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Natasha Schranz, Tim Olds, Dylan Cliff, Melanie Davern, Lina Engelen, Billie Giles-Corti, Sjaan Gomersall, Louise Hardy, Kylie Hesketh, Andrew Hills, David Lubans, Doune Macdonald, Rona Macniven, Philip Morgan, Tony Okely, Anne-Maree Parish, Ron Plotnikoff, Trevor Shilton, Leon Straker, Anna Timperio, Stewart Trost, Stewart Vella, Jenny Ziviani and Grant Tomkinson

Background:

Like many other countries, Australia is facing an inactivity epidemic. The purpose of the Australian 2014 Physical Activity Report Card initiative was to assess the behaviors, settings, and sources of influences and strategies and investments associated with the physical activity levels of Australian children and youth.

Methods:

A Research Working Group (RWG) drawn from experts around Australia collaborated to determine key indicators, assess available datasets, and the metrics which should be used to inform grades for each indicator and factors to consider when weighting the data. The RWG then met to evaluate the synthesized data to assign a grade to each indicator.

Results:

Overall Physical Activity Levels were assigned a grade of D-. Other physical activity behaviors were also graded as less than average (D to D-), while Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation was assigned a grade of B-. The nation performed better for settings and sources of influence and Government Strategies and Investments (A- to a C). Four incompletes were assigned due to a lack of representative quality data.

Conclusions:

Evidence suggests that physical activity levels of Australian children remain very low, despite moderately supportive social, environmental and regulatory environments. There are clear gaps in the research which need to be filled and consistent data collection methods need to be put into place.

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Casey E. Gray, Joel D. Barnes, Jennifer Cowie Bonne, Christine Cameron, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Guy Faulkner, Ian Janssen, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Angela M. Kolen, Stephen R. Manske, Art Salmon, John C. Spence, Brian W. Timmons and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

The Active Healthy Kids Canada (AHKC) Report Card consolidates and translates research and assesses how Canada is being responsible in providing physical activity opportunities for children (3- to 11-years-old) and youth (12- to 17-years-old). The primary aim of this article is to summarize the results of the 2014 AHKC 10th Anniversary Report Card.

Methods:

Ten physical activity indicators were graded using the AHKC 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 for: ‘Behaviors that Contribute to Overall Physical Activity Levels’ (Overall Physical Activity Levels, D-; Organized Sport Participation, C+; Active Play, INCOMPLETE; Active Transportation, D; Sedentary Behaviors, F), ‘Settings and Sources of Influence’ (Family and Peers, C; School, C+; and Community and the Built Environment, B+), and ‘Strategies and Investments’ (Government Strategies and Investments, C; and Non-Government Strategies and Investments, A-).

Conclusions:

Despite good availability of policies, programs, and infrastructure, the overall physical activity levels of Canadian children and youth remain low while sedentary behavior levels remain high. As with many nations, there is room for improvement in most physical activity behaviors and some sources of influence.

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Silvia A. González, Olga L. Sarmiento, Daniel D. Cohen, Diana M. Camargo, Jorge E. Correa, Diana C. Páez and Robinson Ramírez-Vélez

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is central to the global agenda for the prevention on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Although 80% of NCDs occur in low-to-middle-income countries, the evidence on PA comes mainly from high-income countries. In this context, the report card for Colombia is an advocacy tool to help in the translation of evidence into concrete actions. The aims of this paper were two-fold: to present the methodology used to develop the first Report Card on Physical Activity in Colombian Children and Youth and to summarize the results.

Methods:

Twelve indicators of PA were graded using numerical grades (5, highest, to 1, lowest) based on data from national surveys and policy documents.

Results:

National policy and obesity indicators were graded “4,” while departmental policy and overweight indicators were graded “3.” Overall PA levels, sports participation, sedentary behaviors and nongovernment initiatives were graded “2,” and school influence was graded “1.” Active transportation, active play, low cardiorespiratory fitness, and family and community influence received an incomplete.

Conclusion:

PA levels are low and sedentary behaviors are high in Colombian children and youth. Although the prevalence of obesity in Colombia is lower compared with other Latin American countries, it is increasing. A rich legal framework and availability of institutional arrangements provide unique opportunities to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice that need to be evaluated.

