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Assessing Support for Policy Actions With Co-Benefits for Climate Change and Physical Activity in Canada

Matthew J. Fagan, Leigh M. Vanderloo, Ananya Banerjee, Leah J. Ferguson, Eun-Young Lee, Norman O’Reilly, Ryan E. Rhodes, John C. Spence, Mark S. Tremblay, and Guy Faulkner

Background: Calls to action addressing the interconnections between physical (in)activity and the climate crisis are increasing. The current study aimed to investigate public support for policy actions that potentially have co-benefits for physical activity promotion and climate change mitigation. Methods: In 2023, a survey through the Angus Reid Forum was completed by 2507 adults living in Canada. Binary logistic regressions were conducted. Separate models were created to reflect support or opposition to the 8 included policy items. Several covariates were included in the models including age, gender, political orientation, physical activity levels, income, urbanicity climate anxiety, and attitudes surrounding physical activity and climate change. The data were weighted to reflect the gender, age, and regional composition of the country. Results: Most individuals living in Canada strongly or moderately supported all actions (ranging from 71% to 85%). Meeting the physical activity guidelines, higher self-reported income, and scoring high on personal experience of climate change were associated with higher odds of supporting the policy actions related to climate actions. Conclusions: Most adults living in Canada support policies that align with the recommended policy actions related to physical activity and climate change. National campaigns enhancing awareness and understanding of the bidirectional relationship between physical activity and climate change are warranted, and these should consider the consistent demographic differences (eg, gender, age, and political orientation) seen in public support for physical activity-related policies.

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Sport Participation for Academic Success: Evidence From the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children

Katherine B. Owen, Bridget C. Foley, Ben J. Smith, Karine E. Manera, Lucy Corbett, Michelle Lim, Philayrath Phongsavan, Pamela Qualter, Ding Ding, and Philip J. Clare

Background: We aimed to identify long-term patterns of sport participation (overall, team, and individual sport) from childhood into adolescence, and to examine the association between these patterns and academic outcomes. Methods: This cohort study used data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children in wave 3 (4–5 y) to wave 9 (20–21 y). The participants were a nationally representative sample of 4241 children. We conducted latent class analyses to identify sport participation trajectories and assessed the association between these trajectories and academic outcomes. Results: Continued sport participation was associated with lower odds of being absent from school (OR = 0.44; 95% confidence intervals [CIs], 0.26 to 0.74), better performance on attention (B = −0.010; 95% CIs, −0.019 to −0.002) and working memory (B = −0.013; 95% CIs, −0.023 to −0.003), higher numeracy (B = 20.21; 95% CIs, 14.56 to 25.86) and literacy scores (B = 9.42; 95% CIs, 2.82 to 16.02), higher end of school academic performance (B = 3.28; 95% CIs, 1.47 to 5.09), and higher odds of studying at university (OR = 1.78; 95% CIs, 1.32 to 2.40). Team sport participation was associated with reduced absenteeism, better performance on attention and working memory, and being awarded the Higher School Certificate. Whereas individual sport participation was associated with higher literacy scores and end of school academic performance. Conclusions: Team and individual sport participation both benefit academic outcomes, but differently. Given the decline in sport participation during adolescence, these findings highlight the need to develop educational policies to establish an environment that promotes sport participation, which in turn could improve academic outcomes.

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Patterns and Correlates of Participation in a Weekly Mass Participation Physical Activity Event, parkrun, in Australia, 2011–2020

Anne C. Grunseit, Bo-Huei Huang, Dafna Merom, Adrian Bauman, Leonie Cranney, and Kris Rogers

Background: Studying effective interventions already operating at scale is critical to improving physical activity intervention research translation. The free, weekly, timed 5-km run or walk parkrun represents a unique opportunity to examine successful organic dissemination. We conducted an ecological analysis to identify patterns of growth in Australian parkrun participation and their correlates from 2011 to 2020. Method: Outcome variables were (1) weekly counts of walkers/runners and (2) monthly number of new parkrun registrants. We used latent class analysis to characterize growth trajectories followed by logistic regression on class membership. Covariates included parkrun course characteristics (eg, surface type and route), site-level aggregate participant profile (eg, proportion women and mean age), and surrounding area characteristics (eg, population density and physical activity norm). Results: Three hundred and sixty-three parkruns were included (n = 8,388,695 participation instances). Sixty-nine percent followed a low-growth and 31% a high-growth participation pattern. High growth was associated with greater participation by women, concrete/bitumen surface type, lower area socioeconomic status, and greater volunteer heterogeneity. Odds of being in the slow-growth class were higher if the course contained >1 km of repetition, higher average age of participants, better average parkrun performance, and higher running group membership. Two patterns of new registration were identified: high start followed by steep decline; and low start, slow decline with similar correlates to participation. Conclusions: Parkruns with a less competitive social milieu may have more rapid dissemination. As a free and regular event, parkruns in low socioeconomic areas have the potential to improve the activity levels of those with fewer resources.

Free access

Future Directions for Movement Behavior Research in the Early Years

Valerie Carson, Catherine E. Draper, Anthony Okely, John J. Reilly, and Mark S. Tremblay

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Data Coaching: A Strategy to Address Youth Physical Behavior, Motor Competence, and Out-of-School Time Leader Evidence-Based Practices

Peter Stoepker and David A. Dzewaltowski

Free access

The “Matildas Effect”: Will the FIFA Women’s World Cup Generate a Legacy in Australia?

