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Skin Microvascular Reactivity in Children and Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes in Relation to Levels of Physical Activity and Aerobic Fitness

Denise M. Roche, Sarah Edmunds, Tim Cable, Mo Didi, and Gareth Stratton

No studies to date have evaluated the relationship between exercise and microvascular function in youth with type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM). Twenty-nine complication free children and adolescents with T1DM were assessed for skin microvascular reactivity, aerobic fitness (VO2peak) and physical activity. VO2peak but not physical activity was significantly and independently associated with maximal hyperemia of the skin microcirculation (p < .01). No significant associations were found between venoarte-riolar reflex (VAR) vasoconstriction and VO2peak or physical activity. Aerobic fitness may be an important indicator or mediator of effective microvascular endothelial function in youth with T1DM.

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Learning From the Experts: Exploring Playground Experience and Activities Using a Write and Draw Technique

Zoe Rebecca Knowles, Daniel Parnell, Gareth Stratton, and Nicola Diane Ridgers

Background:

Qualitative research into the effect of school recess on children’s physical activity is currently limited. This study used a write and draw technique to explore children’s perceptions of physical activity opportunities during recess.

Methods:

299 children age 7−11 years from 3 primary schools were enlisted. Children were grouped into Years 3 & 4 and Years 5 & 6 and completed a write and draw task focusing on likes and dislikes. Pen profiles were used to analyze the data.

Results:

Results indicated ‘likes’ focused on play, positive social interaction, and games across both age groups but showed an increasing dominance of games with an appreciation for being outdoors with age. ‘Dislikes’ focused on dysfunctional interactions linked with bullying, membership, equipment, and conflict for playground space. Football was a dominant feature across both age groups and ‘likes/dislikes’ that caused conflict and dominated the physically active games undertaken.

Conclusion:

Recess was important for the development of conflict management and social skills and contributed to physical activity engagement. The findings contradict suggestions that time spent in recess should be reduced because of behavioral issues.

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Energy Cost of Free-Play Activities in 10- to 11-Year-Old Children

Kelly A. Mackintosh, Kate Ridley, Gareth Stratton, and Nicola D. Ridgers

Objective:

This study sought to ascertain the energy expenditure (EE) associated with different sedentary and physically active free-play activities in primary school-aged children.

Methods:

Twenty-eight children (13 boys; 11.4 ± 0.3 years; 1.45 ± 0.09 m; 20.0 ± 4.7 kg·m-2) from 1 primary school in Northwest England engaged in 6 activities representative of children’s play for 10 minutes (drawing, watching a DVD, playground games and free-choice) and 5 minutes (self-paced walking and jogging), with 5 minutes rest between each activity. Gas exchange variables were measured throughout. Resting energy expenditure was measured during 15 minutes of supine rest.

Results:

Child (Schofield-predicted) MET values for watching a DVD, self-paced jogging and playing reaction ball were significantly higher for girls (P < .05).

Conclusions:

Utilizing a field-based protocol to examine children’s free-living behaviors, these data contribute to the scarcity of information concerning children’s EE during play to update the Compendium of Energy Expenditures for Youth.

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Reliability and Validity of the System for Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships During Play (SOCARP)

Nicola D. Ridgers, Gareth Stratton, and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Children frequently engage in diverse activities that are broadly defined as play, but little research has documented children’s activity levels during play and how they are influenced by social contexts. Assessing potentially modifiable conditions that influence play behavior is needed to design optimal physical activity interventions.

Methods:

System for Observing Children’s Activity and Relationships during Play (SOCARP) was developed to simultaneously assess children’s physical activity, social group sizes, activity type, and social behavior during play. One hundred and fourteen children (48 boys, 66 girls; 42% overweight) from 8 elementary schools were observed during recess over 24 days, with 12 days videotaped for reliability purposes. Ninety-nine children wore a uni-axial accelerometer during their observation period.

Results:

Estimated energy expenditure rates from SOCARP observations and mean accelerometer counts were significantly correlated (r = .67; P < .01), and interobserver reliabilities (ie, percentage agreement) for activity level (89%), group size (88%), activity type (90%) and interactions (88%) met acceptable criteria. Both physical activity and social interactions were influenced by group size, activity type, and child gender and body weight status.

Conclusions:

SOCARP is a valid and reliable observation system for assessing physical activity and play behavior in a recess context.

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Twelve-Month Effects of a Playground Intervention on Children’s Morning and Lunchtime Recess Physical Activity Levels

Nicola D. Ridgers, Stuart J. Fairclough, and Gareth Stratton

Background:

Recess is an opportunity for children to engage in daily physical activity. The aim of this study was to investigate the 12-month effects of a playground intervention on children’s moderate-to-vigorous (MVPA) and vigorous physical activity (VPA) during morning and lunchtime recess.

Methods:

Four hundred and seventy children (232 boys, 238 girls) from 26 elementary schools participated in the study. Fifteen schools redesigned the playground environment using playground markings and physical structures. Eleven schools served as socioeconomic matched controls. Physical activity levels were quantified using heart rate and accelerometry at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months post-intervention. A 3-level (time, pupil, and school) multilevel analysis was used to determine the effects of the intervention across time on MVPA and VPA.