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Martyn Standage, Hannah J. Wilkie, Russell Jago, Charlie Foster, Mary A. Goad and Sean P. Cumming

Background:

The Active Healthy Kids 2014 England Report Card aims to provide a systematic assessment of how England is performing in relation to engaging and facilitating physical activity (PA) in children and young people.

Methods:

The systematic methods and processes that underpin the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card were used and adapted. Data and evidence were consolidated, reviewed by a panel of content experts, and used to inform the assignment of letter grades (A, B, C, D, F) to 9 core indicators related to PA.

Results:

Children’s Overall Physical Activity received a grade of C/D. Active Transportation and Organized Sport Participation received grades of C and C-, respectively. The indicators of School and Community and the Built Environment were graded favorable with grades of A- and B, respectively. Active Play, Sedentary Behaviors, Family and Peers, and Government Strategies and Investments were graded as INC (incomplete) due to a lack of nationally representative data and/or as a result of data not mapping onto the benchmarks used to assign the grades.

Conclusions:

Substantial provision for PA opportunities in England exists. Yet more effort is required to maximize use of these resources to increase PA participation.

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Jarmo Liukkonen, Timo Jaakkola, Sami Kokko, Arto Gråstén, Sami Yli-Piipari, Pasi Koski, Jorma Tynjälä, Anne Soini, Timo Ståhl and Tuija Tammelin

The Finnish 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity (PA) for Children and Youth is the first assessment of Finland’s efforts in promoting and facilitating PA opportunities for children and youth using the Active Healthy Kids Canada grading system. The Report Card relies primarily on research findings from 6 Research Institutes, coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä. The Research Work Group convened to evaluate the aggregated evidence and assign grades for each of the 9 PA indicators, following the Canadian Report Card protocol. Grades from A (highest) to F (lowest) varied in Finland as follows: 1) Overall physical activity—fulfillment of recommendations (D), 2) Organized sport participation (C), 3) Active play (D), 4) Active transportation (B), 5) Sedentary behaviors (D), 6) Family and peers (C), 7) School (B), 8) Community and the built environment (B), and 9) Government (B). This comprehensive summary and assessment of indicators related to PA in Finnish children and youth indicates that Finland still has many challenges to promote a physically active life style for youth.

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Reginald Ocansey, Richmond Aryeetey, Seidu Sofo, Margaret Badasu Delali, Prince Pambo and Vida Korleki Nyawornota

Background:

Limited evidence exists on indicators of physical activity (PA) and guidelines for children and youth in Ghana, despite the growing burden of physical inactivity, obesity, and related morbidity. A baseline description of PA indicators of Ghanaian children and youth is hereby presented in the 2014 Ghanaian Physical Activity Report Card.

Methods:

Data for the report card were obtained from a very limited available literature on PA among children and youth in Ghana. PA experts independently assigned grades to indicators based on available evidence, which were then harmonized and agreed to by group consensus.

Results:

The report card is based on limited evidence. Thus, 2 indicators were not graded (Active Play, and Family and Peer Support). For sedentary behavior, a B grade was assigned based on evidence from the 2012 Ghana School Health Survey which indicated that 21% of children and youth were sedentary. Organized Sports was graded a C, while the remainder of indicators (Overall PA levels, Active Transportation, School, Community, and Government) were graded a D.

Conclusions:

About one-third of Ghanaian children and youth engage in inadequate PA. More research on PA behavior and enabling environments is needed to better grade the indicators of PA in the future and to inform policy and interventions in Ghana. Appropriate school physical education and after-school sports policies and programs are warranted.

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Deirdre M. Harrington, Sarahjane Belton, Tara Coppinger, Muireann Cullen, Alan Donnelly, Kieran Dowd, Teresa Keating, Richard Layte, Marie Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Elaine Murtagh and Catherine Woods

Background:

Physical activity (PA) levels are a key performance indicator for policy documents in Ireland. The first Ireland Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth aims to set a robust baseline for future surveillance of indicators related to PA in children and youth.

