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Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Educational Outcomes Among Australian University Students: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Associations

Lena Babaeer, Michalis Stylianou, and Sjaan R. Gomersall

Background: This study aimed to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior (SB), and educational outcomes (EO) in first-year university students in Australia. Method: Participants (N = 80) engaged in 3 data collection points (semesters 1, 2, and 3) that included self-reported and device-based PA and SB, and objective EO measures. Cross-sectional associations were examined using linear and binary logistic regressions, and longitudinal associations were examined using generalized estimating equations. Result: Overall, results indicated some positive but weak cross-sectional associations between some device-based and self-reported measures of PA and EO outcomes when controlling for confounders. Self-reported SB was negatively associated with semester GPA at time point 3 after adjusting for confounders (β = −0.224; 95% confidence interval, −0.446 to −0.001; P < .05). No other significant cross-sectional or longitudinal associations were identified. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that SB may be a more important target healthy behavior than PA when aiming to influence EO, and that related interventions may be more appropriate in second rather than first-year university students. Further research is needed to better understand this relationship that uses larger sample sizes, follows students beyond first year, and includes measures that distinguish between leisure and educational screen time.

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Validity of a Self-Report Recall Tool for Estimating Sedentary Behavior in Adults

Sjaan R. Gomersall, Toby G. Pavey, Bronwyn K. Clark, Adib Jasman, and Wendy J. Brown

Background:

Sedentary behavior is continuing to emerge as an important target for health promotion. The purpose of this study was to determine the validity of a self-report use of time recall tool, the Multimedia Activity Recall for Children and Adults (MARCA) in estimating time spent sitting/lying, compared with a device-based measure.

Methods:

Fifty-eight participants (48% female, [mean ± standard deviation] 28 ± 7.4 years of age, 23.9 ± 3.05 kg/m2) wore an activPAL device for 24-h and the following day completed the MARCA. Pearson correlation coefficients (r) were used to analyze convergent validity of the adult MARCA compared with activPAL estimates of total sitting/lying time. Agreement was examined using Bland-Altman plots.

Results:

According to activPAL estimates, participants spent 10.4 hr/day [standard deviation (SD) = 2.06] sitting or lying down while awake. The correlation between MARCA and activPAL estimates of total sit/lie time was r = .77 (95% confidence interval = 0.64–0.86; P < .001). Bland-Altman analyses revealed a mean bias of +0.59 hr/day with moderately wide limits of agreement (–2.35 hr to +3.53 hr/day).

Conclusions:

This study found a moderate to strong agreement between the adult MARCA and the activPAL, suggesting that the MARCA is an appropriate tool for the measurement of time spent sitting or lying down in an adult population.

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The Physical Activity Advice Continuum—A Guide for Physical Activity Promotion in Health Care

Nicole Freene, Stephen Barrett, Emily R. Cox, Jessica Hill, Roger Lay, Jessica Seymour, Kimberley Szeto, and Sjaan R. Gomersall

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Ten Research Priorities Related to Youth Sport, Physical Activity, and Health

Erin K. Howie, Justin M. Guagliano, Karen Milton, Stewart A. Vella, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Tracy L. Kolbe-Alexander, Justin Richards, and Russell R. Pate

Background: Sport has been identified as one of the 7 best investments for increasing physical activity levels across the life span. Several questions remain on how to effectively utilize youth sport as a strategy for increasing physical activity and improving health in youth. The purpose of this paper is to identify the main research priorities in the areas of youth sport and physical activity for health. Methods: An international expert panel was convened, selected to cover a wide spectrum of topics related to youth sport. The group developed a draft set of potential research priorities, and relevant research was scoped. Through an iterative process, the group reached consensus on the top 10 research priorities. Results: The 10 research priorities were identified related to sport participation rates, physical activity from sport, the contribution of sport to health, and the overall return on investment from youth sport. For each research priority, the current evidence is summarized, key research gaps are noted, and immediate research needs are suggested. Conclusion: The identified research priorities are intended to guide researchers, policymakers, and practitioners to increase the evidence base on which to base the design, delivery, and policies of youth sport programs to deliver health benefits.

Open access

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

Natasha K. Schranz, Timothy Olds, Roslyn Boyd, John Evans, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Louise Hardy, Kylie Hesketh, David R. Lubans, Nicola D. Ridgers, Leon Straker, Stewart Vella, Jenny Ziviani, and Grant R. Tomkinson

Background:

Two years on from the inaugural Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) Physical Activity Report Card, there has been little to no change with the majority of Australian children still insufficiently active.

Methods:

The 2016 AHKA Report Card was developed using the best available national- and state-based physical activity data, which were evaluated by the AHKA Research Working Group using predetermined weighting criteria and benchmarks to assign letter grades to the 12 Report Card indicators.

Results:

In comparison with 2014, Overall Physical Activity Levels was again assigned a D- with Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation increasing to a B (was B-) and Active Transport declining to a C- (was C). The settings and sources of influence again performed well (A- to a C+), however Government Strategies and Investments saw a decline (C+ to a D). The traits associated with physical activity were also graded poorly (C- to a D).

Conclusions:

Australian youth are insufficiently active and engage in high levels of screen-based sedentary behaviors. While a range of support structures exist, Australia lacks an overarching National Physical Activity Plan that would unify the country and encourage the cultural shift needed to face the inactivity crisis head on.

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Does the Time-of-Day of Exercise Influence the Total Volume of Exercise? A Cross-Sectional Analysis of Objectively Monitored Physical Activity Among Active Individuals

Paige G. Brooker, Mary E. Jung, Dominic Kelly-Bowers, Veronica Morlotti, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Neil A. King, and Michael D. Leveritt

Background: To improve compliance and adherence to exercise, the concept of temporal consistency has been proposed. Before- and after-work are periods when most working adults may reasonably incorporate exercise into their schedule. However, it is unknown if there is an association between the time-of-day that exercise is performed and overall physical activity levels. Methods: Activity was assessed over 1 week in a sample of 69 active adults (n = 41 females; mean age = 34.9 [12.3] y). At the end of the study, participants completed an interviewer-assisted questionnaire detailing their motivation to exercise and their exercise time-of-day preferences. Results: Participants were classified as “temporally consistent” (n = 37) or “temporally inconsistent” (n = 32) exercisers based on their accelerometry data. The “temporally consistent” group was further analyzed to compare exercise volume between “morning-exercisers” (n = 16) and “evening-exercisers” (n = 21). “Morning-exercisers” performed a greater volume of exercise than “evening-exercisers” (419 [178] vs 330 [233] min by self-report; 368 [224] vs 325 [156] min actigraph-derived moderate to vigorous physical activity, respectively). Conclusions: Our findings suggest that active individuals use a mixture of temporal patterns to meet PA guidelines. Time-of-day of exercise should be reported in intervention studies so the relationship between exercise time-of-day, exercise behavior, and associated outcomes can be better understood.

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Australia and Other Nations Are Failing to Meet Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines for Children: Implications and a Way Forward

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.