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Ralph Maddison, Leila Pfaeffli Dale, Samantha Marsh, Allana G. LeBlanc and Melody Oliver

Background:

This brief report provides grades for the 2014 New Zealand Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. The Report Card presents a review of current evidence across 9 key indicators, including physical activity (PA), organized sport and free play, sedentary behavior, and community and government initiatives across New Zealand.

Methods:

Nationally representative survey data were collated by researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, between June and December 2013. The grade for each indicator is based on the percentage of children and youth meeting a defined benchmark: A is 81%−100%; B is 61%−80%; C is 41%−60%, D is 21%−40%; F is 0%−20%; INC is incomplete data.

Results:

Overall PA received a score of B, as did Organized Sport Participation and Active Play. PA participation in School Environment scored slightly less with a score of B-. Sedentary Behaviors, Family and Peers, and Community and Built Environment scored a grade of C. Active transportation received a score of C-. An inconclusive grade was given for the Government indicator due to a lack of established international criteria for assessment.

Conclusions:

PA participation in New Zealand is satisfactory, but could improve. However, sedentary behavior is high. Of particular concern is the age-related decline in PA participation, particularly among adolescent females, and the increase in sedentary behavior.

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Kingsley K. Akinroye, Adewale L. Oyeyemi, Oluwakemi O. Odukoya, Ade F. Adeniyi, Rufus A. Adedoyin, Olatunde S. Ojo, Damilola A. Alawode, Ebenezer A. Ozomata and Taofeek O. Awotidebe

Background:

Physical activity (PA) promotion in children and youth is an impetus for prevention and control of NCD morbidity and mortality, but evidence is needed for effective interventions. The aim of the present paper is to summarize the results of the 2013 Nigerian Report Card on Physical Activity for children and youth.

Methods:

The Technical Report Committee conducted a comprehensive review of available literature in Nigeria. Grades were assigned to 10 PA indicators modeled after the Active Healthy Kids Canada (AHKC) grading system.

Results:

Specific grades were assigned for several indicators: Overall Physical Activity Levels, C; Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation, Incomplete; Active Play and Leisure, C-; Active Transportation, B; Sedentary Behaviors, F; Overweight and Obesity, B+. The following indicators were graded as INCOMPLETE: Physical Activity in School setting, Family and Peers, Community and Built Environment, and Government Strategies and Investments.

Conclusions:

PA levels of Nigerian children and youth are moderate while sedentary behaviors are high. The development of national guidelines for PA and sedentary behaviors can better inform policy and practice on healthy living among Nigerian children and youth.

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John J. Reilly, Smita Dick, Geraldine McNeill and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

The Active Healthy Kids Scotland Report Card aims to consolidate existing evidence, facilitate international comparisons, encourage more evidence-informed physical activity and health policy, and improve surveillance of physical activity.

Methods:

Application of the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card process and methodology to Scotland, adapted to Scottish circumstances and availability of data.

Results:

The Active Healthy Kids Scotland Report Card 2013 consists of indicators of 7 Health Behaviors and Outcomes and 3 Influences on Health Behaviors and Outcomes. Grades of F were assigned to Overall Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior (recreational screen time), and Obesity Prevalence. A C was assigned to Active Transportation and a D- was assigned to Diet. Two indicators, Active and Outdoor Play and Organized Sport Participation, could not be graded. Among the Influences, Family Influence received a D, while Perceived Safety, Access, and Availability of Spaces for Physical Activity and the National Policy Environment graded more favorably with a B.

Conclusions:

The Active Healthy Kids Canada process and methodology was readily generalizable to Scotland. The report card illustrated low habitual physical activity and extremely high levels of screen-based sedentary behavior, and highlighted several opportunities for improved physical activity surveillance and promotion strategies.

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Catherine Draper, Susan Basset, Anniza de Villiers, Estelle V. Lambert and the HAKSA Writing Group

Background:

There is current concern for the health and well-being of children and youth in South Africa, including habits of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior. The 2014 Healthy Active Kids South Africa Report Card evaluates the current activity status of children and youth.

Methods:

The Research Working Group was comprised of 23 experts in physical education, nutrition, sport science, public health and journalism. The search was based on a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature (previous 5 years), dissertations, and nonpeer-reviewed reports (‘gray’ literature) dealing with the PA and nutritional status of South African children and youth 6−18 years of age. Key indicators were identified and data extracted. Grades for each indicator were discussed and assigned.

Results:

Overall PA levels received a D grade, as roughly 50% or more of children and youth were not meeting recommended levels. Organized sports participation fared better with a C, and government policies were promising, receiving a B. Screen time and sedentary behavior were a major concern and received a grade of F. Under- and over-weight were highlighted, but overweight is on the rise and this indicator was assigned a D grade. Most of the other indicators in South Africa remained the same or became worse so that grades declined from C- to D. In particular, sedentary behavior, soft-drink and fast food consumption, and an ineffectual regulatory environment to control advertising to children were a concern. There is need to engage parents and communities for advocacy and social mobilization.

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Kara N. Dentro, Kim Beals, Scott E. Crouter, Joey C. Eisenmann, Thomas L. McKenzie, Russell R. Pate, Brian E. Saelens, Susan B. Sisson, Donna Spruijt-Metz, Melinda S. Sothern and Peter T. Katzmarzyk

Background:

The National Physical Activity Plan Alliance partnered with physical activity experts to develop a report card that provides a comprehensive assessment of physical activity among United States children and youth.

