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Editor’s Notes

Craig A. Williams

Open access

A 5-Week Guided Active Play Program Modulates Skin Microvascular Reactivity in Healthy Children

Asal Moghaddaszadeh, Emilie Roudier, Heather Edgell, Agnes Vinet, and Angelo N. Belcastro

Purpose: Children’s poor levels of physical activity (PA) participation and early-onset vascular aging are identified as global health challenges. Children’s guided activity play (GAP)-based PA programs have emerged as effective strategies to improve cardiovascular risk factors and health-related fitness. This study proposes to investigate whether GAP improves children’s cutaneous microvascular reactivity and health-related fitness. Methods: Children’s (n = 18; 9.8 [1.5] y) PA during a 5-week (4 d/wk; 1 h/d) GAP program was assessed (accelerometry) with preassessments and postassessments for anthropometric, musculoskeletal fitness, blood pressure, estimated aerobic power, and cutaneous microvascular reactivity. Results: PA averaged 556 (132) kcal·week−1 at 34.7% (7.5%) time at moderate to vigorous intensity. Resting heart rate (−9.5%) and diastolic blood pressure (−7.8%) were reduced without changes in health-related fitness indices. Cutaneous microvascular reactivity to sodium nitroprusside iontophoresis increased the average perfusion (+36.8%), average cutaneous vascular conductance (+30%), the area under the curve (+28.8%), and a faster rise phase (+40%) of perfusion (quadratic modeling; P ≤ .05). Chi-square and crosstabulation analysis revealed significant association between children’s PA levels and sodium nitroprusside average perfusion levels, where children with PA levels ≥205.1 kcal.55 minute−1 were overrepresented in the medium/high levels of sodium nitroprusside perfusion. Conclusion: A 5-week GAP modified the microvascular reactivity in children without changes in body mass, musculoskeletal fitness, or estimated aerobic power.

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Editor’s Notes

Craig A. Williams

Free access

Children With Cardiac Disease and Heat Exposure: Catastrophic Converging Consequences?

Luc Souilla, Pascal Amedro, and Shawnda A. Morrison

The detrimental impact of extreme heat exposure on the health and well-being of children is widely acknowledged. The direct and indirect effects of climate change have led to an increased risk of certain cardiovascular events which may be particularly harmful to children who are born with, or develop, heart disease. Purpose: To highlight the worrying paucity of investigative research aimed at differentiating how higher ambient temperatures further tax an already compromised cardiovascular system in children. Methods: This commentary describes basic thermoregulatory concepts relevant to the healthy pediatric population and summarizes common heart diseases observed in this population. Results: We describe how heat stress and exercise are important factors clinicians should more readily consider when treating children with heart disease. Countermeasures to physical inactivity are suggested for children, parents, clinicians, and policymakers to consider. Conclusions: As sudden, excessive heat exposures continue to impact our rapidly warming world, vulnerable populations like children with underlying heart conditions are at greater heat health risk, especially when coupled with the negative physical activity and fitness trends observed worldwide.

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Editor’s Notes

Craig A. Williams

Full access

Physical Activity and Children’s Episodic Memory: A Meta-Analysis

Daphne G. Schmid, Nathan M. Scott, and Phillip D. Tomporowski

Purpose: The purpose of this review was to evaluate the effects of physical activity on children’s free recall, cued recall, and recognition episodic memory and to explore potential moderating factors. Methods: The following databases were searched: PubMed, ERIC, APA Psych Info, CINHAL, SPORTDiscus, and Google Scholar. Studies were included if: (1) participants were aged 4–18 years, (2) participants were typically developed, (3) participants were randomized to groups, (4) interventions employed gross movements, (5) sedentary group was used for control, (6) memory tests were quantitative, and (7) employed acute or chronic intervention. Results: 14 studies met inclusion criteria resulting in the analysis of data from 7 free recall, 7 cued recall, and 8 recognition memory tests. Physical activity was found to have a positive influence on tests free (g = 0.56), cued recall (g = 0.67), and no influence on tests of recognition (g = 0.06). While some moderator analyses were significant, the authors do not consider these results to be meaningful in application. Conclusions: The effects of acute and chronic physical activity enhance specific aspects of long-term episodic memory. These findings suggest physical activity interventions developed for children may be expected to benefit some, but not all, types of memory processing.

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Factors That Influence Physical Activity Behavior in Children and Adolescents During and After Cancer Treatment: A Qualitative Systematic Review of the Literature

Laura Kappelmann, Miriam Götte, Arno Krombholz, Jan Hüter, and Britta Fischer

Purpose: The aim of this systematic review is to reveal the social, personal, and contextual factors that influence physical activity (PA) in children and adolescents during and after cancer treatment. Method: SPORTDiscus, Cochrane, Web of Science, PubMed, and FIS Education electronic database were systematically searched. Results: The 13 included studies show that social support (parents, siblings, and friends) in particular is rated as important by cancer survivors; for example, doing PA together. Depending on the treatment status and state of health, particularities arise. During the acute treatment phase, parents issued more prohibitions regarding PA than after treatment. The state of health and concern about infections are described as inhibiting factors. Not all hospitals generally offer special exercise programs for cancer patients, and in some cases, only sporadic exercise sessions were conducted by specialized staff. In addition, the hospital atmosphere, such as cramped rooms, tends to be associated with demotivating effects. Conclusions: Both inhibiting and promoting factors in the area of social, personal, and contextual factors could be identified. The most fundamental factor for PA is the physical condition. Social factors, such as parents or friends, often have a motivating effect and can promote PA. Inhibiting factors are mainly context-related, such as an environment unsuitable for PA. Although the review highlights interesting aspects, further treatment-related and longitudinal studies could provide deeper insights.

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Abstracts From the XXXIII Pediatric Work Physiology Conference Hosted by Swansea University (September 2023, Chepstow, Wales)

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Editor’s Notes

Craig A. Williams

Free access

New Insights Into Accelerometer-Measured Habitual Physical Activity and Sedentary Time During Early Recovery in Pediatric Concussion

Bhanu Sharma, Joyce Obeid, Carol DeMatteo, Michael D. Noseworthy, and Brian W. Timmons

Purpose: Concussion management is shifting away from a rest-is-best approach, as data now suggest that exercise-is-medicine for this mild brain injury. Despite this, we have limited data on habitual physical activity following concussion. Therefore, our objective was to quantify accelerometer-measured physical activity and sedentary time in children with concussion (within the first month of injury) and healthy controls. We hypothesized that children with concussion would be less active than their healthy peers. Methods: We performed a secondary analysis of prospectively collected accelerometer data. Our sample included children with concussion (n = 60, 31 females) and historical controls (n = 60) matched for age, sex, and season of accelerometer wear. Results: Children with concussion were significantly more sedentary than controls (mean difference [MD], 38.3 min/d, P = .006), and spent less time performing light physical activity (MD, −19.5 min/d, P = .008), moderate physical activity (MD, −9.8 min/d, P < .001), and vigorous physical activity (MD, −12.0 min/d, P < .001); these differences were observed from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Sex-specific analyses identified that girls with concussion were less active and more sedentary than both boys with concussion (P = .010) and healthy girls (P < .010). Conclusion: There is an activity deficit observed within the first month of pediatric concussion. Physical activity guidelines should address this while considering sex effects.