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Dale W. Esliger, Jennifer L. Copeland, Joel D. Barnes, and Mark S. Tremblay

The unequivocal link between physical activity and health has prompted researchers and public health officials to search for valid, reliable, and logistically feasible tools to measure and quantify free-living physical activity. Accelerometers hold promise in this regard. Recent technological advances have led to decreases in both the size and cost of accelerometers while increasing functionality (e.g., greater memory, waterproofing). A lack of common data reduction and standardized reporting procedures dramatically limit their potential, however. The purpose of this article is to expand on the utility of accelerometers for measuring free-living physical activity. A detailed example profile of physical activity is presented to highlight the potential richness of accelerometer data. Specific recommendations for optimizing and standardizing the use of accelerometer data are provided with support from specific examples. This descriptive article is intended to advance and ignite scholarly dialogue and debate regarding accelerometer data capture, reduction, analysis, and reporting.

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Grant R. Tomkinson, Justin J. Lang, Joel Blanchard, Luc A. Léger, and Mark S. Tremblay

Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is a good summative measure of the body’s ability to perform continuous, rhythmic, dynamic, large-muscle group physical activity, and exercise. In children, CRF is meaningfully associated with health, independent of physical activity levels, and it is an important determinant of sports and athletic performance. Although gas-analyzed peak oxygen uptake is the criterion physiological measure of children’s CRF, it is not practical for population-based testing. Field testing offers a simple, cheap, practical alternative to gas analysis. The 20-m shuttle run test (20mSRT)—a progressive aerobic exercise test involving continuous running between 2 lines 20 m apart in time to audio signals—is probably the most widely used field test of CRF. This review aims to clarify the international utility of the 20mSRT by synthesizing the evidence describing measurement variability, validity, reliability, feasibility, and the interpretation of results, as well as to provide future directions for international surveillance. The authors show that the 20mSRT is an acceptable, feasible, and scalable measure of CRF and functional/exercise capacity, and that it has moderate criterion validity and high to very high reliability. The assessment is pragmatic, easily interpreted, and results are transferable to meaningful and understandable situations. The authors recommend that CRF, assessed by the 20mSRT, be considered as an international population health surveillance measure to provide additional insight into pediatric population health.

Open access

Mark S. Tremblay, Silvia A. Gonzalez, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Vincent O. Onywera, John J. Reilly, and Grant Tomkinson

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Julien Aucouturier, Caroline Ganière, Salomé Aubert, Fabien Riviere, Corinne Praznoczy, Anne Vuillemin, Mark S Tremblay, Martine Duclos, and David Thivel

Background:

Many countries publish periodic Report Cards on physical activity for children and youth. This paper presents the results from the first French Report Card providing a systematic synthesis and assessment of the national engagements to facilitate childhood physical activity.

Methods:

A search for nationally representative data on 8 indicators of physical activity was conducted and the data were assessed by an expert panel according to international procedures. Whether children across France are achieving specific benchmarks was rated using an established grading framework [A, B, C, D, F, or INC (incomplete)]. Data were interpreted, grades assigned and detailed in the 2016 Report Card that was produced and disseminated.

Results:

The expert panel awarded the following grades: Overall Physical Activity: INC; Organized Sport Participation: D; Active Transportation: D; Sedentary Behaviors: D; Family and Peers: INC; School: B; Community and the Built Environment: INC; Government Strategies and Investment: INC.

Conclusions:

The grades reveal that efforts must be done to improve youth’s physical activity and that several gaps in the literature still need to be addressed. Collectively the results highlight that children’s physical activity levels are low and that further national supports and investments are needed to promote childhood healthy active living in France.

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Silvia A. González, Olga L. Sarmiento, Richard Larouche, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, and Mark S. Tremblay

Background: In Colombia, active transportation has been assessed in multiple local and regional studies, but national data on active transportation are scarce. This study aims to describe the prevalence and factors associated with active transportation to/from school among Colombian children and adolescents. Methods: The authors analyzed nationally representative data from the National Survey of Nutrition 2015, with a sample of 11,466 children and adolescents aged between 3 and 17 years. Descriptive statistics were calculated, and prevalence ratios were estimated using Poisson regression multivariable models with robust variance. Results: Approximately 70% of Colombian children and adolescents reported engaging in active transportation to/from school over the last week. There were no differences by sex among preschoolers nor school-aged children. Fewer adolescent females than males used active transportation. Preschoolers and school-aged children living in Bogota were more likely to report active transport than children from other regions (prevalence ratios for other regions ranged from 0.59 to 0.86). School-aged children and adolescents with a lower wealth index were more likely to use active transportation than their counterparts (prevalence ratios = 1.32 and 1.22, respectively). Conclusions: The wealthiest children and adolescents, adolescents from rural areas, and female adolescents should be a focus for future interventions. Actions need to be implemented to improve the involvement in active transportation to/from school in Colombia.

