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Open access

Peter Gelius, Antonina Tcymbal, Stephen Whiting, Sven Messing, Karim Abu-Omar, Wolfgang Geidl, Anne Kerstin Reimers, Klaus Pfeifer, Romeu Mendes, Nino Berdzuli, and Joao Breda

Background: The COVID-19 pandemic is a major challenge for societies and governments around the world that severely affects all aspects of health promotion. This study assesses the potential influence of the first wave of the pandemic on national physical activity promotion policy in the European Union (EU). Methods: Data were collected using an online survey among members of the EU Physical Activity Focal Point Network, which consists of government officials from all EU member states. Results: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly affected physical activity promotion across the EU. In particular, experts indicated that it has negatively impacted opportunities for physical activity in their countries. There have, however, been positive effects of the crisis on public awareness of physical activity. While almost all countries were able to issue physical activity recommendations during quarantine, opinions varied regarding the overall impact of the pandemic on governmental capacities for physical activity promotion and policy. Conclusions: This study shows that the COVID-19 crisis has had both negative and positive effects on physical activity promotion in the EU. The positive experiences reported by some members of the Focal Point Network may assist other countries in identifying potential policy windows and strategies for the ongoing pandemic.

Open access

Jacqueline L. Mair, Lawrence D. Hayes, Amy K. Campbell, and Nicholas Sculthorpe

Researchers, practitioners, and public health organizations from around the world are becoming increasingly interested in using data from consumer-grade devices such as smartphones and wearable activity trackers to measure physical activity (PA). Indeed, large-scale, easily accessible, and autonomous data collection concerning PA as well as other health behaviors is becoming ever more attractive. There are several benefits of using consumer-grade devices to collect PA data including the ability to obtain big data, retrospectively as well as prospectively, and to understand individual-level PA patterns over time and in response to natural events. However, there are challenges related to representativeness, data access, and proprietary algorithms that, at present, limit the utility of this data in understanding population-level PA. In this brief report we aim to highlight the benefits, as well as the limitations, of using existing data from smartphones and wearable activity trackers to understand large-scale PA patterns and stimulate discussion among the scientific community on what the future holds with respect to PA measurement and surveillance.

Open access

Katja Siefken, Andrea Ramirez Varela, Temo Waqanivalu, and Nico Schulenkorf

Since 2020, the world has been navigating an epidemiologic transition with both infectious diseases (COVID-19) and noncommunicable diseases intertwined in complex and diverse ways. In fact, the pandemics of physical inactivity, noncommunicable diseases, and COVID-19 coincide in a tragically impactful ménage à trois with their detrimental long-term health consequences yet to be determined. We know that people in low- and middle-income countries not only have the highest risk of developing chronic diseases, they also develop the diseases at a younger age, they suffer longer, and they die earlier than people in high-income countries. This commentary features 5 compelling reasons for putting physical activity in low- and middle-income countries high up on the public health research agenda and calls for more commitment to inclusive and context-specific public health practices that are paired with locally relevant promotion and facilitation of PA practice, research, and policymaking.

Open access

Joseph J. Murphy, Fiona Mansergh, Marie H. Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Benny Cullen, Sarah O’Brien, Stephen Finn, Grainne O’Donoghue, Niamh Barry, Shirley O’Shea, Kevin M. Leyden, Peter Smyth, Jemima Cooper, Enrique G. Bengoechea, Nick Cavill, Andrew J. Milat, Adrian E. Bauman, and Catherine B. Woods

Physical activity (PA) promotion is a complex challenge, with the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) endorsing a systems approach and recommending countries assess existing areas of progress which can be strengthened. This paper reports a process facilitating a systems approach for identifying current good practice and gaps for promoting PA in Ireland. Elements of participatory action research were enabled through 3 stages: (1) aligning examples of actions from Irish policy documents (n = 3) to the GAPPA, (2) workshop with stakeholders across multiple sectors, and (3) review of outputs. Data collected through the workshop were analyzed using a deductive thematic analysis guided by the GAPPA. The policy context in Ireland aligns closely to the GAPPA with the creation of Active Systems the most common strategic objective across policy documents. Forty participants (50% male) took part in the systems approach workshop, which after revision resulted in 80 examples of good practice and 121 actions for greater impact. A pragmatic and replicable process facilitating a systems approach was adopted and showed current Irish policy and practices align with the GAPPA “good practices.” The process provides existing areas of progress which can be strengthened, as well as the policy opportunities and practice gaps.

