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Physical Activity Promotion and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Building Synergies to Maximize Impact

Deborah Salvo, Leandro Garcia, Rodrigo S. Reis, Ivana Stankov, Rahul Goel, Jasper Schipperijn, Pedro C. Hallal, Ding Ding, and Michael Pratt

Background: Many of the known solutions to the physical inactivity pandemic operate across sectors relevant to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Methods: The authors examined the contribution of physical activity promotion strategies toward achieving the SDGs through a conceptual linkage exercise, a scoping review, and an agent-based model. Results: Possible benefits of physical activity promotion were identified for 15 of the 17 SDGs, with more robust evidence supporting benefits for SDGs 3 (good health and well-being), 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure), 11 (sustainable cities and communities), 13 (climate action), and 16 (peace, justice, and strong institutions). Current evidence supports prioritizing at-scale physical activity-promoting transport and urban design strategies and community-based programs. Expected physical activity gains are greater for low-and middle-income countries. In high-income countries with high car dependency, physical activity promotion strategies may help reduce air pollution and traffic-related deaths, but shifts toward more active forms of travel and recreation, and climate change mitigation, may require complementary policies that disincentivize driving. Conclusions: The authors call for a synergistic approach to physical activity promotion and SDG achievement, involving multiple sectors beyond health around their goals and values, using physical activity promotion as a lever for a healthier planet.

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Prospective Associations Between Physical Activity Level and Body Composition in Adolescence: 1993 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohort

Felipe Fossati Reichert, Jonathan Charles Kingdom Wells, Ulf Ekelund, Ana Maria Baptista Menezes, Cesar Gomes Victora, and Pedro C. Hallal

Background:

Physical activity may influence both fat and lean body mass. This study investigated the association between physical activity in children between the ages of 11 and 13 years and both fat and lean mass.

Methods:

A subsample of the 1993 Pelotas (Brazil) Birth Cohort was visited in 2004–2005 and 2006–2007. Physical activity was estimated through standardized questionnaires. Body composition (ie, fat and lean mass) was measured using deuterium dilution. Those with moderate-to-vigorous activity greater than 420 min/wk were classified as active, and physical activity trajectory was defined as being above or below the cutoff at each visit.

Results:

Four hundred eighty-eight adolescents (51.8% boys) were evaluated. The mean difference in fat mass in boys and girls who reported ≥ 420 min/wk of physical activity in both visits compared with those who were consistently inactive was –4.8 kg (P ≤ .001). There was an inverse association between physical activity and fat mass among boys in both crude and confounder-adjusted analyses, whereas for girls, the association was evident only in the crude analysis. There was no significant association between physical activity and lean mass.

Conclusion:

Physical activity may contribute to tackling the growing epidemic of adolescent obesity in low- and middle-income countries.

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Leisure-Time Physical Activity in a Southern Brazilian City (2004–2021): Applying an Equity Lens to Time-Trend Analyses

Andrea Wendt, Alan G. Knuth, Bruno P. Nunes, Mario Renato de Azevedo Jr, Helen Gonçalves, Pedro C. Hallal, and Inácio Crochemore-Silva

Background: This study aimed to verify leisure-time physical activity trends over 15 years and monitor inequalities according to gender, self-reported skin color, and socioeconomic position in a Southern Brazilian city. A secondary aim is to evaluate intersectionalities in physical activity. Methods: Trend analysis using 3 population-based surveys carried out in 2004, 2010, and 2021. Main outcome assessed was the prevalence of physical activity according to recommendations (150 min/wk). Inequalities dimensions measured were sex, self-reported skin color, and wealth. Intersectionalities were evaluated using Jeopardy index combining all inequality dimensions. Trend analysis was performed using least-squares weighted regression. Results: We included data from 3090, 2656, and 5696 adults in 2004, 2010, and 2021, respectively. Prevalence of physical activity remains stable around 25% in the 3 years. In the 3 periods evaluated, men presented a prevalence in average 10 percentage points higher than women (SII2004 = −11.1 [95% confidence interval, CI, −14.4 to −7.8], SII2021 = −10.7 [95% CI, −13.7 to −7.7]). Skin color inequalities did not present a clear pattern. Richest individuals, in general presented a prevalence of leisure-time physical activity level 20pp higher than poorest ones (SII2004 = 20.5 [95% CI, 13.7 to 27.4]; SII2021 = 16.7 [95% CI, 11.3 to 22.0]). Inequalities were widely marked, comparing the most privileged group (represented by men, the wealthiest, and White) and the most socially vulnerable group (represented by women, the poorest, and Black/Brown). The Slope Index of Inequality for intersectionalities was −24.5 (95% CI, −31.1 to −17.9) in 2004 and −18.8 in 2021 (95% CI, −24.2 to −13.4). Conclusions: Our analysis shows that women, Black/Brown, and poor present lower leisure-time physical activity level. This group is often neglected regarding other health and social outcomes.

