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Charlotte Skau Pawlowski, Henriette Bondo Andersen and Jasper Schipperijn

Background: It remains unclear if schoolyard interventions “just” provide more opportunities for those children who are already active. The authors wanted to investigate schoolyard use and physical activity (PA) among the least-active children during recess following schoolyard renewals. Methods: An intervention study design with preresults and postresults comparison was used. Accelerometer and global positioning system data were collected at 6 Danish schools from 553 children at baseline and 439 after renewals (grades 4–9). Based on mean minutes of recess moderate to vigorous PA per child per school, the least-active children were defined as all children in the lowest activity quartile at baseline and follow-up, respectively. Results: One hundred and thirty-five children (70% girls) at baseline and 108 (76% girls) at follow-up were categorized as the least-active children. At follow-up they accumulated more time (12.1 min/d) and PA (4.4 min/d) in the schoolyard during recess compared with baseline. The difference in schoolyard PA found for the least-active children was relatively small compared with the difference for all children. Conclusions: Solely improving the physical schoolyard environment seemed to have limited impact on the least-active children’s PA. Future studies should investigate the complex interrelations between the least-active children and the entire schoolyard environment.

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Sanne L.C. Veldman, Rachel A. Jones, Rebecca M. Stanley, Dylan P. Cliff, Stewart A. Vella, Steven J. Howard, Anne-Maree Parrish and Anthony D. Okely

Background: The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of an embedded after-school intervention, on promoting physical activity and academic achievement in primary-school-aged children. Methods: This 6-month, 2-arm cluster randomized controlled trial involved 4 after-school centers. Two centers were randomly assigned to the intervention, which involved training the center staff on and implementing structured physical activity (team sports and physical activity sessions for 75 min) and academic enrichment activities (45 min). The activities were implemented 3 afternoons per week for 2.5 hours. The control centers continued their usual after-school care practice. After-school physical activity (accelerometry) and executive functions (working memory, inhibition, and cognitive flexibility) were assessed pre- and postintervention. Results: A total of 60 children were assessed (7.7 [1.8] y; 50% girls) preintervention and postintervention (77% retention rate). Children in the intervention centers spent significantly more time in moderate to vigorous physical activity (adjusted difference = 2.4%; 95% confidence interval, 0.6 to 4.2; P = .026) and scored higher on cognitive flexibility (adjusted difference = 1.9 units; 95% confidence interval, 0.9 to 3.0; P = .009). About 92% of the intervention sessions were implemented. The participation rates varied between 51% and 94%. Conclusion: This after-school intervention was successful at increasing moderate to vigorous physical activity and enhancing cognitive flexibility in children. As the intervention was implemented by the center staff and local university students, further testing for effectiveness and scalability in a larger trial is required.

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Anna Lee, Tanvi Bhatt, Xuan Liu, Yiru Wang, Shuaijie Wang and Yi-Chung (Clive) Pai

The purpose was to examine and compare the longer-term generalization between 2 different practice dosages for a single-session treadmill slip-perturbation training when reexposed to an overground slip 6 months later. A total of 45 older adults were conveniently assigned to either 24 or 40 slip-like treadmill perturbation trials or a third control group. Overground slips were given immediately after initial training, and at 6 months after initial training in order to examine immediate and longer-term effects. The performance (center of mass stability and vertical limb support) and fall percentage from the laboratory-induced overground slips (at initial posttraining and at 6 mo) were measured and compared between groups. Both treadmill slip-perturbation groups showed immediate generalization at the initial posttraining test and longer-term generalization at the 6-month retest. The higher-practice-dosage group performed significantly better than the control group (P < .05), with no difference between the lower-practice-dosage and the control groups at the 6-month retest (P > .05). A single session of treadmill slip-perturbation training showed a positive effect for reducing older adults’ fall risk for laboratory-induced overground slips. A higher-practice dosage of treadmill slip perturbations could be more beneficial for further reducing fall risk.

