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.
Katja Siefken, Andrea Varela Ramirez, Temo Waqanivalu, and Nico Schulenkorf
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sara Oliveira, Marina Cunha, António Rosado, and Cláudia Ferreira
This study aimed to test a model that hypothesized that the compassionate coach, as perceived by the athletes, has an impact on athlete-related social safeness and psychological health, through shame and self-criticism. The sample comprised 270 Portuguese adult athletes, who practiced different competitive sports. The path analysis results confirmed the adequacy of the proposed model, which explained 45% of the psychological health’s variance. Results demonstrated that athletes who perceive their coaches as more compassionate tend to present higher levels of social safeness (feelings of belonging to the team) and of psychological health, through lower levels of shame and self-criticism. These novel findings suggest the importance of the adoption of supportive, warm, safe, and compassionate attitudes from coaches in athletes’ mental health. This study also offers important insights by suggesting that feelings of acceptance and connectedness in team relationships may be at the root of athletes’ emotional processes and well-being.
Philippa J.A. Nicolson, Vicky Duong, Esther Williamson, Sally Hopewell, and Sarah E. Lamb
This systematic review aimed to evaluate the effects of therapeutic exercise on physical and psychosocial outcomes in community-dwelling adults aged 80 years or older. Databases were searched from inception to July 8, 2020. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were screened by two reviewers who extracted data and assessed study quality. Sixteen RCTs (1,660 participants) were included. Compared to nonexercise controls there was no evidence of an effect of exercise on performance based (standardized mean differences: 0.58, 95% confidence interval: [−0.19, 1.36]; I 2: 89%; six RCTs; 290 participants; very low-quality evidence) or self-reported physical function (standardized mean differences: 1.35, 95% confidence interval: [−0.78, 3.48]; I 2: 96%; three RCTs; 280 participants; very low-quality evidence) at short-medium term follow-up. Four RCTs reporting psychosocial outcomes could not be combined in meta-analysis and reported varying results. Exercise appeared to reduce the risk of mortality during follow-up (risk ratio: 0.47, 95% confidence interval: [0.32, 0.70]; I 2: 0.0%; six RCTs; 1,222 participants; low-quality evidence).