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Rodrigo Reis, Ruth F. Hunter, Leandro Garcia, and Deborah Salvo

We are experiencing a planetary tipping point with global warming, environmental degradation, and losses in biodiversity. The burdens of these changes fall disproportionately on poor and marginalized populations. Physical activity promotion strategies need to be aligned with climate action commitments, incorporating the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenarios in physical activity action plans. The promotion strategies must consider equity a core value and promote physical activity to the most vulnerable populations so that they are protected from the ill-health impacts of a changing climate.

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Seyyed Mohammadreza Mousavi and Takehiro Iwatsuki

Expectancies for success and autonomy support have been shown to facilitate motor learning and enhance motor performance. The purpose of the study was to examine whether we replicated (a) enhanced expectancies and autonomy support intervention enhanced motor skill learning in children, and (b) identified the underlying psychological mechanism. Sixty children kicked soccer balls with their dominant leg to a squared area target. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the four groups: enhanced expectancies and autonomy support (EE/AS), enhanced expectancies (EE), autonomy support (AS), or control (CON) groups. Participants learning the skill were or were not provided enhanced expectation instructions by making the task success easier and provided an opportunity to choose one of the three colored balls during their practice. Two days later, they performed retention and transfer tests. Results indicated that the EE/AS group had the highest scores, with main effects of autonomy support being significant and enhanced expectancies being marginally significant for the retention test and significant for the transfer test. The EE/AS group had the highest self-efficacy and perceived choice scores. Therefore, having high expectancies for success and being autonomous were important ingredients for facilitating motor skill learning in children.

Open access

Marlene A. Dixon

In her 2020 Earle F. Zeigler Award address, Marlene Dixon presented and discussed five elements of a sustained career in academia: Lifelong Learning, Authenticity, Relational Mentoring, Work-Life Balance, and Faithfulness. Dixon suggests that remaining open to new learning and taking risks helps increase capacity and vigor. Authenticity brings richness, voice, durability, and purpose. Relational mentoring brings connection, community, enrichment, and longevity. Cultivating work-life balance, rest, and self-care not only helps avoid burnout, but also improves creativity, playfulness, and liveliness. Finally, leveraging the extended metaphor from Tolkein’s Leaf by Niggle, Dixon argues that faithfulness, rather than visibility or measurable outcome, defines the meaning and value of our work and contribution not only to science, but also to our life circles.

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Nicole A. Pratt, Michael J. Duncan, Martyn G. Morris, and Samuel W. Oxford

There is a dearth of research in aquatic motor competency, a key requirement for primary physical education in order to become physically literate. This study proposes a new assessment protocol for aquatic motor competence and sets out to examine the validity of the Aquatic Movement Protocol (AMP) in children between 7 and 9 years of age. Testing of Gross Motor Development—second edition was implemented to assess general motor competence, including a composite of 10-m running sprint time and standing long jump distance. Aquatic motor competence was assessed by the AMP. Univariate analyses of covariance were used to examine whether assessment of general motor competence differed as opposed to aquatic motor competence. Process and product measures of dryland motor competence were analyzed using male and female subjects measuring three aquatic motor competences (low, medium, and high). Cronbach’s alpha and exploratory factor analyses were implemented to show both construct and concurrent validity of the AMP. Children classified as high for aquatic motor competence had significantly higher general motor competence (p = .001). Those who achieved a higher composite score for faster sprint speeds and longer jump distances had significantly higher aquatic motor competence (p = .001). Cronbach’s alpha of .908, showed internal consistency of the AMP. Results extracted one factor from analysis with an eigenvalue = 6.2; %variance = 62.1, with loadings higher than 0.5. This data suggests that the items on the AMP measure a single construct that we would call “Aquatic Motor Competence.” This study demonstrates that the AMP is a valid measure of aquatic motor competence in primary aged children.

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.

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María J. Oliveros, Pamela Serón, Fernando Lanas, and Shrikant I. Bangdiwala

Background: Although low levels of physical activity have slightly decreased globally, the need to reverse the physical inactivity remains urgent. One approach has been the installation of outdoor gyms (OGs). Method: A natural experiment arose from the installation of OGs in different neighborhoods of the city of Temuco, Chile. Baseline measurements were collected between 2006 and 2017 in a cohort of adults participating in the Prospective Urban & Rural Epidemiology study. Physical activity was assessed with the short version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, and time-varying covariates was assessed every 3 years. The multistage hierarchical, nested sampling process and the follow-up assessments led to data correlated at different levels, thus the authors analyzed the data using a logistic multilevel model. Result: 2463 urban adults from 16 neighborhoods, with an average age of 51.7 (9.8) years (67% female), were included. Having an adequate number of OGs improved the odds of complying with the World Health Organization’s recommendations (adjusted odds ratio = 4.64, 3.95–5.45). In addition, being male (odds ratio = 1.53, 1.32–1.77) and under the age of 60 years (odds ratio = 0.83, 0.71–0.97) were associated with being physically active. Conclusion: The presence of more OGs can have a positive impact on physical activity recommendations.

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.

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Robert Glenn Weaver, Rafael M. Tassitano, Maria Cecília M. Tenório, Keith Brazendale, and Michael W. Beets

Background: Evidence from a limited sample of countries indicates that time for physical education and recess during school have declined. Schools are called to provide children with 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). This systematic review and meta-analysis estimated temporal trends in children’s school day MVPA. Methods: Three online databases were searched to identify studies with objectively measured MVPA, during school hours, in school aged children (5–18 y). Multilevel random-effects meta-analyses estimated MVPA by year, and meta-regression analyses estimated temporal trends in school day MVPA. Results: Studies (N = 65) providing 171 MVPA estimates, representing 60,779 unique children, from 32 countries, and spanning 2003–2019 were identified. Most studies were conducted in North America (n = 33) or Europe (n = 21). School day MVPA ranged from 18.1 (95% confidence interval, 15.1–21.1) to 47.1 (95% confidence interval, 39.4–54.8) minutes per day in any given year. Meta-regression analyses indicated that MVPA declined from 2003 to 2010 (approximately 15 min decline), plateaued from 2010 to 2015 (approximately 1 min decrease), and increased from 2015 to 2019 (approximately 5 min increase). Conclusions: School day MVPA decreased from 2003 to 2010 and has recently begun to increase. However, the majority of the evidence is from North America and Europe with some evidence from Oceania and very little evidence from Asia to South America.