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Mark S. Tremblay, Joel D. Barnes, Silvia A. González, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Vincent O. Onywera, John J. Reilly, Grant R. Tomkinson and the Global Matrix 2.0 Research Team

The Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance organized the concurrent preparation of Report Cards on the physical activity of children and youth in 38 countries from 6 continents (representing 60% of the world’s population). Nine common indicators were used (Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport Participation, Active Play, Active Transportation, Sedentary Behavior, Family and Peers, School, Community and the Built Environment, and Government Strategies and Investments), and all Report Cards were generated through a harmonized development process and a standardized grading framework (from A = excellent, to F = failing). The 38 Report Cards were presented at the International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health in Bangkok, Thailand on November 16, 2016. The consolidated findings are summarized in the form of a Global Matrix demonstrating substantial variation in grades both within and across countries. Countries that lead in certain indicators often lag in others. Average grades for both Overall Physical Activity and Sedentary Behavior around the world are D (low/poor). In contrast, the average grade for indicators related to supports for physical activity was C. Lower-income countries generally had better grades on Overall Physical Activity, Active Transportation, and Sedentary Behaviors compared with higher-income countries, yet worse grades for supports from Family and Peers, Community and the Built Environment, and Government Strategies and Investments. Average grades for all indicators combined were highest (best) in Denmark, Slovenia, and the Netherlands. Many surveillance and research gaps were apparent, especially for the Active Play and Family and Peers indicators. International cooperation and cross-fertilization is encouraged to address existing challenges, understand underlying determinants, conceive innovative solutions, and mitigate the global childhood inactivity crisis. The paradox of higher physical activity and lower sedentary behavior in countries reporting poorer infrastructure, and lower physical activity and higher sedentary behavior in countries reporting better infrastructure, suggests that autonomy to play, travel, or chore requirements and/or fewer attractive sedentary pursuits, rather than infrastructure and structured activities, may facilitate higher levels of physical activity.

Open access

Mark S. Tremblay, Silvia A. Gonzalez, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Vincent O. Onywera, John J. Reilly and Grant Tomkinson

Open access

Marcella Burghard, Karlijn Knitel, Iris van Oost, Mark S. Tremblay, Tim Takken and the Dutch Physical Activity Report Card Study Group

Background:

The Active Healthy Kids the Netherlands (AHKN) Report Card consolidates and translates research and assesses how the Netherlands is being responsible in providing physical activity (PA) opportunities for children and youth (<18 years). The primary aim of this article is to summarize the results of the 2016 AHKN Report Card.

Methods:

Nine indicators were graded using the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance report card development process, which includes a synthesis of the best available research, surveillance, policy and practice findings, and expert consensus.

Results:

Grades assigned were: Overall Physical Activity Levels, D; Organized Sport Participation, B; Active Play, B; Active Transportation, A; Sedentary Behaviors, C; Family and Peers, B; School, C; Community and the Built Environment, A; Government Strategies and Investments, INC.

Conclusions:

Sedentary behavior and overall PA levels are not meeting current guidelines. However, the Dutch youth behaviors in sports, active transportation, and active play are satisfactory. Several modifiable factors of influence might be enhanced to improve these indicators or at least prevent regression. Although Dutch children accumulate a lot of daily PA through cycling, it is not enough to meet the current national PA guidelines of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA per day.

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Bruna Gonçalves Cordeiro da Silva, Fernando César Wehrmeister, Philip H. Quanjer, Rogelio Pérez-Padilla, Helen Gonçalves, Bernardo Lessa Horta, Pedro Curi Hallal, Fernando Barros and Ana Maria Baptista Menezes

Background:

The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between physical activity from 11 to 15 years of age and pulmonary function (PF) gain from 15 to 18 years of age among adolescents in a birth cohort in Brazil.

Methods:

Longitudinal analysis of the individuals participating in the 1993 Pelotas Birth Cohort Study. Physical activity was assessed by self-report at ages 11 and 15, spirometry was performed at ages 15 and 18 (n = 3571). Outcome variables assessed were gains in forced expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1), forced vital capacity (FVC) and peak expiratory flow (PEF). Crude and adjusted linear regressions, stratified by sex, and mediation analyses were performed.

