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Effects of a School-Based Physical Activity Intervention on Adolescents’ Mental Health: A Cluster Randomized Controlled Trial

Kazi Rumana Ahmed, Sharon Horwood, and Asaduzzaman Khan

Background: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a school-based multicomponent physical activity intervention on mental health of adolescents. Methods: A clustered, randomized, controlled trial was employed in 8 high schools in Dhaka, Bangladesh, which were randomly assigned to either an intervention or control group; 40 students in grades 8 and 9 from each school took part in the trial (n = 160/group). Students in the intervention schools participated in a 12-week physical activity intervention with multiple components (eg, supervised circuits, lunchtime sports, health education, infographics), while control schools received no intervention. Participants completed baseline and postintervention surveys measuring depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale) and life satisfaction (Cantril Ladder), along with other sociodemographic and behavioral characteristics. Linear mixed-effects modeling was used to evaluate the intervention effects. Results: Depressive symptoms in the intervention group decreased at postintervention, but remained stable in the control group. There was an increase in life satisfaction in the intervention group and a decrease in the control group. Multivariable modeling showed that students in the intervention group had a significantly lower level of depressive symptoms (β = −4.60; 95% confidence interval, −5.76 to −3.46) and higher level of life satisfaction (β = 1.43; 95% confidence interval, 0.77 to 2.10) compared with their counterparts in the control group. Sensitivity analyses supported the positive effects of the intervention. Conclusions: Our school-based, multicomponent physical activity intervention is effective in improving mental health indicators in adolescents. Future trials should be ramped up to include schools in rural and regional settings, using robust measures  of mental well-being.

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Results from Bangladesh’s 2018 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

Asaduzzaman Khan, Mohammad Abdul Kadir, Sohel Reza Choudhury, Fatema Ashraf, Mahbubur Rahman, Kazi Rumana Ahmed, K. M. Saif-Ur-Rahman, Sonia Parvin, and Riaz Uddin

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Economic Freedom, Climate Culpability, and Physical Activity Indicators Among Children and Adolescents: Report Card Grades From the Global Matrix 4.0

Eun-Young Lee, Patrick Abi Nader, Salomé Aubert, Silvia A. González, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Asaduzzaman Khan, Wendy Y. Huang, Taru Manyanga, Shawnda Morrison, Diego Augusto Santos Silva, and Mark S. Tremblay

Background: Macrolevel factors such as economic and climate factors can be associated with physical activity indicators. This study explored patterns and relationships between economic freedom, climate culpability, and Report Card grades on physical activity-related indicators among 57 countries/jurisdictions participating in the Global Matrix 4.0. Methods: Participating countries/jurisdictions provided Report Card grades on 10 common indicators. Information on economic freedom and climatic factors were gathered from public data sources. Correlations between the key variables were provided by income groups (ie, low- and middle-income countries/jurisdictions and high-income countries/jurisdictions [HIC]). Results: HIC were more economically neoliberal and more responsible for climate change than low- and middle-income countries. Annual temperature and precipitation were negatively correlated with behavioral/individual indicators in low- and middle-income countries but not in HIC. In HIC, correlations between climate culpability and behavioral/individual and economic indicators were more apparent. Overall, poorer grades were observed in highly culpable countries/jurisdictions in the highly free group, while in less/moderately free groups, less culpable countries/jurisdictions showed poorer grades than their counterparts in their respective group by economic freedom. Conclusions: Global-level physical activity promotion strategies should closely evaluate different areas that need interventions tailored by income groups, with careful considerations for inequities in the global political economy and climate change.