Methods:

The 2014 U.S. Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth includes 10 indicators: overall physical activity levels, sedentary behaviors, active transportation, organized sport participation, active play, health-related fitness, family and peers, school, community and the built environment, and government strategies and investments. Data from nationally representative surveys were used to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the physical activity indicators. The Committee used the best available data source to grade the indicators using a standard rubric.

Results:

Approximately one-quarter of children and youth 6 to 15 years of age were at least moderately active for 60 min/day on at least 5 days per week. The prevalence was lower among youth compared with younger children, resulting in a grade of D- for overall physical activity levels. Five of the remaining 9 indicators received grades ranging from B- to F, whereas there was insufficient data to grade 4 indicators, highlighting the need for more research in some areas.

Conclusions:

Physical activity levels among U.S. children and youth are low and sedentary behavior is high, suggesting that current infrastructure, policies, programs, and investments in support of children’s physical activity are not sufficient.

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Anna Goodman, James Paskins and Roger Mackett

Background:

Children in primary school are more physically active in the spring/summer. Little is known about the relative contributions of day length and weather, however, or about the underlying behavioral mediators.

Methods:

325 British children aged 8 to 11 wore accelerometers as an objective measure of physical activity, measured in terms of mean activity counts. Children simultaneously completed diaries in which we identified episodes of out-of-home play, structured sports, and active travel. Our main exposure measures were day length, temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, and wind speed.

Results:

Overall physical activity was higher on long days (≥ 14 hours daylight), but there was no difference between short (< 9.5 hours) and medium days (10.2–12.6 hours). The effect of long day length was largest between 5 PM and 8 PM, and persisted after adjusting for rainfall, cloud cover, and wind. Up to half this effect was explained by a greater duration and intensity of out-of-home play on long days; structured sports and active travel were less affected by day length.

Conclusions:

At least above a certain threshold, longer afternoon/evening daylight may have a causal role in increasing child physical activity. This strengthens the public health arguments for daylight saving measures such as those recently under consideration in Britain.

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Maria Hagströmer, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Lydia Kwak and Heather R. Bowles

Context:

The quality of methodological papers assessing physical activity instruments depends upon the rigor of a study’s design.

Objectives:

We present a checklist to assess key criteria for instrument validation studies.

Process:

A Medline/PubMed search was performed to identify guidelines for evaluating the methodological quality of instrument validation studies. Based upon the literature, a pilot version of a checklist was developed consisting of 21 items with 3 subscales: 1) quality of the reported data (9 items: assess whether the reported information is sufficient to make an unbiased assessment of the findings); 2) external validity of the results (3 items: assess the extent to which the findings are generalizable); 3) internal validity of the study (9 items: assess the rigor of the study design). The checklist was tested for interrater reliability and feasibility with 6 raters.

Findings:

Raters viewed the checklist as helpful for reviewing studies. They suggested minor wording changes for 8 items to clarify intent. One item was divided into 2 items for a total of 22 items.

Discussion:

Checklists may be useful to assess the quality of studies designed to validate physical activity instruments. Future research should test checklist internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and criterion validity.

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Elva M. Arredondo, Tamar Mendelson, Christina Holub, Nancy Espinoza and Simon Marshall

Context:

The validity of physical activity (PA) self-report measures can be a problem when using these measures with target populations that differ from the population for which the measures were originally developed.

Objectives:

Describe an approach to further tailor PA self-report measures to a target community, and report on focus group and cognitive interview findings.

Process:

Topics relevant to culturally tailoring measures are discussed, including translation, focus groups, and cognitive interviews. We describe examples from our own work, including focus groups and cognitive interviews conducted to assess Latinos’ interpretations of PA questions derived from various epidemiological surveys that were developed in White communities.

Findings:

Findings from focus groups and cognitive interviews provide valuable information about the comprehension, interpretation, and cultural relevance of the PA questions to Latino communities.

Conclusions:

It is recommended that investigators collect formative data to better assess the equivalence of items being applied to a different cultural group. Guidelines for cultural attunement of self-report instruments are described to promote more uniform and rigorous processes of adaptation and facilitate cross-cultural investigations.

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Kelley K. Pettee Gabriel, James R. Morrow Jr. and Anne-Lorraine T. Woolsey

Context:

The selection of the most psychometrically appropriate self-report tool(s) to measure specific physical activity constructs has been a challenge for researchers, public health practitioners, and clinicians, alike. The lack of a reasonable gold standard measure and inconsistent use of established and evolving terminology have contributed to these challenges. The variation of self-report measures and quality of the derived summary estimates could be attributed to the absence of a standardized conceptual framework for physical activity.

Objective:

To present a conceptual framework for physical activity as a complex and multidimensional behavior that differentiates behavioral and physiological constructs of human movement.

Process:

The development of a conceptual framework can provide the basic foundation from which to standardize definitions, guide design and development of self-report measures, and provide consistency during instrument selection.

Conclusions:

Based on our proposed conceptual framework for physical activity, we suggest that physical activity is more clearly defined as the behavior that involves human movement, resulting in physiological attributes including increased energy expenditure and improved physical fitness. Utilization of the proposed conceptual framework can result in better instrument choices and consistency in methods used to assess physical activity and sedentary behaviors across research and public health practice.