity physical activity were identified during the development of recommendations for the World Health Organization Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behavior (SB). The authors present alternative ways to evidence the relationship between health outcomes and time spent in physical activity and SB and examine how this could be translated into a combined recommendation in future guidelines. Methods: We used compositional data analysis to quantify the dose–response associations between the balance of time spent in physical activity and SB with all-cause mortality. The authors applied this approach using 2005–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey accelerometer data. Results: Different combinations of time spent in moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity, light-intensity physical activity, and SB are associated with similar all-cause mortality risk level. A balance of more than 2.5 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity per hour of daily sedentary time is associated with the same magnitude of risk reduction for all-cause mortality as obtained by being physically active according to the current recommendations. Conclusion: This method could be applied to provide evidence for more flexible recommendations in the future with options to act on different behaviors depending on individuals’ circumstances and capacity.

Open access

Jason P. Brandenburg, Iris A. Lesser, Cynthia J. Thomson, and Luisa V. Giles

Background: Regular physical activity and higher cardiorespiratory (CR) fitness enhance immune function, possibly reducing coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection severity. The aim was to assess the association between physical activity and self-reported CR fitness on COVID-19 infection characteristics. Methods: Participants formerly testing positive for COVID-19 completed an online questionnaire measuring COVID-19 infection characteristics and complications, self-reported CR fitness level, physical activity, and sociodemographic and health-related characteristics. Self-reported CR fitness was determined as the pace to cover 4.8 km without becoming overly fatigued (with slow walking, brisk walking, jogging, and running corresponding to low, moderate, good, and excellent levels of fitness, respectively). Results: A total of 263 individuals completed the survey. Compared with the lowest level of self-reported CR fitness, the odds of hospitalization significantly decreased by 64% (odds ratio = 0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.13–0.98; P = .04) in individuals reporting the ability to maintain a brisk walk. In individuals reporting the ability to maintain a jogging pace, the further reduction in hospitalization was not significant (odds ratio = 0.22; 95% confidence interval, 0.05–1.04; P = .05). For COVID-19 symptom severity and number, there were no significant associations with self-reported CR fitness or physical activity levels. Conclusions: For individuals with low self-reported CR fitness, improving CR fitness represents a strategy to reduce the risk of hospitalization from COVID-19.