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Jeffrey Sallen, Christian Andrä, Sebastian Ludyga, Manuel Mücke and Christian Herrmann

Background: The relationship between engagement in physical activity and the development of motor competence (MC) is considered to be reciprocal and dynamic throughout childhood and adolescence. The 10-month follow-up study aimed to explore this reciprocal relationship and investigated whether the relationship is mediated by the corresponding self-perception of MC (PMC). Methods: A total of 51 children aged between 10 and 11 years (M = 10.27 [0.45]) participated in the study (52.9% boys, 47.1% girls). As an indicator for physical activity, the average vigorous physical activity (VPA) per day was measured by ActiGraph accelerometers. Two aspects of MC and PMC were recorded: self-movement and object movement. Saturated pathway models in a cross-lagged panel design with 2 measurement points were analyzed. Results: Reciprocal and direct relationships between VPA and MC object movement respectively MC self-movement were not found in longitudinal analyses with PMC as a mediator. Indirect effects of MC at t1 on VPA at t2 via PMC were identified (self-movement: β = 0.13, 95% confidence interval, 0.04 to 0.26; object movement: β = 0.14, 95% confidence interval, 0.01 to 0.49). Conclusion: The results highlight the importance of MC and PMC in promoting children’s VPA. However, VPA does not drive the development of MC.

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Samuel R. Nyman

Despite interest as to the benefits of Tai Chi, there remains a controversy over its effectiveness as an exercise intervention for preventing falls among older adults. This review synthesizes the evidence base with a focus on meta-analyses and randomized controlled trials with community-dwelling older adults. It provides a critical lens on the evidence and quality of the trials. High-quality evidence suggests that Tai Chi is an effective intervention for preventing falls in community settings; however, there is unclear evidence for long-term care facilities and an absence of evidence for hospital settings. When compared directly with other exercise interventions, Tai Chi may offer a superior strategy for reducing falls through its benefits on cognitive functioning. Using data from the current Cochrane review, a new synthesis is presented suggesting that 71–81% of community-dwelling older adults are adherent to class-based Tai Chi interventions. The practical opportunities and challenges for practitioners are discussed.

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Emily J. Tomayko, Katherine B. Gunter, John M. Schuna Jr. and Paul N. Thompson

Background: Use of 4-day school weeks (FDSWs) as a cost-saving strategy has increased substantially as many US school districts face funding declines. However, the impacts of FDSWs on physical activity exposure and related outcomes are unknown. This study examined physical education (PE) exposure and childhood obesity prevalence in 4- versus 5-day Oregon schools; the authors hypothesized lower PE exposure and higher obesity in FDSW schools, given reduced school environment exposure. Methods: The authors utilized existing data from Oregon to compare 4- versus 5-day models: t tests compared mean school-level factors (PE exposure, time in school, enrollment, and demographics) and complex samples weighted t tests compared mean child-level obesity data for a state representative sample of first to third graders (N = 4625). Results: Enrollment, time in school, and student–teacher ratio were significantly lower in FDSW schools. FDSW schools provided significantly more PE, both in minutes (120 vs 101 min/wk in 4- vs 5-d schools, P < .01) and relative to total time in school (6.9% vs 5.0%, P < .0001). Obesity prevalence did not differ significantly between school models. Conclusion: Greater PE exposure in FDSW schools was observed, and it remains unknown whether differences in PE exposure contributed to obesity prevalence in this sample of students. Efforts to better understand how FDSWs impact physical activity, obesity risk, and related factors are needed.

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Martin Buchheit

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Erin K. Howie, Justin M. Guagliano, Karen Milton, Stewart A. Vella, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Tracy L. Kolbe-Alexander, Justin Richards and Russell R. Pate

Background: Sport has been identified as one of the 7 best investments for increasing physical activity levels across the life span. Several questions remain on how to effectively utilize youth sport as a strategy for increasing physical activity and improving health in youth. The purpose of this paper is to identify the main research priorities in the areas of youth sport and physical activity for health. Methods: An international expert panel was convened, selected to cover a wide spectrum of topics related to youth sport. The group developed a draft set of potential research priorities, and relevant research was scoped. Through an iterative process, the group reached consensus on the top 10 research priorities. Results: The 10 research priorities were identified related to sport participation rates, physical activity from sport, the contribution of sport to health, and the overall return on investment from youth sport. For each research priority, the current evidence is summarized, key research gaps are noted, and immediate research needs are suggested. Conclusion: The identified research priorities are intended to guide researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to increase the evidence base on which to base the design, delivery, and policies of youth sport programs to deliver health benefits.