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Alessandra Buja, Andrea Rabensteiner, Milena Sperotto, Giulia Grotto, Chiara Bertoncello, Silvia Cocchio, Tatjana Baldovin, Paolo Contu, Chiara Lorini and Vincenzo Baldo

Background: The importance of health literacy (HL) in health promotion is increasingly clear and acknowledged globally, especially when addressing noncommunicable diseases. This paper aimed to collect and summarize all current data from observational studies generating evidence of the association between HL and physical activity (PA) and to analyze intervention studies on the promotion of PA to ascertain whether HL moderates the efficacy of such intervention. Methods: A comprehensive systematic literature search of observational studies investigating the association between HL and PA was performed. Intervention studies on the promotion of PA that also measured the HL levels of participants and its effect on the outcome of the intervention were also identified. Results: Of the 22 studies included in this review, 18 found a significant positive association between high HL and high levels of PA. The only intervention study among them indicated that HL was not a significant moderator of the intervention’s effectiveness. Conclusion: HL can enable individuals to make deliberate choices about their PA and thus contribute to preventing many chronic noncommunicable diseases. That said, low levels of HL do not seem to influence the efficacy of health promotion interventions.

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Sophia Nimphius and Matthew J. Jordan

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Svend Erik Mathiassen

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Steven J. Petruzzello and Allyson G. Box

The status of physical activity in higher education has changed dramatically over the past 100 years. In this paper, we aim to (a) provide a brief history of physical activity on campus; (b) describe how that activity has changed from a requirement to an elective; (c) illustrate how mental health (particularly stress, anxiety, and depression) has changed in college students over the past few decades; and (d) describe the relationships between physical activity and mental health, particularly in college students. The paper culminates with recommendations for how colleges and universities might facilitate better student mental health through physical activity. There is room to improve the physical activity and mental health of college students, realigning higher education with the promotion of mens sana in corpore sano.

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Ryoko Kawakami, Yuko Gando, Kiminori Kato, Susumu S. Sawada, Haruki Momma, Motohiko Miyachi, I-Min Lee, Steven N. Blair, Minoru Tashiro, Chika Horikawa, Yasuhiro Matsubayashi, Takaho Yamada, Kazuya Fujihara and Hirohito Sone

Background: To examine the association between muscular and performance fitness (MPF) and the incidence of glaucoma. Methods: A total of 27,051 glaucoma-free participants aged 20–87 years underwent physical fitness tests between April 2001 and March 2002. The MPF index was calculated using an age- and sex-specific summed z-score from grip strength, vertical jump, single-leg balance, forward bending, and whole-body reaction time. The participants were divided into quartiles according to the MPF index and each physical fitness test. Participants were followed up for the development of glaucoma, which was defined based on physician-diagnosed glaucoma at an annual health examination between April 2002 and March 2008. Hazard ratios for the incidence of glaucoma were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models. Results: During follow-up, 303 participants developed glaucoma. Compared with the lowest MPF index group, hazard ratio (95% confidence interval) of developing glaucoma was 0.64 (0.46–0.89) for the highest MPF index group (P for trend = .001). Vertical jump and whole-body reaction time were associated with incident glaucoma (P for trend = .01 and <.001, respectively). There were no associations between the other physical fitness tests and the incidence of glaucoma. Conclusion: Higher MPF is associated with lower incidence of glaucoma.

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Liana M. Tennant, Erika Nelson-Wong, Joshua Kuest, Gabriel Lawrence, Kristen Levesque, David Owens, Jeremy Prisby, Sarah Spivey, Stephanie R. Albin, Kristen Jagger, Jeff M. Barrett, James D. Wong and Jack P. Callaghan

Spinal stiffness and mobility assessments vary between clinical and research settings, potentially hindering the understanding and treatment of low back pain. A total of 71 healthy participants were evaluated using 2 clinical assessments (posteroanterior spring and passive intervertebral motion) and 2 quantitative measures: lumped mechanical stiffness of the lumbar spine and local tissue stiffness (lumbar erector spinae and supraspinous ligament) measured via myotonometry. The authors hypothesized that clinical, mechanical, and local tissue measures would be correlated, that clinical tests would not alter mechanical stiffness, and that males would demonstrate greater lumbar stiffness than females. Clinical, lumped mechanical, and tissue stiffness were not correlated; however, gradings from the posteroanterior spring and passive intervertebral motion tests were positively correlated with each other. Clinical assessments had no effect on lumped mechanical stiffness. The males had greater lumped mechanical and lumbar erector spinae stiffness compared with the females. The lack of correlation between clinical, tissue, and lumped mechanical measures of spinal stiffness indicates that the use of the term “stiffness” by clinicians may require reevaluation; clinicians should be confident that they are not altering mechanical stiffness of the spine through segmental mobility assessments; and greater resting lumbar erector stiffness in males suggests that sex should be considered in the assessment and treatment of the low back.

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Chung-Ju Huang, Hsin-Yu Tu, Ming-Chun Hsueh, Yi-Hsiang Chiu, Mei-Yao Huang and Chien-Chih Chou

This study examined the effects of acute aerobic exercise on sustained attention and discriminatory ability of children with and without learning disabilities (LD). Fifty-one children with LD and 49 typically developing children were randomly assigned to exercise or control groups. The participants in the exercise groups performed a 30-min session of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, whereas the control groups watched a running/exercise-related video. Neuropsychological tasks, the Daueraufmerksamkeit sustained attention test, and the determination tests were assessed before and after each treatment. Exercise significantly benefited performance in sustained attention and discriminatory ability, particularly in higher accuracy rate and shorter reaction time. In addition, the LD exercise group demonstrated greater improvement than the typically developing exercise group. The findings suggest that the acute aerobic exercise influenced the sustained attention and the discriminatory function in children with LD by enhancing regulation of mental states and allocation of attentional resources.

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Jaap van Dieen

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Giuseppe delli Paoli, Denise van de Laarschot, Edith C.H. Friesema, Remco Verkaik, Antonia Giacco, Rosalba Senese, Pascal P. Arp, P. Mila Jhamai, Stefano M. Pagnotta, Linda Broer, André G. Uitterlinden, Antonia Lanni, M. Carola Zillikens and Pieter de Lange

Fasting enhances the beneficial metabolic outcomes of exercise; however, it is unknown whether body composition is favorably modified on the short term. A baseline–follow-up study was carried out to assess the effect of an established protocol involving short-term combined exercise with fasting on body composition. One hundred seven recreationally exercising males underwent a 10-day intervention across 15 fitness centers in the Netherlands involving a 3-day gradual decrease of food intake, a 3-day period with extremely low caloric intake, and a gradual 4-day increase to initial caloric intake, with daily 30-min submaximal cycling. Using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry analysis, all subjects substantially lost total body mass (−3.9 ± 1.9 kg; p < .001) and fat mass (−3.3 ± 1.3 kg; p < .001). Average lean mass was lost (−0.6 ± 1.5 kg; p < .001), but lean mass as a percentage of total body mass was not reduced. The authors observed a loss of −3.9 ± 1.9% android fat over total fat mass (p < .001), a loss of −2.2 ± 1.9% gynoid over total fat mass (p < .001), and reduced android/gynoid ratios (−0.05 ± 0.1; p < .001). Analyzing 15 preselected single-nucleotide polymorphisms in 13 metabolism-related genes revealed trending associations for thyroid state–related single-nucleotide polymorphisms rs225014 (deiodinase 2) and rs35767 (insulin-like growth factor1), and rs1053049 (PPARD). In conclusion, a short period of combined fasting and exercise leads to a substantial loss of body and fat mass without a loss of lean mass as a percentage of total mass.