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Erin Kaye Howie, Timothy Olds, Joanne A. McVeigh, Rebecca A. Abbott, and Leon Straker

Background:

The detailed patterns of physical activity and sedentary behaviors of overweight and obese adolescents are unknown, but may be important for health outcomes and targeted intervention design.

Methods:

Participants completed Curtin University’s Activity, Food and Attitudes Program (CAFAP), an 8-week intervention with 12 months of maintenance intervention. Physical activity and sedentary time were assessed at 6 time periods with accelerometers and were analyzed by 1) time and type of day, 2) intensity bout patterns using exposure variation analysis, and 3) individual case analysis.

Results:

Participants (n = 56) spent a lower percentage of time at baseline in light activity during school days compared with weekend days (24.4% vs 29.0%, P = .004). The majority of time was in long uninterrupted sedentary bouts of greater than 30 minutes (26.7% of total time, 36.8% of sedentary time at baseline). Moderate activity was accumulated in short bouts of less than 5 minutes (3.1% of total time, 76.0% moderate time). Changes varied by individuals.

Conclusions:

Exposure variation analysis revealed specific changes in activity patterns in overweight and obese adolescents who participated in a lifestyle intervention. A better understanding of these patterns can help to design interventions that meaningfully affect specific behaviors, with unique health consequences.

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Leon Straker, Erin Kaye Howie, Dylan Paul Cliff, Melanie T. Davern, Lina Engelen, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Jenny Ziviani, Natasha K. Schranz, Tim Olds, and Grant Ryan Tomkinson

Background:

Australia has joined a growing number of nations that have evaluated the physical activity and sedentary behavior status of their children. Australia received a “D minus” in the first Active Healthy Kids Australia Physical Activity Report Card.

Methods:

An expert subgroup of the Australian Report Card Research Working Group iteratively reviewed available evidence to answer 3 questions: (a) What are the main sedentary behaviors of children? (b) What are the potential mechanisms for sedentary behavior to impact child health and development? and (c) What are the effects of different types of sedentary behaviors on child health and development?

Results:

Neither sedentary time nor screen time is a homogeneous activity likely to result in homogenous effects. There are several mechanisms by which various sedentary behaviors may positively or negatively affect cardiometabolic, neuromusculoskeletal, and psychosocial health, though the strength of evidence varies. National surveillance systems and mechanistic, longitudinal, and experimental studies are needed for Australia and other nations to improve their grade.

Conclusions:

Despite limitations, available evidence is sufficiently convincing that the total exposure and pattern of exposure to sedentary behaviors are critical to the healthy growth, development, and wellbeing of children. Nations therefore need strategies to address these common behaviors.