Results:

Boys who were active (leisure-time and total physical activity) at ages 11 and 15 had higher gains in FEV1, FVC, and PEF than those who were inactive. Vigorous-intensity physical activity in boys was also associated with FEV1 and FVC gains. Mediation analyses showed that height at age 18 accounted for 5% to 75% of the association between physical activity and PF gains. No significant associations were found among girls.

Conclusions:

Physical activity in early adolescence is associated with gains in PF by the end of adolescence in boys.

Open access

Natasha K. Schranz, Timothy Olds, Roslyn Boyd, John Evans, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Louise Hardy, Kylie Hesketh, David R. Lubans, Nicola D. Ridgers, Leon Straker, Stewart Vella, Jenny Ziviani and Grant R. Tomkinson

Background:

Two years on from the inaugural Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) Physical Activity Report Card, there has been little to no change with the majority of Australian children still insufficiently active.

Methods:

The 2016 AHKA Report Card was developed using the best available national- and state-based physical activity data, which were evaluated by the AHKA Research Working Group using predetermined weighting criteria and benchmarks to assign letter grades to the 12 Report Card indicators.

Results:

In comparison with 2014, Overall Physical Activity Levels was again assigned a D- with Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation increasing to a B (was B-) and Active Transport declining to a C- (was C). The settings and sources of influence again performed well (A- to a C+), however Government Strategies and Investments saw a decline (C+ to a D). The traits associated with physical activity were also graded poorly (C- to a D).

Conclusions:

Australian youth are insufficiently active and engage in high levels of screen-based sedentary behaviors. While a range of support structures exist, Australia lacks an overarching National Physical Activity Plan that would unify the country and encourage the cultural shift needed to face the inactivity crisis head on.

Open access

Anne I. Wijtzes, Maïté Verloigne, Alexandre Mouton, Marc Cloes, Karin A.A. De Ridder, Greet Cardon and Jan Seghers

Background:

This 2016 Belgium Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the first systematic evaluation of physical activity (PA) behaviors, related health behaviors, health outcomes, and influences thereon, using the Active Healthy Kids Canada grading framework.

Methods:

A research working group consisting of PA experts from both Flanders and Wallonia collaborated to determine the indicators to be graded, data sources to be used, and factors to be taken into account during the grading process. Grades were finalized after consensus was reached among the research working group and 2 stakeholder groups consisting of academic and policy experts in the fields of PA, sedentary behavior, and dietary behavior.

Results:

Eleven indicators were selected and assigned the following grades: Overall PA (F+), Organized Sport Participation (C-), Active Play (C+), Active Transportation (C-), Sedentary Behaviors (D-), School (B-), Government Strategies and Investment (C+), and Weight Status (D). Incomplete grades were assigned to Family and Peers, Community and the Built Environment, and Dietary Behaviors due to a lack of nationally representative data.

Conclusions:

Despite moderately positive social and environmental influences, PA levels of Belgian children and youth are low while levels of sedentary behaviors are high.

Open access

Nelson Nardo Jr., Diego Augusto Santos Silva, Gerson Luis de Moraes Ferrari, Edio Luiz Petroski, Ricardo Lucas Pacheco, Priscila Custódio Martins, Luis Carlos Oliveira, Timóteo Leandro Araújo, Anselmo Alexandre Mendes, Samara Pereira Brito Lazarin, Tamires Leal Cordeiro dos Santos and Victor Matsudo

Background:

Very few studies have comprehensively analyzed the physical activity of children and adolescents in Brazil. The purpose of this article is to show the methodology and summarize findings from the first Brazilian Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.

Methods:

Three Brazilian research institutions coordinated the activities to develop the Brazilian 2016 Report Card. The data available were collected independently and then synthesized by the Research Work Group using the grade system developed for the First Global Matrix released in 2014, which included 9 indicators of physical activity. Where possible, grades were assigned based on the percentage of children and youth meeting each indicator: A is 81% to 100%; B is 61% to 80%; C is 41% to 60%; D is 21% to 40%; F is 0% to 20%; INC is incomplete data.

Results:

Among the 9 indicators, only 5 had sufficient data for grading. Overall Physical Activity received a C- grade, Active Transportation received a C+ grade, Sedentary Behavior received a D+ grade, and Government Strategies and Investments received a D grade.

Conclusions:

The low grades observed highlight the need for continued efforts aimed at improving physical activity in Brazilian children.

