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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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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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Lindsay Parks Pieper

At specific moments in history, women publicly entered the masculine realm of baseball to advance female suffrage in the United States. Girls and women took to the field in the nineteenth century, enjoying newfound bodily freedoms and disrupting Victorian constraints. While their performances may not have always translated into explicit suffrage activism, their athleticism demonstrated strength at a time when many people used women’s supposed weakness as an argument against their political enfranchisement. However, as the popularity of baseball increased at the turn of the century, the number of female ballplayers decreased. Activism in the sport therefore changed. In the mid-1910s, suffragists advertised at men’s baseball games. The women recognized the value of promoting suffrage through sport; yet, they also acknowledged that by entering ballparks, they entered a male space. Suffragists therefore exhibited conventional White gender norms to avoid aggrieving male voters. Women’s different engagements with baseball, as either players or spectators, had varying consequences for women’s political and sporting emancipation. Women’s physical activism in baseball demonstrated female prowess and strength in sport, but only abstractly advanced women’s political rights; suffragists’ promotional efforts through men’s baseball more directly influenced the eventual passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, but their actions supported women’s position on the sidelines.

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Alanna Weisberg, Alexandre Monte Campelo, Tanzeel Bhaidani and Larry Katz

Traditional physical activity tracking tools, such as self-report questionnaires, are inherently subjective and vulnerable to bias. Physical activity tracking technology, such as activity tracking wristbands, is becoming more reliable and readily available. As such, researchers are employing these objective measurement tools in both observational- and intervention-based studies. There remains a gap in the literature on how to properly select activity tracking wristbands for research, specifically for the older adult population. This paper outlines considerations for choosing the most appropriate wrist-worn wearable device for use in research with older adults. Device features, outcome measures, population, and methodological considerations are explored.

Open access

Nicole K. Nathan, Rachel L. Sutherland, Kirsty Hope, Nicole J. McCarthy, Matthew Pettett, Ben Elton, Rebecca Jackson, Stewart G. Trost, Christophe Lecathelinais, Kathryn Reilly, John H. Wiggers, Alix Hall, Karen Gillham, Vanessa Herrmann and Luke Wolfenden

Aim: To assess the impact of a multistrategy intervention designed to improve teachers’ implementation of a school physical activity (PA) policy on student PA levels. Methods: A cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in 12 elementary schools. Policy implementation required schools to deliver 150 minutes of organized PA for students each week via physical education, sport, or class-based activities such as energizers. Schools received implementation support designed using the theoretical domains framework to help them implement the current policy. Results: A total of 1,502 children in kindergarten to grade 6 participated. At follow-up compared with control, students attending intervention schools had, measured via accelerometer, significantly greater increases in school day counts per minute (97.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 64.5 to 130.4; P < .001) and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (3.0; 95% CI, 2.2–3.8, P < .001) and a greater decrease in sedentary time (−2.1; 95% CI, −3.9 to −0.4, P = .02) per school day. Teachers in intervention schools delivered significantly more minutes (36.6 min) of PA to their students at follow-up (95% CI, 2.7–70.5, P = .04). Conclusions: Supporting teachers to implement a PA policy improves student PA. Additional strategies may be needed to support teachers to implement activities that result in larger gains in student MVPA.

Open access

Abby Haynes, Catherine Sherrington, Geraldine Wallbank, David Lester, Allison Tong, Dafna Merom, Chris Rissel and Anne Tiedemann

The Coaching for Healthy Ageing trial evaluated the impact on physical activity (PA) and falls based on a year-long intervention in which participants aged 60+ receive a home visit, regular health coaching by physiotherapists, and a free activity monitor. This interview study describes the participants’ experiences of the intervention and ideas for improvement. The authors sampled purposively for maximum variation in experiences. The data were analyzed thematically by two researchers. Most of the 32 participants reported that the intervention increased PA levels, embedded activities, and generated positivity about PA. They were motivated by quantified PA feedback, self-directed goals, and person-centered coaching. Social connectivity motivated some, but the intervention did not support this well. The intervention structure allowed participants to trial and embed activities. Autonomy and relatedness were emphasized and should be included in future program theory. The authors identified synergistic effects, likely “essential ingredients,” and potential areas for improving this and similar interventions.

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Nicole McCarthy, Kirsty Hope, Rachel Sutherland, Elizabeth Campbell, Rebecca Hodder, Luke Wolfenden and Nicole Nathan

Background: To determine Australian primary school principals’, teachers’, and parents’ attitudes to changing school uniform policies to allow students to wear sports uniforms every day and to assess associations between participant characteristics and their attitudes. A secondary aim was to identify principals’ and teachers’ perceived barriers to uniform changes. Methods: Cross-sectional surveys of principals, teachers, and parents of children in grades 2 to 3 (age 7–10 y) from 62 Australian primary schools (Oct 2017–Mar 2018) were undertaken. Mixed logistic regression analyses assessed the associations between participant characteristics and attitudes toward uniform changes. Results: In total, 73% of the principals (38/52) who responded reported that their school only allowed children to wear a sports uniform on sports days. Overall, 38% of the principals (18/47), 63% of the teachers (334/579), and 78% of the parents (965/1231) reported they would support a policy that allowed children to wear daily sports uniforms. The most commonly reported barrier was the perception that sports uniforms were not appropriate for formal occasions. Conclusions: Although the majority of the principals were not supportive of a change to a daily sports uniform, the majority of the teachers and parents were. Strategies to improve principal support may be required if broader adoption of physical activity–supporting uniforms is to be achieved.