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Svend Erik Mathiassen

Open access

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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Sandy J. Slater, Anmol Sanghera, Yadira Herrera and Jamie F. Chriqui

Background: Head Start serves over 1 million diverse low-income preschool children and is an ideal setting for developing and implementing obesity prevention efforts, which is expected to have positive impacts on behavior as youth age. This study examined how regional- and state-level Head Start offices have supported implementation of the recently updated physical activity (PA) requirement within the teaching and learning environment Head Start Program Performance Standard (1302.31). Methods: Key informant telephone interviews were conducted with 8 regional- and 36 state-level Head Start representatives. Interviews were recorded and professionally transcribed. Data were coded and analyzed using constant comparative methods in ATLAS.ti (version 8). Audit trails were maintained, and disagreements in codes were discussed and resolved among coders. Results: The following 3 overarching themes emerged: communication, resources and technical assistance, and challenges. Results showed variation in respondent knowledge regarding the Standards. Although regional contacts provide technical assistance, state-level contacts have many information sharing strategies for programs. Implementation challenges included the need for frequent professional development opportunities given staff turnover and low PA competency, and additional PA curricula. Conclusion: Findings can help identify existing or potential strategies that could be adopted more widely or developed to assist Head Start programs incorporate PA into daily activities.

Open access

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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Justin B. Hollander, Ann Sussman, Peter Lowitt, Neil Angus and Minyu Situ

Background: Understanding more about the unseen side of our responses to visual stimuli offers a powerful new tool for transportation planning. Traditional transportation planning tends to focus on the mobility of vehicles rather than on opportunities to encourage sustainable transport modes, like walking. Methods: Using eye-tracking emulation software, this study measured the unconscious visual responses people have to designs and layouts in new built environments, focusing on what makes streets most walkable. Results: The study found key differences between the way the brain takes in conventional automobile-oriented residential developments versus new urbanist layouts, with the former lacking key fixation points. Conclusion: The study’s discoveries significantly explain why new urbanist layouts promote walking effortlessly and conventional automobile-oriented residential developments cannot.

Open access

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.

Open access

Tiago Duarte, Diane M. Culver and Kyle Paquette

The purpose of this paper is to delineate how an intervention aimed at increasing the learning capability of Canadian wheelchair curling coaches was framed by a systems convener in collaboration with stakeholders from different levels. Social learning theory, in particular a landscape of practice perspective, provides the conceptual framework. The methodology was collaborative inquiry with people from across the landscape to delineate the intervention strategies through cycles of reflection and action. The participants included parasport coaches, researchers, and Curling Canada technical leaders. Based on preintervention findings, the intervention was driven by (a) the use of technology to overcome barriers and the implementation of learning activities at competitions, (b) the use of a collective learning map to promote meaningful learning, (c) the involvement of the sport organization leadership to promote the participation of influential people, and (d) a reflection of how subpar outcomes occurred when the systems convener failed to engage with the sport organization leadership. The discussion sheds light on the many roles of systems conveners and the importance of promoting strategic and enabling values. Sport organizations should engage a systems convener who can effectively align learning goals with the available resources and the strategic mission of the organization.

Open access

Jaap van Dieen