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Physical Fitness as a Predictor of Disability Retirement: A 9-Year Register Linked Follow-Up Study

Markus Kuusela, Valtteri Pohjola, Katariina Sarttila, Matti Munukka, Riikka Holopainen, Mikko Laaksonen, Annamari Lundqvist, and Jouni Lahti

Background: To prospectively examine the association between physical fitness and risk of disability retirement in a large population-based cohort. Methods: This study utilized data from Health 2011 survey Physical Activity subsample (n = 4898), combined with information on disability retirement derived from 2 national registers. In total, 2455 individuals aged 18–74 years underwent the physical fitness test protocol concerning measures of cardiorespiratory fitness, muscle strength, and balance. The outcome variable was disability retirement, during the follow-up period of 9 years. After excluding those not at risk of disability retirement (ie, age ≥63 y) or who had already been granted disability pension, and those who had not completed the fitness protocol, the analytical sample included 1381 participants. Data were analyzed using Cox regression model with SPSS (version 29). Results: During the 9-year follow-up period, 61 individuals (4.4%) transitioned to a disability retirement. Cox regression analysis showed an association between the various physical fitness subdomains and the risk of disability retirement. In model 1, all fitness tests were associated with the risk of disability retirement, except the one-leg stand test with hazard ratios ranging from 1.69 (95% CI, 0.86–3.34) to 5.75 (95% CI, 1.84–17.90). Further adjustment for sociodemographic, health behavior, and health-related covariates attenuated the associations and statistical significance was lost, except for the vertical jump test (hazard ratio = 4.33; 95% CI, 1.32–14.10) and 6-minute walk test (hazard ratio = 3.81; 95% CI, 1.35–10.70). Conclusion: These findings highlight the importance of physical fitness for preventing work disability.

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Volume 21 (2024): Issue 7 (Jul 2024)

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What’s Your Poison? Is Sitting Always Health Hindering and Moving Always Health Promoting?

Leon Straker, Charlotte Lund Rasmussen, Nidhi Gupta, and Andreas Holtermann

The clear public messaging from international health authorities is that individuals should “sit less and move more.” While it is acknowledged that this guidance needs to be tailored to the age of people and also to their health, and abilities, the guidance is not tailored to their current level of physical behaviors. This opinion piece aims to highlight that although people with excessive sitting and insufficient moderate-to-vigorous physical activity should sit more and move less, for other people their health would be promoted by sitting more and moving less. Thus, physical behaviors are not always “poison” or “medicine,” but rather the health impact of changes in physical behaviors depends on people’s initial levels. Policy, research, and practice implications of this realization are presented. Only tailoring messaging to age and health status could be far from optimal for people with very different current levels of physical behaviors. Policy, research, and practice will be enhanced when the potential for physical behaviors to be either health hindering or health promoting is adequately considered.

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How Can We Equitably Scale-Up Physical Activity Interventions to Ensure Everyone Has Opportunities to Thrive?

Gabriella M. McLoughlin and Jo Salmon

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The Secret Sauce? Taking the Mystery Out of Scaling-Up School-Based Physical Activity Interventions

Heather A. McKay, Sarah G. Kennedy, Heather M. Macdonald, Patti-Jean Naylor, and David R. Lubans

Over the last 4 decades, physical activity researchers have invested heavily in determining “what works” to promote healthy behaviors in schools. Single and multicomponent school-based interventions that target physical education, active transportation, and/or classroom activity breaks effectively increased physical activity among children and youth. Yet, few of these interventions are ever scaled-up and implemented under real-world conditions and in diverse populations. To achieve population-level health benefits, there is a need to design school-based health-promoting interventions for scalability and to consider key aspects of the scale-up process. In this opinion piece, we aim to identify challenges and advance knowledge and action toward scaling-up school-based physical activity interventions. We highlight the key roles of planning for scale-up at the outset, scale-up pathways, trust among partners and program support, program adaptation, evaluation of scale-up, and barriers and facilitators to scaling-up. We draw upon our experience scaling-up effective school-based interventions and provide a solid foundation from which others can work toward bridging the implementation-to-scale-up gap.