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Description of the Countrywide Physical Activity Network Coordinated by the Brazilian Ministry of Health: 2005−2008

Alan G. Knuth, Deborah C. Malta, Danielle K. Cruz, Adriana M. Castro, Janaína Fagundes, Luciana M. Sardinha, Cristiane Scolari Gosch, Eduardo J. Simões, and Pedro C. Hallal

Background:

Based on the Brazilian National Health Promotion Policy (PNPS), the Ministry of Health (MoH) started stimulating and funding physical activity interventions in 2005, leading to the establishment of a countrywide network. The aim of the present article is to geographically describe this network (2005−2008) and to present structure and process evaluation indicators of interventions funded in 2006 and 2007.

Methods:

In 2005, the 27 state capitals received funding for carrying out physical activity-related interventions. From 2006 onwards, public calls for proposals were announced, and cities were selected through a competitive basis. Coordinators of interventions in cities who got funding in 2006 and 2007 answered to survey questions on structure and process aspects of the interventions.

Results:

The network currently comprises 469 projects, out of which over 60% are carried out in small cities (<30,000 inhabitants). The most frequently used public spaces for the interventions are squares and indoor sports courts. The main physical activity-related topic of the PNPS prioritized in the projects is healthy diet. The main partnerships developed are between City's Health and Education Secretariats.

Conclusion:

Expanding the network to 1000 cities by 2010 and continuing the evaluation efforts are the next goals of the Brazilian MoH.

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Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Associations Between Physical Activity and Blood Pressure in Adolescence: Birth Cohort Study

Pedro C. Hallal, Samuel Carvalho Dumith, Felipe Fossati Reichert, Ana M.B. Menezes, Cora L. Araújo, Jonathan C.K. Wells, Ulf Ekelund, and Cesar G. Victora

Objectives:

To explore cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between self-reported and accelerometry-based physical activity (PA) and blood pressure (BP) between 11 and 14 years of age.

Methods:

Prospective birth cohort study in Pelotas, Brazil. Participants were 427 cohort members who were followed up with at 11, 12, and 14 years of age, and had questionnaire data on PA and BP at 11 and 14 years, as well as accelerometry and questionnaire data on PA at 12 years. Outcome measures were continuous systolic and diastolic BP at 14 years, and change in BP from 11 to 14 years.

Results:

PA was unrelated to systolic BP in any analyses. PA measured by accelerometry at 12 years, but not questionnaire-derived PA, was inversely associated with diastolic BP at 14 years of age in fully adjusted models. Those who exceeded the 300-minutes PA threshold at all 3 visits had a 2.6 mmHg lower mean increase in DBP from 11 to 14 years compared with those classified below the threshold in all visits.

Conclusions:

Accelerometry-based PA was longitudinally inversely associated with diastolic BP. This finding was not evident when analyzing self-reported PA at a given age, suggesting a possible underestimation of the association when using subjective data.

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Assembling the Puzzle for Promoting Physical Activity in Brazil: A Social Network Analysis

Ross C. Brownson, Diana C. Parra, Marsela Dauti, Jenine K. Harris, Pedro C. Hallal, Christine Hoehner, Deborah Carvalho Malta, Rodrigo S. Reis, Luiz Roberto Ramos, Isabela C. Ribeiro, Jesus Soares, and Michael Pratt

Background:

Physical inactivity is a significant public health problem in Brazil that may be addressed by partnerships and networks. In conjunction with Project GUIA (Guide for Useful Interventions for Physical Activity in Brazil and Latin America), the aim of this study was to conduct a social network analysis of physical activity in Brazil.

Methods:

An online survey was completed by 28 of 35 organizations contacted from December 2008 through March 2009. Network analytic methods examined measures of collaboration, importance, leadership, and attributes of the respondent and organization.

Results:

Leadership nominations for organizations studied ranged from 0 to 23. Positive predictors of collaboration included: south region, GUIA membership, years working in physical activity, and research, education, and promotion/practice areas of physical activity. The most frequently reported barrier to collaboration was bureaucracy.

Conclusion:

Social network analysis identified factors that are likely to improve collaboration among organizations in Brazil.

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The Legacy of an All-Around Physical Activity and Health Scientist: Harold W. (Bill) Kohl III

Ashley Cathro, Deanivea Mendes Felix, Otávio Amaral de Andrade Leão, Susana Lopez, Zijian Lu, Pedro Gustavo Machado, Diana Morales, Francisco Timbó de Paiva Neto, Ana Selzer, Anne Tang, Rafael Miranda Tassitano, Maria Cecilia Marinho Tenório, Kaiyue Zhang, Wenbo Zhao, and Pedro C. Hallal

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Physical Activity Throughout Adolescence and Hba1c in Early Adulthood: Birth Cohort Study

Priscila M. Nakamura, Grégore I. Mielke, Bernardo L. Horta, Maria Cecília Assunção, Helen Gonçalves, Ana M.B. Menezes, Fernando C. Barros, Ulf Ekelund, Soren Brage, Fernando C. Wehrmeister, Isabel O. Oliveira, and Pedro C. Hallal

Background:

Physical inactivity is responsible for 7% of diabetes deaths worldwide, but little is known whether low levels of physical activity (PA) during adolescence increase the risk of diabetes in early adulthood. We evaluated the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between PA throughout adolescence and HbA1c concentration in early adulthood.