Open access

Bridget C. Foley, Mathew McLaughlin, Sarah Edney, Sheikh Mohammed Shariful Islam, Jessica Seymour, Louisa R. Peralta, Angela Douglas, Simon Rosenbaum, Holly Thorpe, Janice Atkin, Tim Olds, and Ding Ding

The Australasian Society for Physical Activity aims to advance the science and practice of physical activity in Australia, New Zealand, the Pacific Islands, East Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Fun, enjoyment, and cross-disciplinary discourse are important to ensure the network of physical activity professionals and our collective voice continues to grow. In May 2021, Australasian Society for Physical Activity’s Early Career Network curated an engaging online Physical Activity Debate attended by 206 professionals. This commentary provides a synopsis of the debate and the central arguments presented by the affirmative and negatives teams. The authors describe the debate format and interactive design of the online Physical Activity Debate to provide insights for future online events that aim to boost interaction among physical activity professionals from various disciplines.

Open access

Malorie Polster, Erin E. Dooley, Kate Olscamp, Katrina L. Piercy, and April Oh

Background: Dissemination of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (Guidelines) is needed, but how individuals respond to the Guidelines is not well understood. This surveillance study describes US adults’ reported responses to and information sources for hearing about the Guidelines and explores relationships between how respondents heard about the Guidelines and their reported response(s). Methods: Data were analyzed from the population-based 2019 Health Information National Trends Survey 5 Cycle 3. Population-weighted proportions of response were calculated. Among those who had heard about the Guidelines, binary logistic regressions examined associations between the reported response(s) and the information source and number of sources reported. Results: The analytical sample included 5047 adults. Nearly 65% of US adults reported hearing about the Guidelines, and 29% reported a behavioral response (eg, increased physical activity). Hearing about the Guidelines through health professionals (adjusted odds ratio = 2.30, 95% confidence interval, 1.45–3.65) or social media (adjusted odds ratio = 1.89, 95% confidence interval, 1.20–2.96) (vs other sources) was associated with reporting increasing physical activity. Hearing from multiple sources (vs one source) was associated with reporting increasing physical activity (adjusted odds ratio = 1.97, 95% confidence interval, 1.18–3.31). Conclusion: Findings suggest dissemination of the Guidelines across multiple channels may promote greater changes in physical activity.

Open access

Andreas Kuettel, Natalie Durand-Bush, and Carsten H. Larsen

The purpose of this study was (a) to investigate gender differences in mental health among Danish youth soccer players, (b) to discover the mental health profiles of the players, and (c) to explore how career progression and mental health are related. A total of 239 Danish youth elite soccer players (M = 16.85, SD = 1.09) completed an online questionnaire assessing mental well-being, depression, anxiety, along with other background variables. Female players scored significantly lower on mental well-being and had four times higher odds of expressing symptoms of anxiety and depression than males. Athletes’ mental health profiles showed that most athletes experience low depression while having moderate mental well-being. Depression, anxiety, and stress scores generally increased when progressing in age, indicating that the junior–senior transition poses distinct challenges to players’ mental health, especially for female players. Different strategies to foster players’ mental health depending on their mental health profiles are proposed.

Open access

Eleftherios Paraskevopoulos, Georgios Gioftsos, Georgios Georgoudis, and Maria Papandreou

Adherence to exercise rehabilitation has been shown to be an important factor that may influence successful treatment. In professional athletes, a significant reduction in exercise adherence delays recovery. The aim of this study was to explore barriers to and facilitators of exercise rehabilitation adherence in injured volleyball athletes. Eight professional volleyball athletes were recruited, and qualitative data were collected using semistructured interviews. All athletes had completed their rehabilitation program after they had suffered a musculoskeletal injury. All data were analyzed using thematic analysis after the investigators ensured that saturation had been reached. Pain was identified as a significant barrier to exercise adherence by all athletes. The provision of social support, including mental, practical, and task related, also had a significant positive impact. The athletes’ ability to develop the necessary coping strategies and confidence on performing exercises at home was also mentioned as a factor that affected exercise adherence, although less often.