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Indicators of Physical Activity Among Children and Youth in 9 Countries With Low to Medium Human Development Indices: A Global Matrix 3.0 Paper

Taru Manyanga, Joel D. Barnes, Chalchisa Abdeta, Ade F. Adeniyi, Jasmin Bhawra, Catherine E. Draper, Tarun R. Katapally, Asaduzzaman Khan, Estelle Lambert, Daga Makaza, Vida K. Nyawornota, Reginald Ocansey, Narayan Subedi, Riaz Uddin, Dawn Tladi, and Mark S. Tremblay

Background: This study compares results of physical activity report cards from 9 countries with low to medium human development indices, participating in the Global Matrix 3.0 initiative. Methods: Country-specific report cards were informed by relevant data and government policy documents, reporting on 10 core indicators of physical activity for children and youth. Data were synthesized by report card working groups following a harmonized process. Grade assignments for each indicator utilized a standard grading rubric. Indicators were grouped into one of 2 categories: daily behaviors and settings and sources of influence. Descriptive statistics (average grades) were computed after letter grades were converted into interval variables. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients were calculated for all correlation analyses. Results: Mean grades for daily behaviors were higher (C) than those for settings and sources of influence (D+). Twenty-nine out of the possible 90 grades were assigned an incomplete. There were moderate to strong positive and negative relationships between different global indices and overall physical activity, organized sport and physical activity, active play, family, community and environment, and government. Conclusions: Findings demonstrate an urgent need for high-quality data at the country level in order to better characterize the physical activity levels of children and youth in countries with low to medium human development indices.

Open access

Global Matrix 3.0 Physical Activity Report Card Grades for Children and Youth: Results and Analysis From 49 Countries

Salomé Aubert, Joel D. Barnes, Chalchisa Abdeta, Patrick Abi Nader, Ade F. Adeniyi, Nicolas Aguilar-Farias, Dolores S. Andrade Tenesaca, Jasmin Bhawra, Javier Brazo-Sayavera, Greet Cardon, Chen-Kang Chang, Christine Delisle Nyström, Yolanda Demetriou, Catherine E. Draper, Lowri Edwards, Arunas Emeljanovas, Aleš Gába, Karla I. Galaviz, Silvia A. González, Marianella Herrera-Cuenca, Wendy Y. Huang, Izzeldin A.E. Ibrahim, Jaak Jürimäe, Katariina Kämppi, Tarun R. Katapally, Piyawat Katewongsa, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Asaduzzaman Khan, Agata Korcz, Yeon Soo Kim, Estelle Lambert, Eun-Young Lee, Marie Löf, Tom Loney, Juan López-Taylor, Yang Liu, Daga Makaza, Taru Manyanga, Bilyana Mileva, Shawnda A. Morrison, Jorge Mota, Vida K. Nyawornota, Reginald Ocansey, John J. Reilly, Blanca Roman-Viñas, Diego Augusto Santos Silva, Pairoj Saonuam, John Scriven, Jan Seghers, Natasha Schranz, Thomas Skovgaard, Melody Smith, Martyn Standage, Gregor Starc, Gareth Stratton, Narayan Subedi, Tim Takken, Tuija Tammelin, Chiaki Tanaka, David Thivel, Dawn Tladi, Richard Tyler, Riaz Uddin, Alun Williams, Stephen H.S. Wong, Ching-Lin Wu, Paweł Zembura, and Mark S. Tremblay

Background: Accumulating sufficient moderate to vigorous physical activity is recognized as a key determinant of physical, physiological, developmental, mental, cognitive, and social health among children and youth (aged 5–17 y). The Global Matrix 3.0 of Report Card grades on physical activity was developed to achieve a better understanding of the global variation in child and youth physical activity and associated supports. Methods: Work groups from 49 countries followed harmonized procedures to develop their Report Cards by grading 10 common indicators using the best available data. The participating countries were divided into 3 categories using the United Nations’ human development index (HDI) classification (low or medium, high, and very high HDI). Results: A total of 490 grades, including 369 letter grades and 121 incomplete grades, were assigned by the 49 work groups. Overall, an average grade of “C-,” “D+,” and “C-” was obtained for the low and medium HDI countries, high HDI countries, and very high HDI countries, respectively. Conclusions: The present study provides rich new evidence showing that the situation regarding the physical activity of children and youth is a concern worldwide. Strategic public investments to implement effective interventions to increase physical activity opportunities are needed.