Methods:

HbA1c was measured by high performance liquid chromatography. PA was assessed by self-report at the ages of 11, 15, and 18 years and by accelerometry at the ages of 13 (subsample) and 18 years. The loss percentages of follow up were 12.5% at 11 years, 14.4% at 15 years, and 18.7% at 18 years.

Results:

At 18 years, boys showed higher HbA1c than girls. At age 18 years, accelerometrybased PA at 18 years was inversely related to HbA1c levels in boys. Self-reported leisure-time PA at ages 11, 15, and 18 were unrelated to HbA1c in both genders. PA at 13 years of age was unrelated to HbA1c among both genders. In trajectory analysis, PA and accelerometer PA trajectories were not associated with later HbA1c.

Conclusions:

Objectively measured PA at 18 years was cross-sectionally inversely associated with HbA1c in boys only. No prospective associations were identified.

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Inequalities in Physical Activity During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Report on 4 Consecutive Population-Based Surveys in Southern Brazil

Luiza Isnardi Cardoso Ricardo, Alan G. Knuth, Bruno Pereira Nunes, Pedro C. Hallal, Leonardo Pozza Santos, Jenifer Harter, Débora da Cruz Payão Pellegrini, and Inácio Crochemore-Silva

Background: This study aims to investigate inequalities in leisure-time physical activity (PA) practice amid the COVID-19 pandemic in a southern Brazilian city. Methods: Four repeated population-based surveys were carried out. PA was collected using a questionnaire proposed by the authors and an adapted version of the leisure-time section of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. The sociodemographic variables were sex, age, skin color, and education level. The participants also answered questions regarding social distancing measures compliance. Descriptive analyses based on proportions and their respective P values for categorical variables were presented. The chi-square test for heterogeneity and linear trend was used. Results: The sample is composed of 1556 individuals (66.1% female). Overall, between rounds 1 and 2, PA prevalence declined, followed by a gradual increase thereafter. PA practice during the pandemic was higher among men, individuals with higher education level, and individuals with white skin color in all rounds. In rounds 2, 3, and 4, PA was lower among individuals who were practicing more social distancing. Conclusion: To tackle the PA inequalities, policymakers and stakeholders need to confront disparities, defending greater availability of public policies that are attentive to inequalities, especially regarding gender, skin color, and educational level, to promote PA as a human right.

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Physical Activity Policies at National and Subnational Levels: A Study in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico

Juliana Mejía Grueso, Michael Pratt, Eugen Resendiz, Deborah Salvo, Gloria Isabel Niño Cruz, Nubia Yaneth Ruiz Gómez, Rafael Alexander Leandro Gómez, Inés Revuelta Sánchez, Gerardo Alonso Araya Vargas, Angélica María Ochoa Avilés, Raúl Francisco Pérez Tasigchana, Alejandra Jáuregui, Pedro C. Hallal, and Andrea Ramírez Varela

Background: National physical activity (PA) policy processes are only beginning to be studied in Latin America, and little attention has focused at the subnational level. This study examined national–subnational relations in the policy process (agenda setting, policy formulation, adoption, implementation, and evaluation) in selected Latin American countries. Methods: The Global Observatory for Physical Activity’s (GoPA!) INTEGRATE-PA-Pol tool was applied in Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico. Data were collected in matched pairs of the capital plus one noncapital city among national and subnational policymakers (n = 27), previously identified by the GoPA! Country Contacts. PA policy development and implementation were assessed using descriptive statistics. Results: Twenty-three (response rate = 85.2%) informants provided data, mainly from the health sector (52.2%), followed by the sport (26.1%), transport (13.0%), and education (8.7%) sectors. Most informants reported that their countries had a current PA policy embedded within noncommunicable diseases prevention plans (46.2%), other plans (46.2%), or obesity prevention/management/control plans (7.7%). Respondents at the subnational level rated PA promotion as central (64.3%), while the national-level role was important but not central (75.0%). National and subnational policymakers indicated low-to-little involvement in the other level’s PA policy processes across the 5 policy stages. Conclusions: This study demonstrated that collecting national and subnational PA policy data across countries with the active collaboration of the GoPA! network was feasible. We also successfully identified governmental interactions throughout the PA policy process, suggesting suboptimal engagement between national and subnational levels.