Results:

Positive yet nonsignificant intervention effects were found for MVPA and VPA during morning and lunchtime recess. Intervention children were more active during recess than control children. Interactions revealed that the intervention effect was stronger at 6 months than 12 months post-intervention.

Conclusions:

A playground markings and physical structures intervention had a positive effect on intervention children’s morning and lunchtime MVPA and VPA when assessed using heart rate and accelerometry, but this effect is strongest 6-months post-intervention and decreased between 6 months and 12 months.

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The Effect of Active Video Gaming on Children’s Physical Activity, Behavior Preferences and Body Composition

Lee E.F. Graves, Nicola D. Ridgers, Greg Atkinson, and Gareth Stratton

Active video game interventions typically provide children a single game that may become unappealing. A peripheral device (jOG) encourages step-powered gaming on multiple games. This trial evaluated the effect of jOG on children’s objectively measured PA, body fat and self-reported behaviors. 42 of 58 eligible children (8–10 y) randomly assigned to an intervention (jOG) or control (CON) completed the trial. Intervention children received two jOG devices for home use. Analyses of covariance compared the intervention effect at 6 and 12 weeks from baseline. No differences were found between groups for counts per minute (CPM; primary outcome) at 6 and 12 weeks (p > .05). Active video gaming increased (adjusted change 0.95 (95% CI 0.25, 1.65) h·d−1, p<.01) and sedentary video gaming decreased (-0.34 (-1.24, 0.56) h·d−1, p > .05) at 6 weeks relative to CON. No body fat changes were observed between groups. Targeted changes in video game use did not positively affect PA. Larger trials are needed to verify the impact of active video games on children’s PA and health.

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Examining Influences on Boy’s and Girls’ Physical Activity Patterns: The A-CLASS Project

Nicola D. Ridgers, Lee E.F. Graves, Lawrence Foweather, and Gareth Stratton

Understanding children’s physical activity (PA) patterns and the factors that may influence PA are important for developing interventions within this population. One hundred and ten children aged 9–10 years from 8 schools had their PA patterns assessed over 7 days. Physiological and self-report data were also collected. Multilevel analyses revealed that cardiorespiratory fitness was a consistent, significant and positive predictor of weekday and weekend PA, while the availability of home sedentary activities was a significant but negative predictor of PA. Since a range of variables were associated with PA levels, intervention developers should be cognizant of variables that may influence children’s activity.

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Associations Between Selected Demographic, Biological, School Environmental and Physical Education Based Correlates, and Adolescent Physical Activity

Toni A. Hilland, Nicola D. Ridgers, Gareth Stratton, and Stuart J. Fairclough

The study investigated associations between selected physical activity correlates among 299 adolescents (90 boys, age 12–14 years) from 3 English schools. Physical activity was assessed by self-report and accelerometry. Correlates represented biological, predisposing, and demographic factors as described in the Youth Physical Activity Promotion Model. Boys engaged in more self-reported (p < .01) and accelerometer assessed physical activity than girls (p = .02). Positive associations between sex (male), BMI, Perceived PE Ability, Perceived PE Worth, number of enrolled students, and physical activity outcomes were evident (p < .05). School-based physical activity promotion should emphasize sex-specific enhancement of students’ perceived PE competence and enjoyment.

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Weight Status Associations With Physical Activity Intensity and Physical Self-Perceptions in 10- to 11-Year-Old Children

Stuart J. Fairclough, Lynne M. Boddy, Nicola D. Ridgers, and Gareth Stratton

The study examined associations between children’s weight status, physical activity intensity, and physical self-perceptions. Data were obtained from 409 children (224 girls) aged 10–11 years categorized as normal-weight or overweight/obese. Physical activity was assessed using accelerometry, and children completed the Physical Self-Perception Profile. After controlling for the effects of age, maturation, and socioeconomic status vigorous physical activity was significantly associated with normal-weight status among boys (OR = 1.13, p = .01) and girls (OR = 1.13, p = .03). Normal-weight status was significantly associated with perceived Physical Condition (Boys: OR = 5.05, p = .008; Girls: OR = 2.50, p = .08), and Body Attractiveness (Boys: OR = 4.44, p = .007; Girls: OR = 2.56, p = .02). Weight status of 10–11 year old children was significantly associated with time spent in vigorous physical activity and self-perceptions of Body Attractiveness and Physical Condition.

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The Influence of Relative Age Effects on the Cardiorespiratory Fitness Levels of Children Age 9 to 10 and 11 to 12 Years of Age

Simon J. Roberts, Lynne M. Boddy, Stuart J. Fairclough, and Gareth Stratton

The aims of this study were firstly to examine whether there was an observed relative age effect in the cardiorespiratory fitness scores of 9-10 and 11-12 year old children, and secondly whether any observed effect was maintained after controlling for somatic maturity. Cardiorespiratory fitness data from 11,404 children aged 9-10 years and 3,911 children aged 11-12 years were obtained from a large cross-sectional field-based fitness testing program. A one-way ANOVA revealed a statistically significant relative age effect (p < .01) existed in the 20mSRT scores across all the age groups. Furthermore, ANCOVA analyses identified a statistically significant relative age effect was maintained after controlling for somatic maturation (p < .05). From a public health perspective these results confirm the existence of relative age effects for the first time and consequently may hold implications for relatively younger children in the accurate assessment of their cardiorespiratory fitness scores.