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Richard Larouche, Joel D. Barnes, Sébastien Blanchette, Guy Faulkner, Negin A. Riazi, François Trudeau, and Mark S. Tremblay

Purpose: Children’s independent mobility (IM) may facilitate both active transportation (AT) and physical activity (PA), but previous studies examining these associations were conducted in single regions that provided limited geographical variability. Method: We recruited 1699 children (55.0% girls) in 37 schools stratified by level of urbanization and socioeconomic status in 3 regions of Canada: Ottawa, Trois-Rivières, and Vancouver. Participants wore a SC-StepRx pedometer for 7 days and completed a validated questionnaire from which we derived a 6-point IM index, the number of AT trips over a week, and the volume of AT to/from school (in kilometer per week). We investigated relationships among measures of IM, AT, and PA employing linear mixed models or generalized linear mixed models adjusted for site, urbanization, and socioeconomic status. Results: Each unit increase in IM was associated with 9% more AT trips, 19% higher AT volume, and 147 more steps per day, with consistent results across genders. Both measures of AT were associated with marginally higher PA when pooling boys’ and girls’ data. Children in Vancouver engaged in more AT. PA did not vary across site, urbanization, or socioeconomic status. Conclusion: IM was associated with more AT and PA regardless of where children lived, underscoring a need for IM interventions.

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Silvia A. González, Olga L. Sarmiento, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Diana M. Camargo-Lemos, and Mark S. Tremblay

Background: Global estimates have shown that a small proportion of children and adolescents are physically active. However, the evidence on physical activity (PA) among Colombian children and adolescents is limited. The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence and correlates of meeting PA guidelines among Colombian children and adolescents. Methods: Data were collected as part of the National Survey of Nutrition 2015. A national sample of 16,612 children and adolescents (3–17 y) was included. Prevalence estimates of meeting PA and active play guidelines were calculated, and Poisson regression models were conducted to identify correlates of PA. Results: Low proportion of Colombian children and adolescents met the PA guidelines. Low engagement in active play was observed among preschoolers. Correlates varied by age group. Female sex was a consistent negative correlate of meeting PA guidelines across all age groups. Conclusions: Urgent actions are needed to promote active play and PA among Colombian children and adolescents. The correlates identified in our study can help inform the development of actions to overcome the disparities and provide opportunities for children to achieve their full potential for healthy growth and development.

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Scott Rollo, Karen C. Roberts, Felix Bang, Valerie Carson, Jean-Philippe Chaput, Rachel C. Colley, Ian Janssen, and Mark S. Tremblay

Background: This study examined associations between sociodemographic factors and meeting versus not meeting the new Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommendations. Methods: The study is based on 7651 respondents aged 18–79 years from the 2007 to 2013 Canadian Health Measures Survey, a nationally representative, cross-sectional survey. Sociodemographic factors included age, sex, household education, household income, race, having a chronic condition, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and body mass index. Participants were classified as meeting or not meeting each of the time-specific recommendations for moderate to vigorous physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep duration. Results: Being an adult aged 18–64 years, normal weight, nonsmoker, and not having a chronic condition were associated with meeting the integrated guidelines. Being aged 18–64 years, male, normal weight, nonsmoker, not having a chronic condition, having a higher household education, and higher household income were associated with meeting the moderate to vigorous physical activity recommendation; being aged 18–64 years was associated with meeting the sedentary behavior recommendation; and being white, not having a chronic condition, and having a higher household income were associated with meeting the sleep duration recommendation. Conclusions: Few Canadian adults met the 2020 Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines, and disparities across sociodemographic factors exist. Implementation strategies and dissemination approaches to encourage uptake and adoption are necessary.

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Vincent Ochieng Onywera, Kristi B. Adamo, Andrew W. Sheel, Judith N. Waudo, Michael Kipsugut Boit, and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

Comparable data to examine the physical activity (PA) transition in African countries such as Kenya are lacking.

Methods:

We assessed PA levels from urban (UKEN) and rural (RKEN) environments to examine any evidence of a PA transition. Nine- to twelve-year-old children participated in the study: n = 96 and n = 73 children from UKEN and RKEN, respectively. Pedometers were used to estimate children’s daily step count. Parental perception regarding their child’s PA patterns was collected via questionnaire (n = 172).

Results:

RKEN children were more physically active than their UKEN counterparts with a mean average steps per day (± SE) of 14,700 ± 521 vs. 11,717 ± 561 (P < .0001) for RKEN vs. UKEN children respectively. 62.5% of the UKEN children spent 0 hours per week playing screen games compared with 13.1% of UKEN children who spent more than 11 hours per week playing screen games. Seventy percent of UKEN and 34% of RKEN parents reported being more active during childhood than their children respectively.

Conclusions:

Results of this study are indicative of a PA transition in Kenya. Further research is needed to gather national data on the PA patterns of Kenyan children to minimize the likelihood of a public health problem due to physical inactivity.

Open access

Marcella Burghard, Karlijn Knitel, Iris van Oost, Mark S. Tremblay, Tim Takken, and the Dutch Physical Activity Report Card Study Group

Background:

The Active Healthy Kids the Netherlands (AHKN) Report Card consolidates and translates research and assesses how the Netherlands is being responsible in providing physical activity (PA) opportunities for children and youth (<18 years). The primary aim of this article is to summarize the results of the 2016 AHKN Report Card.

Methods:

Nine indicators were graded using the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance report card development process, which includes a synthesis of the best available research, surveillance, policy and practice findings, and expert consensus.

Results:

Grades assigned were: Overall Physical Activity Levels, D; Organized Sport Participation, B; Active Play, B; Active Transportation, A; Sedentary Behaviors, C; Family and Peers, B; School, C; Community and the Built Environment, A; Government Strategies and Investments, INC.

Conclusions:

Sedentary behavior and overall PA levels are not meeting current guidelines. However, the Dutch youth behaviors in sports, active transportation, and active play are satisfactory. Several modifiable factors of influence might be enhanced to improve these indicators or at least prevent regression. Although Dutch children accumulate a lot of daily PA through cycling, it is not enough to meet the current national PA guidelines of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA per day.