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Ryan D. Burns, Yang Bai and Timothy A. Brusseau

Background: The purpose of this study was to examine the independent and joint associations between physical activity (PA) and sports participation on academic performance variables within a representative sample of children and adolescents. Methods: Data were analyzed from the combined 2017–2018 National Survey of Children’s Health. Household addresses were randomly selected within each US state. One household parent answered health and wellness questions pertaining to one randomly selected household child (N = 37,392; 48.1% female; 6- to 17-y old). Weighted logistic regression models were employed to examine the independent and joint associations between child PA frequency and sports participation with academic performance variables, adjusting for child- and family-level covariates. Results: Child PA frequency independently associated with 37% to 46% lower odds and child sports participation independently associated with 53% lower odds of reported difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions (P < .001). For children who participated in sports, PA associated with 47% to 56% lower odds of ever repeating a grade level (P = .01). Conclusions: Frequency of weekly PA and sports participation independently and negatively associated with difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions, whereas the negative association between PA and ever repeating a grade level differed by child sports participation status.

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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.