Open access

Joel D. Barnes, Christine Cameron, Valerie Carson, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Guy E.J. Faulkner, Katherine Janson, Ian Janssen, Roger Kramers, Allana G. LeBlanc, John C. Spence and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

The ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada and provides an update or “state of the nation” that assesses how Canada is doing at promoting and facilitating physical activity opportunities for children and youth. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the results of the 2016 ParticipACTION Report Card.

Methods:

Twelve physical activity indicators were graded by a committee of experts using a process that was informed by the best available evidence. Sources included national surveys, peer-reviewed literature, and gray literature such as government and nongovernment reports and online content.

Results:

Grades were assigned to Daily Behaviors (Overall Physical Activity: D-; Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation: B; Active Play: D+; Active Transportation: D; Physical Literacy: D+; Sleep: B; Sedentary Behaviors: F), Settings and Sources of Influence (Family and Peers: C+; School: B; Community and Environment: A-), and Strategies and Investments (Government: B-; Nongovernment: A-).

Conclusions:

Similar to previous years of the Report Card, Canada generally received good grades for indicators relating to investment, infrastructure, strategies, policies, and programming, and poor grades for behavioral indicators (eg, Overall Physical Activity, Sedentary Behaviors).

Open access

Nicolas Aguilar-Farias, Andrea Cortinez-O’Ryan, Kabir P. Sadarangani, Astrid Von Oetinger, Jaime Leppe, Macarena Valladares, Teresa Balboa-Castillo, Carolina Cobos, Nicolas Lemus, Magdalena Walbaum and Carlos Cristi-Montero

Background:

The 2016 Chilean Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is a review of the evidence across indicators of behaviors, settings, and sources of influence associated with physical activity (PA) of Chilean children and youth.

Methods:

A Research Work Group reviewed available evidence from publications, surveys, government documents and datasets to assign a grade for 11 indicators for PA behavior based on the percentage of compliance for defined benchmarks. Grades were defined as follows: A, 81% to 100% of children accomplishing a given benchmark; B, 61% to 80%; C, 41% to 60%; D, 21% to 40%; F, 0% to 20%; INC, incomplete data available to assign score.

Results:

Grades assigned were for i) ‘Behaviors that contribute to overall PA levels’: Overall PA, F; Organized Sport Participation, D; Active Play, INC; and Active Transportation, C-; ii) ‘Factors associated with cardiometabolic risk’: Sedentary Behavior, D; Overweight and Obesity, F; Fitness, F; and iii) ‘Factors that influence PA’: Family and Peers, D; School, D; Community and Built Environment, C; Government Strategies and Investments, C.

Conclusions:

Chile faces a major challenge as most PA indicators scored low. There were clear research and information gaps that need to be filled with the implementation of consistent and regular data collection methods.

Open access

Silvia A. González, Maria A Castiblanco, Luis F. Arias-Gómez, Andrea Martinez-Ospina, Daniel D. Cohen, Gustavo A. Holguin, Adriana Almanza, Diana Marina Camargo Lemos, Jorge Enrique Correa-Bautista, Iván D. Escobar, Johnattan García, Rocio Gámez, Mauricio Garzon, Yaneth Herazo Beltrán, Hernan Hurtado, Oscar Lozano, Diana C. Páez, Robinson Ramírez-Vélez, Nubia Ruiz, Gustavo Tovar and Olga L. Sarmiento

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is vital to the holistic development of young people. Regular participation in PA is associated with substantial benefits for health, cognitive function, and social inclusion. Recognizing the potential of PA in the context of the current peace process in Colombia, the purpose of this article is to present the methodology and results of Colombia’s second Report Card on PA for children and youth.

Methods:

A group of experts on PA graded 14 PA indicators based on data from national surveys and policy documents.

Results:

National and departmental policy indicators received a grade of B, while organized sport participation, overweight, obesity, community influence, and nongovernment initiatives indicators received a grade of C. Overall PA levels, active transportation, sedentary behaviors, and school influence received a grade of D. Active play, low physical fitness, and family influence received an Incomplete grade.

Conclusions:

PA levels are low and sedentary behaviors are high in Colombian children and youth, with notable geographic differences. A broad policy framework translated into specific actions could provide unique opportunities to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice, and contribute to social integration goals in a postconflict setting.