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How Does the University Environment Relate to Student’s Physical Activity Patterns in Ireland

Joey Murphy, Ciaran MacDonncha, Marie H. Murphy, Niamh Murphy, and Catherine B. Woods

Background: Identifying factors related to physical activity in university students can aid the development of health promotion interventions, but there is limited research regarding the influence of university environments. This study examined the relationship between level of provision for university environments that aim to promote physical activity and self-reported physical activity patterns of students. Methods: An environmental audit tool was completed by universities (n = 28) on the island of Ireland to acquire information about physical activity opportunities, resources, and supports offered. Students (N = 6951; 50.7% male; 21.51 [5.55] y) completed an online survey, providing responses about their active transport and recreational physical activity behaviors. Binary logistic regressions were used to examine the associations between environmental factors that support physical activity and clustered physical activity patterns, while controlling for gender, age, and university size. Results: Universities with a high provision for organizational structures and internal partnerships, indoor facilities, and sport clubs increase the odds of their students having more active physical activity patterns. Increased provision of investment and personnel was seen to have a mixed relationship with students’ physical activity engagement, highlighting the need to understand where resources are needed and not just increase them. Conclusions: It is important for universities to have adequate organizational structures with internal partnerships to understand how resources can be maximized to support physical activity engagement across the whole student population. University campuses hold the potential for increasing student engagement in physical activity, and these findings can help inform campus-wide initiatives that foster active student populations for improving overall long-term health.

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Measuring Active Transportation on National Health Surveys in Canada From 1994 to 2020

Parya Borhani, Kathryn L. Walker, Gregory P. Butler, Valérie Lavergne, Gisèle Contreras, and Stephanie A. Prince

Background: Active transportation (AT), described as self-powered modes of travel (eg, walking and cycling), is an important source of health-promoting physical activity. While AT behaviors have been measured on national health surveys in Canada for over 2 decades, historic prevalence has not been previously reported. We aimed to document the measures of AT on Canada’s various national health surveys, examine AT over time, and interpret them within the context of evolving methods of assessment. Methods: We compiled and summarized the questions used to measure AT among Canadians on 4 national health surveys: National Population Health Survey (1994–1998), Canadian Community Health Survey (2000–2020), Canadian Health Measures Survey (2007–2019), and the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Study (2010–2018). Among youth and adults (12+ y), we summarized over time: (1) the prevalence of AT participation and (2) time spent in AT (in hours per week) among those who report any AT participation. Where possible, we reported separate estimates of walking and cycling and produced an aggregate estimate of total AT. We stratified results by age group and sex. Results: Changes in AT survey questions over time and between surveys limit the interpretation and comparability of temporal trends. Nevertheless, a consistently higher proportion of females report walking, while a higher proportion of males report cycling. Irrespective of mode, males report spending more total time in AT. Participation in AT tends to decrease with age, with youth reporting the highest rates of AT and young adults often spending the most time in AT. Conclusions: Monitoring trends in AT can help assess patterns of behavior and identify whether promotion strategies are needed or whether population interventions are effective. Our evaluation of AT over time is limited by questions surveyed; however, consistent differences in AT by age and sex are evident over time. Moving forward, ensuring consistency of AT measurement over time is essential to monitoring this important behavior.

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Prevalence and Correlates of Adherence to the Global Total Physical Activity Guideline Based on Step Counting Among 3- to 4-Year-Olds: Evidence From SUNRISE Pilot Studies From 17 Countries

Tawonga W. Mwase-Vuma, Xanne Janssen, Kar Hau Chong, Anthony D. Okely, Mark S. Tremblay, Catherine E. Draper, E. Kipling Webster, Alex Antonio Florindo, Amanda E. Staiano, Bang Nguyen Pham, Chiaki Tanaka, Denise Koh, Hongyan Guan, Hong K. Tang, Marie Löf, Mohammad Sorowar Hossain, Nyaradzai E. Munambah, Penny Cross, PW Prasad Chathurangana, and John J. Reilly

