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Relationships among Religiosity, Physical Activity, and Sedentary Behavior in Jewish Adolescents

David Kahan

Because the effects of religion or religiosity on physical activity (PA) and sedentary activity (SA) are unknown, weekend accrual of PA and SA was measured among Jewish adolescents (N = 437) attending religious day schools in two large cities in the western United States. Participants completed the Self-Administered Physical Activity Checklist and demographic and religious questionnaire items. Orthodox respondents accrued less PA and SA on Saturday than the non-Orthodox; no differences on Sunday were found. Factor analysis of the religiosity items yielded three factors: observance, devotion, and doctrinal consonance. Correlation of factor scores with PA and SA revealed that observance was most strongly associated with accrual of PA and SA.

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Walk as Directed! Adolescents’ Adherence to Pedometer Intervention Protocol

David Kahan and Virginie Nicaise

Background:

Despite frequent use of pedometers in interventions targeting youth PA, there is no literature that addresses the prevalence and reasons for protocol nonadherence.

Methods:

Adherence behaviors of early adolescents (n = 43; Meanage = 12.3 ± 1.0) in an 8-week, faith-based intervention were monitored/recorded. Students provided reasons for various aspects of protocol breach, which were used to develop a post intervention questionnaire. Analyses included calculations of frequency/percentage as well as cross tabulations/chi square to detect gender/age differences.

Results:

Over the intervention, recording PA in logs decreased by 85% and was attributed to forgetfulness and lack of time. For pedometers, highest-frequency events included error codes (n = 501), incorrect wear (37%, ≥ 1 day), and shaking (58%–69%, ≥ 1 time). Top reasons for shaking were to make up for lost step opportunities and get further along the route. Of permissible stepping strategies, males used ambulatory activity on the playground and stair usage more, while 6th graders used speed stepping in place more than their respective counterparts.

Conclusions:

Students admit to basal levels of nonadherence, which should be taken into consideration when designing/implementing interventions. Integrating intervention tasks into the regular curriculum and providing sufficient opportunities to perform them may alleviate some barriers to adherence. Future research should attempt to confirm results in other school types/levels as well as quantify these behaviors in free-living or unstructured settings.

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Virtual Umra: An Interdisciplinary Faith-Based Pedometer Intervention for Increasing Steps at School

David Kahan and Virginie Nicaise

Background:

Curriculum interventions aimed at increasing physical activity in schools may prove useful in contexts where changes in policy/environment are not feasible. Design/evaluation of interventions targeting minority groups is important in light of well-publicized health disparities. Religious minorities represent a special subset that may positively respond to interventions tailored to their unique beliefs, which to date have been relatively underreported.

Methods:

Muslim American youth (n = 45) attending a parochial middle school participated in a religiously- and culturally-tailored 8-wk, interdisciplinary pedometer intervention. School-time ambulatory activity was quantified using a delayed multiple-baseline across subjects ABA design. Visual analysis of graphic data as well as repeated-measures ANOVA and ANCOVA and post hoc contrasts were used to analyze step counts including the moderating effects of day type (PE, no-PE), gender, BMI classification, grade, and time.

Results:

The intervention elicited modest increases in males’ steps only with effect decay beginning midintervention. BMI classification and grade were not associated with changes in steps.

Conclusions:

Full curricular integration by affected classroom teachers, staff modeling of PA behavior, and alternative curriculum for girls’ PE classes may further potentiate the intervention.

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Physical Inactivity Prevalence in the Islamic World: An Updated Analysis of 47 Countries

David Kahan

Background: Physical inactivity prevalence estimates for youth and adults have been published on a global scale and for various geographical and geopolitical permutations. Only one such study has presented estimates for adults in Muslim countries, and it is nearly 10 years old. I conducted an update of this study by incorporating newer data, refining methods, and including youth estimates. Methods: I identified 47 Muslim countries with physical inactivity data for youth, adults, or both. Data were extracted by country primarily from global estimates reported by Guthold et al in 2018 and 2020 and from World Health Organization surveillance data repositories. Weighted prevalence calculations for total prevalence and by sex, ethnicity (Arab vs non-Arab), and country income group accounted for country population, study sample size, and a country’s proportion of Muslims. Z tests and chi-square tests, and follow-up odds ratios and percentage deviations, respectively, were used to determine differences by sex, ethnicity, and country income group. Results: Overall physical inactivity prevalence was 84.2% (youth) and 29.6% (adults). Gaps favoring males over females were observed for youth (5.6% lower prevalence) and adults (9.6% lower prevalence). Gaps favoring non-Arabs over Arabs were observed for youth (3.9% lower) and adults (3.8% lower). No pattern emerged for country income group for youth; however, prevalence for adults trended upward across income groups from low (22.7%) to high (62.0%). Conclusions: Gaps by sex and ethnicity have narrowed since the original report and prevalence values are somewhat higher than current global estimates.

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Physical Education Policies and Practices in California Private Secondary Schools

David Kahan and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Physical education (PE) is mandated in most states, but few studies of PE in private schools exist.

Methods:

We assessed selected PE policies and practices in private secondary schools (grades 6 to 12) in California using a 15-item questionnaire related to school characteristics and their PE programs.

Results:

Responding schools (n = 450; response rate, 33.8%) were from 37 counties. Most were coeducational (91.3%) and had a religious affiliation (83%). Secular schools had more PE lessons, weekly PE min, and smaller class sizes. Most schools met guidelines for class size, but few met national recommendations for weekly PE minutes (13.7%), not permitting substitutions for PE (35.6%), and programs being taught entirely by PE specialists (29.3%).

Conclusions:

Private schools, which serve about 5 million US children and adolescents, may be falling short in providing quality PE. School stakeholders should encourage adoption and implementation of policies and practices that abide by professional guidelines and state statutes.

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Evaluation of a Redesigned Outdoor Space on Preschool Children’s Physical Activity During Recess

Virginie Nicaise, David Kahan, Karen Reuben, and James F. Sallis

This study investigated the impact of renovation and redesign of a university preschool’s outdoor space on children’s sedentary behavior, light activity, and moderate-to-vigorous-physical-activity (MVPA) during unstructured recess. Physical activity was measured by accelerometry and direct observation in two independent samples of 50 (baseline) and 57 (postintervention) children (M age=4.4 yrs ± 0.5). Controlling for gender, age, BMI and recess length, observational data, but not accelerometry, revealed a significant decrease in intervals spent sedentary (-26.5%) and increases in light physical activity (+11.6%) and MVPA (+14.9%). Higher levels of MVPA were associated with specific environmental changes (new looping cycle path, OR = 2.18; increased playground open space, OR = 7.62; and new grass hill, OR = 3.27). Decreased sedentary behavior and increased light activity and MVPA may be realized with environmental changes that promote continuous and novel movement experiences in more expansive spaces.