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Physical Activity of Children With and Without Long-Term Illness or Disability

Pauli Rintala, Raili Välimaa, Jorma Tynjälä, Will Boyce, Matt King, Jari Villberg, and Lasse Kannas

Background:

We know very little about physical activity in children with long-term illness or disability compared with those children without disabilities. Previous studies indicate low physical activity levels among all adolescents.

Methods:

The sample consisted of Canadian (n = 2720) and Finnish pupils (n = 3459) approximately 13.5 and 15.5 years of age in general (mainstreamed) education. The study is a part of the Health Behavior in School-aged Children (HBSC) study. Nationally representative data were collected in 2002 using a standardized questionnaire. The moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity screening measure was used.

Results:

Approximately one-fifth of the pupils in both countries had a long-term disability, illness or medical condition. In both countries boys and girls with a long-term illness or disability were equally physically inactive, and adolescents with a long-term illness or disability were as physically active as those without disabilities.

Conclusions:

There is no difference between young people with and without long-term illness/disability, and between boys and girls, in relation to their physical activity. However, all of them fall short of recommended guidelines. This indicates that promoting a physically active lifestyle should be of high priority in the lives of young people.

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Physical Activity Trends of Finnish Adolescents With Long-Term Illnesses or Disabilities From 2002–2014

Kwok Ng, Pauli Rintala, Jorma Tynjälä, Raili Välimaa, Jari Villberg, Sami Kokko, and Lasse Kannas

Background:

Adolescents’ physical activity level is a major source of concern. For adolescents with long-term illnesses or disabilities (LTID), being physically active can prevent secondary conditions. This is one of the first studies reporting trends in physical activity of adolescents with LTID in relation to gender, age, and sports club membership.

Methods:

Data were collected from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children study in Finland during 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. In 13- and 15-year-olds (N = 2206), 17.1% reported having LTID. Daily physical activity recall was the dependent variable. Binary logistic regression analysis was conducted eparately for sports club members (n = 936) and nonmembers (n = 1270).

Results:

The proportion of physically active adolescents with LTID in 2014 was higher than in 2002 for girls (15.6% vs 8.7%) and boys (26.6% vs 13.0%). Girl sports club members were 2 times more likely to be physically active in 2014 than in 2002. The largest trend between 2014 and 2002 was among boy nonmembers (odds ratio: 4.62, 95% confidence interval, 2.02–10.58).

Conclusions:

More adolescents with LTID took part in daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in 2014 than in 2002; however, physical activity levels still remain low. Sports club membership was similar to that of the general population.

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Results from Finland’s 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

Jarmo Liukkonen, Timo Jaakkola, Sami Kokko, Arto Gråstén, Sami Yli-Piipari, Pasi Koski, Jorma Tynjälä, Anne Soini, Timo Ståhl, and Tuija Tammelin

The Finnish 2014 Report Card on Physical Activity (PA) for Children and Youth is the first assessment of Finland’s efforts in promoting and facilitating PA opportunities for children and youth using the Active Healthy Kids Canada grading system. The Report Card relies primarily on research findings from 6 Research Institutes, coordinated by the University of Jyväskylä. The Research Work Group convened to evaluate the aggregated evidence and assign grades for each of the 9 PA indicators, following the Canadian Report Card protocol. Grades from A (highest) to F (lowest) varied in Finland as follows: 1) Overall physical activity—fulfillment of recommendations (D), 2) Organized sport participation (C), 3) Active play (D), 4) Active transportation (B), 5) Sedentary behaviors (D), 6) Family and peers (C), 7) School (B), 8) Community and the built environment (B), and 9) Government (B). This comprehensive summary and assessment of indicators related to PA in Finnish children and youth indicates that Finland still has many challenges to promote a physically active life style for youth.

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Results From Finland’s 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

Tuija H. Tammelin, Annaleena Aira, Matti Hakamäki, Pauliina Husu, Jouni Kallio, Sami Kokko, Kaarlo Laine, Kati Lehtonen, Kaisu Mononen, Sanna Palomäki, Timo Ståhl, Arja Sääkslahti, Jorma Tynjälä, and Katariina Kämppi

Background:

Finland’s 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth gathers and translates research results and assesses the status and promotion of physical activity (PA) among Finnish children and youth less than 18 years of age. This article summarizes the results and provides grades for 9 indicators.

Methods:

The working group evaluated the evidence and assigned grades of A (highest, 81% to 100%), B, C, D, or F (lowest, 0% to 20%) for 9 PA indicators using the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card development process.

Results:

The grades varied in Finland as follows: 1) Overall PA/fulfillment of recommendations = D, 2) Organized Sport Participation = C, 3) Active Play = C, 4) Active Transportation = B, 5) Sedentary Behaviors = D, 6) Family and Peers = C, 7) School = B, 8) Community and the Built Environment = B, 9) Government = B.

Conclusions:

Despite good policies and programs to promote PA in Finland, children and youth overall PA levels are low, whereas their time spent sedentary is high. More effective interventions, operation models, concrete tools as well as environmental solutions are needed to support the work toward more physically active childhood and youth.