Background: There is limited evidence from globally diverse samples on the prevalence and correlates of meeting the global guideline of 180 minutes per day of total physical activity (TPA) among 3- to 4-year-olds. Methods: Cross-sectional study involving 797 (49.2% girls) 3- to 4-year-olds from 17 middle- and high-income countries who participated in the pilot phases 1 and 2 of the SUNRISE International Study of Movement Behaviours in the Early Years. Daily step count was measured using thigh-worn activPAL accelerometers. Children wore the accelerometers for at least one 24-hour period. Children were categorized as meeting the TPA guideline based on achieving ≥11,500 steps per day. Descriptive analyses were conducted to describe the proportion of meeting the TPA guideline for the overall sample and each of the sociodemographic variables, and 95% CIs were calculated. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the sociodemographic correlates of meeting the TPA guideline. Results: Mean daily step count was 10,295 steps per day (SD = 4084). Approximately one-third of the sample (30.9%, 95% CI, 27.6–34.2) met the TPA guideline. The proportion meeting the guideline was significantly lower among girls (adjusted OR [aOR] = 0.70, 95% CI, 0.51–0.96) and 4-year-olds (aOR = 0.50, 95% CI, 0.34–0.75) and higher among rural residents (aOR = 1.78, 95% CI, 1.27–2.49) and those from lower middle-income countries (aOR = 1.35, 95% CI, 0.89–2.04). Conclusions: The findings suggest that a minority of children might meet the TPA guideline globally, and the risk of not meeting the guideline differed by sociodemographic indicators. These findings suggest the need for more surveillance of TPA in young children globally and, possibly, interventions to improve childhood health and development.

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The Evolution of Physical Activity and Health Research in China: A Bibliometric Analysis of Study Areas and Sex Balance in Authorship

Kaiyue Zhang, Diana Morales, Junshi Chen, Wenhua Zhao, Anne Tang, Eduardo Kohn, Ding Ding, Andrea Ramirez Varela, Michael Pratt, and Pedro C. Hallal

Background: This article evaluates the evolution of physical activity and health research in China through a bibliometric analysis focused on number of publications, study areas, and sex balance in authorship. Methods: A systematic review was conducted by the Global Observatory for Physical Activity for “physical activity and health” publications between 1950 and 2019. Here, we focus on the 610 Chinese publications identified, defined as those in which data collection took place in China. We assessed the number of publications, classified them into 5 areas (1) surveillance, (2) correlates and determinants, (3) health consequences, (4) interventions, and (5) policy, and analyzed female participation in authorship. Results: The first Chinese publication identified in the review was in 1990. Since, the average number of physical activity and health publications increased from one per year in the 1990s to 7.6 per year in the 2000s, and to 47 per year in the 2010s. Most publications focused on the correlates and determinants (38.7%) and the health consequences of physical activity (35.9%). Physical activity policy accounted for 2.3% of the publications. In the 1990s, 64% of the publications included at least one female author; this proportion increased to 90% in the 2010s. Conclusion: Despite a slow start, China’s research on physical activity and health has grown rapidly since 2000. The distribution of publications by study areas and female participation in authorship is similar to that observed globally, with fewer publications focused on interventions and policy as compared with other topics.

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Physical Activity Among Utah Cancer Survivors: Analysis From a Population-Based Statewide Survey

Morgan M. Millar, Sandra L. Edwards, Rachel R. Codden, Blessing S. Ofori-Atta, Kimberly A. Herget, Marjorie E. Carter, Anne C. Kirchhoff, Adriana M. Coletta, and Carol Sweeney

Background: Regular physical activity improves cancer survivors’ health-related quality of life and physical function. We estimated the proportion of Utah cancer survivors meeting U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines for weekly physical activity (aerobic plus strength exercise) and identify sociodemographic, cancer, and health-related factors associated with meeting guidelines. Methods: Survivors randomly sampled from Utah Cancer Registry records were surveyed from 2018 to 2022 to ascertain physical activity. We calculated the percent of survivors meeting guidelines and conducted logistic regression to assess predictors of meeting guidelines. Analyses were weighted to account for complex survey sample design and nonresponse and age adjusted. Results: Among Utah cancer survivors, 20.7% (95% CI, 18.5%–23.2%) met guidelines for both aerobic activity and strength exercise. 22.4% reported no aerobic exercise in a typical week, and 59.4% reported no strength exercise. Survivors 75 or older were less likely to meet physical activity guidelines than those under 55 (adjusted odds ratio: 0.40; 95% CI, 0.25–0.65). Survivors with a bachelor’s degree or higher were more likely to meet physical activity guidelines than those without a college degree. Individuals with poorer overall health were less likely to report sufficient physical activity. Individuals treated with both chemotherapy and radiation had decreased odds of meeting guidelines compared to no treatment (adjusted odds ratio: 0.54; 95% CI, 0.29–0.99). Conclusions: Most Utah cancer survivors, and particularly those who received multiple modes of adjuvant treatment, are not participating in sufficient physical activity to improve longevity and quality of life after cancer.