Ding Ding, Katherine Owen, Adrian E. Bauman, Gregore I. Mielke, and Klaus Gebel

Full access

Effects of Breaking Up Sedentary Behavior With Short Bouts of Yoga and Tai-Chi on Glycemia, Concentration, and Well-Being

Alexander Colvin, Lynne Murray, Jillian Noble, and Sebastien Chastin

Background: Investigating the effects of breaking up sedentary behavior with short bouts of Yoga and Tai-Chi on glycemic control, concentration, and well-being in healthy individuals. Methods: In this randomized balanced incomplete block study, 15 adults (age = 26 [2.50] y, 8 females) completed 2 of 3 protocols: uninterrupted sitting (Control), sitting interrupted with 3 minutes of Yoga every 30 minutes, or with 3 minutes of Tai-Chi every 30 minutes. Protocols lasted 7.5 hours and included a standardized diet. Glucose was measured every 30 minutes with a glucometer (Abbott FreeStyle Libre). Concentration and well-being were recorded with self-reported ecological momentary assessment. Area under the curve was calculated for glucose data. Statistical analyses were performed as a hierarchical repeated-measures model. Results: Glucose area under the curve for the Yoga intervention (34.55 [3.12] mmol/L) was significantly lower than the Control (38.14 [3.18] mmol/L; P < .05). There was a trend toward lower glucose in the Tai-Chi group compared with the Control, but no significant differences were found (AUCTai-Chi = 36.64 [3.11] mmol/L; P = .57). Mean concentration in all groups decreased throughout the day, with the largest decrease in the Control. Well-being for the Yoga and Control groups decreased but increased with Tai-Chi. Concentration and well-being responses were not statistically significant between intervention groups. Conclusions: Breaking up sedentary behavior using 3-minute bouts of Yoga significantly lowers blood glucose in healthy individuals without compromising concentration or well-being. Tai-Chi did not provide the same significant effect on glucose levels but allowed better maintenance of concentration and well-being. These interventions provide effective ways to combat the deleterious effects of prolonged sedentary time while maintaining concentration and well-being.

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“Post or Perish”? An Early Career Researcher’s Guide to Using Social Media

Emma S. Cowley, Kelly McNulty, Ciaran M. Fairman, and Lee Stoner

Social media usage has soared in the last decade, with the majority of adults having an account on at least one platform. Sites such as LinkedIn, X, and TikTok allow users to share content using different forms, for example, written or video, long form or short form. Social media can be used by researchers to forge collaborations, rapidly disseminate new research, and demonstrate societal impact. This opinion piece aims to highlight the value of social media, in particular for early career researchers, and offer suggestions on how early career researchers can strategically use social media to build a network and an online presence. We reflect on our own experiences of social media and include some of the reasons we have been deterred from it in the past, such as fear of making a mistake, being misunderstood, or painted as being an overconfident “know it all.” As the demonstration of impact and engagement becomes ever more important in grant applications and job security, social media competency is a powerful professional skill that will be important for all scientists.

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Charting a Course: Navigating Rigor and Meaning in Global Health Research

Tiago Canelas, Motlatso Godongwana, Feyisayo A. Wayas, Estelle Victoria Lambert, Yves Wasnyo, and Louise Foley

In the rapidly evolving landscape of global health research, the tension between scientific rigor and contextual meaning presents a critical challenge. Drawing on our work with the Global Diet and Physical Activity Network, this commentary explores the complexities of conducting environmental audits for physical activity and diet in 4 rapidly urbanizing African cities: Yaoundé, Lagos, Cape Town, and Soweto. We illustrate the competing demands and tensions that researchers face in balancing rigor and meaning. We discuss the adaptation of internationally validated audit tools to local contexts and the importance of area-level deprivation in interpreting data. We also examine the feasibility of virtual assessment tools, emphasizing the value of local expertise. We argue for a balanced approach that marries research rigor with contextual meaning, advocating for transparency, humility, and meaningful community engagement.

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Participant Bias in Community-Based Physical Activity Research: A Consistent Limitation?

Iris A. Lesser, Amanda Wurz, Corliss Bean, Nicole Culos-Reed, Scott A. Lear, and Mary Jung

Physical activity is a beneficial, yet complex, health behavior. To ensure more people experience the benefits of physical activity, we develop and test interventions to promote physical activity and its associated benefits. Nevertheless, we continue to see certain groups of people who choose not to, or are unable to, take part in research, resulting in “recruitment bias.” In fact, we (and others) are seemingly missing large segments of people and are doing little to promote physical activity research to equity-deserving populations. So, how can we better address recruitment bias in the physical activity research we conduct? Based on our experience, we have identified 5 broad, interrelated, and applicable strategies to enhance recruitment and engagement within physical activity interventions: (1) gain trust, (2) increase community support and participation, (3) consider alternative approaches and designs, (4) rethink recruitment strategies, and (5) incentivize participants. While we recognize there is still a long way to go, and there are broader community and societal issues underlying recruitment to research, we hope this commentary prompts researchers to consider what they can do to try to address the ever-present limitation of “recruitment bias” and support greater participation among equity-deserving groups.