Methods:

Data collected between 2003−2010 on more than 35,000 7- to 18-year-old children and youth were used and graded using a standardized grading system for 10 indicators.

Results:

Grades assigned for the indicators were as follows: overall physical activity levels, D-; sedentary behavior (TV viewing), C-; organized sport participation, C-: physical education, D-; active play, inconclusive (INC); active transportation, D; school, C-, community and the built environment, B; family, INC; and government, INC.

Conclusions:

PA recommendations exist in Ireland but this Report Card has shown that participation is still low. A number of promising policies, programs and services are in place but these require thorough evaluation and adequate resourcing. Agreement and implementation of a common framework for the systematic surveillance of indictors related to PA of children and youth is necessary to monitor change over time and ensure the impact of promising work is captured.

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Lucy-Joy M. Wachira, Stella K. Muthuri, Mark S. Tremblay and Vincent O. Onywera

Background:

The report card presents available evidence on the physical activity (PA) and body weight status of Kenyan children and youth. It highlights areas where Kenya is succeeding and those in which more action is needed.

Methods:

Comprehensive review and analysis of available data on core indicators for Kenyan children and youth 5−17 years were conducted. The grading system used was based on a set of specific criteria and existing grading schemes from similar report cards in other countries.

Results:

Of the 10 core indicators discussed, body composition was favorable (grade B) while overall PA levels, organized sport participation, and active play were assigned grades of C. Active transportation and sedentary behaviors were also favorable (grade B). Family/peers, school, governmental and nongovernmental strategies were graded C.

Conclusions:

The majority of Kenyan children and youth have healthy body composition levels and acceptable sedentary time, but are not doing as well in attaining the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation on PA. Although Kenya seems to be doing well in most indicators compared with some developed countries, there is a need for action to address existing trends toward unhealthy lifestyles. More robust and representative data for all indicators are required.

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María del Pilar Rodriguez Martinez, Karla I. Galaviz, Edtna Jauregui Ulloa, Ines Gonzalez-Casanova and Juan Ricardo Lopez y Taylor

Background:

The Mexican Report Card on Physical Activity in children and youth was first developed in 2012 as a tool aimed at informing policy and practice. The objective of this paper is to update the Report Card to reflect the current situation in Mexico.

Methods:

A literature search was conducted in Spanish and English using major databases, and complemented with government documents and national health surveys. Information on the 9 indicators outlined in the Global Matrix of Report Card Grades was extracted. Experts from Mexico and Canada met to discuss and assign a grade on each indicator.

Results:

The physical activity indicator was assigned a C+, which was higher than in the previous report card. Sedentary behavior was assigned a D, which was lower than the previous report card. Organized Sports and Active Transportation, which were not graded in the previous report card, were assigned grades of D and B-, respectively. Government and Built Environment were assigned grades of C and F, respectively. Family and Peers and Active Play were not graded (INC).

Conclusions:

Levels of PA and sedentary behaviors among Mexican children and youth were below the respective recommended references. The implementation and effectiveness of current government strategies need to be determined. The Mexican Report Card is a promising knowledge translation tool that can serve to inform policies and programs related to physical activity.

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António Prista, Salazar Picardo, Edmundo Ribeiro, Joel Libombo and Timoteo Daca

Background:

This paper describes the procedures and development of the first Mozambican Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Adolescents.

Methods:

Comprehensive searches for data related to indicators of physical activity (PA) were completed by a committee of physical activity and sports specialists. Grades were assigned to each indicator consistent with the process and methodology outlined by the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card model.

Results:

Seven indicators of PA were graded. The following grades were assigned: Overall Physical Activity Levels, B; Organized Sport Participation, F; Active Play, C; Active Transportation, B; Schools, C; Community and the Built Environment, F; and Government, C. Sedentary Behaviors and Family and Peers were not graded due to the lack of available information.

Conclusions:

PA behaviors of children and young people of Mozambique are positively influenced by the rural environment and are largely related to subsistence activities and outdoor play, and absence of motorized transport. In turn, urban areas are declining in active habits and opportunities due largely to rapid urbanization and lack of planning that favors active transport and play.