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Marianella Herrera-Cuenca, Betty Méndez-Perez, Vanessa Castro Morales, Joana Martín-Rojo, Bianca Tristan, Amilid Torín Bandy, Maritza Landaeta-Jiménez, Coromoto Macías-Tomei and Mercedes López-Blanco

Background:

The Venezuelan Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the first assessment of information related to physical activity in Venezuela. It provides a compilation of existing information throughout the country and assesses how well it is doing at promoting opportunities for children and youth. The aim of this article is to summarize the information available.

Methods:

Thirteen physical activity indicators were graded by a committee of experts using letters A to F (A, the highest, to F, the lowest) based on national surveys, peer review studies, and policy documents.

Results:

Some indicators report incomplete information or a lack of data. Overweight and Obesity were classified as A; Body Composition and Nongovernmental Organization Policies as B; Municipal Level Policies as C; and Overall Physical Activity Levels and National Level Policies as D.

Conclusions:

63% of children and youth have low physical activity levels. Venezuela needs to undergo a process of articulation between the several existing initiatives, and for said purposes, political will and a methodological effort is required. Investments, infrastructure, and opportunities will be more equal for all children and youth if more cooperation between institutions is developed and communication strategies are applied.

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Christine M. Hoehner, Ross C. Brownson, Diana Allen, James Gramann, Timothy K. Behrens, Myron F. Floyd, Jessica Leahy, Joseph B. Liddle, David Smaldone, Diara D. Spain, Daniel R. Tardona, Nicholas P. Ruthmann, Rachel L. Seiler and Byron W. Yount

Background:

We synthesized the results of 7 National Park Service pilot interventions designed to increase awareness of the health benefits from participation in recreation at national parks and to increase physical activity by park visitors.

Methods:

A content analysis was conducted of the final evaluation reports of the 7 participating parks. Pooled data were also analyzed from a standardized trail-intercept survey administered in 3 parks.

Results:

The theme of new and diverse partnerships was the most common benefit reported across the 7 sites. The 2 parks that focused on youth showed evidence of an increase in awareness of the benefits of physical activity. Many of the other sites found high levels of awareness at baseline (approaching 90%), suggesting little room for improvement. Five of the 7 projects showed evidence of an increase in physical activity that was associated with the intervention activities. Multivariate analyses suggested that the media exposure contributed to a small but significant increase in awareness of the importance of physical activity (6%) and number of active visits (7%).

Conclusions:

Enhancements and replication of these programs represents a promising opportunity for improving partnerships between public health and recreation to increase physical activity.

Open access

Samuel C. Dumith, Denise P. Gigante, Marlos R. Domingues, Pedro C. Hallal, Ana M.B. Menezes and Harold W. Kohl III

This study aimed to: 1) describe the change in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) during early-to-mid adolescence; 2) analyze the tracking of LTPA; 3) identify the predictors of LTPA change. 4,120 adolescents were from 11 to 15 years old. Outcome was self-reported LTPA (min/wk). Boys increased their LTPA level over the four years (mean: 75 min/wk; 95%CI: 49,100), whereas a decrease was observed among girls (mean: -42 min/wk; 95%CI: -57,-28). Likelihood to be active at 15 years of age was 50% higher (95%CI: 39–62) among those who were active at 11 years. The main predictor of LTPA change was the number of physical activities performed at baseline. Regular physical activity early in life can predict this behavior afterward.

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Genevieve F. Dunton, Michael Cousineau and Kim D. Reynolds

Background:

Policy strategies aimed at modifying aspects of the social, physical, economic, and educational environments have been proposed as potential solutions to the growing problem of physical inactivity. To develop effective physical activity policies in these and other areas, greater understanding of how and why policies successfully impact behavior change is needed.

Methods:

The current paper proposes a conceptual framework explaining how policy strategies map onto health behavior theoretical variables and processes thought to lead to physical activity change. This framework is used to make hypotheses about the potential effectiveness of different policy strategies.

Results:

Health behavior theories suggest that policies providing information may be particularly useful for individuals who are not yet considering or have only recently begun to consider becoming more physically active. Policies that provide opportunities may be less effective for individuals who do not find physical activity to be inherently fun and interesting. Policies that offer incentives or require the behavior may not be particularly useful at promoting long-term changes in physical activity.

Conclusion:

Exploring possible connections between policy strategies and theoretical constructs can help to clarify how each approach might work and for whom it may be the most appropriate to implement.

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António Prista, Salazar Picardo, Edmundo Ribeiro, Joel Libombo and Timoteo Daca

Background:

This paper describes the procedures and development of the first Mozambican Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Adolescents.

Methods:

Comprehensive searches for data related to indicators of physical activity (PA) were completed by a committee of physical activity and sports specialists. Grades were assigned to each indicator consistent with the process and methodology outlined by the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card model.

Results:

Seven indicators of PA were graded. The following grades were assigned: Overall Physical Activity Levels, B; Organized Sport Participation, F; Active Play, C; Active Transportation, B; Schools, C; Community and the Built Environment, F; and Government, C. Sedentary Behaviors and Family and Peers were not graded due to the lack of available information.

Conclusions:

PA behaviors of children and young people of Mozambique are positively influenced by the rural environment and are largely related to subsistence activities and outdoor play, and absence of motorized transport. In turn, urban areas are declining in active habits and opportunities due largely to rapid urbanization and lack of planning that favors active transport and play.

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Katherine A. Stamatakis, Timothy D. McBride and Ross C. Brownson

Background:

While effective interventions to promote physical activity have been identified, efforts to translate these interventions into policy have lagged behind. To improve the translation of evidence into policy, researchers and public health practitioners need to consider new ways for communicating health promoting messages to state and local policymakers.

Methods:

In this article, we describe issues related to the translation of evidence supporting physical activity promotion, and offer some communication approaches and tools that are likely to be beneficial in translating research to policy.

Results:

We discuss the use of narrative (ie, stories) and describe its potential role in improving communication of research in policy-making settings. In addition, we provide an outline for the development and design of policy briefs on physical activity, and for how to target these briefs effectively to policy-oriented audiences.

Conclusions:

Improvements in researchers' and practitioners' abilities to translate the evidence they generate into high-quality materials for policy makers can greatly enhance efforts to enact policies that promote physical activity.

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William L. Haskell

For the scientific domain of physical activity and public health research to advance its agenda of health promotion and disease prevention continued development of measurement methodologies is essential. Over the past 50 years most data supporting a favorable relationship between habitual physical activity and chronic disease morbidity and mortality have been obtained using self-report methods, including questionnaires, logs, recalls, and diaries. Many of these instruments have been shown to have reasonable validity and reliability for determining general type, amount, intensity, and bout duration, but typically do better for groups than individuals with some instruments lacking the sensitivity to detect change in activity. During the past decade the objective assessment of physical activity using accelerometer-based devices has demonstrated substantial potential, especially in documenting the pattern of light-, moderate-, and vigorous-intensity activity throughout the day. However, these devices do not provide information on activity type, location or context. Research that combines the strengths of both self-report and objective measures has the potential to provide new insights into the benefits of physical activity and how to implement successful interventions.

Open access

Vincent O. Onywera, Stella K. Muthuri, Sylvester Hayker, Lucy-Joy M. Wachira, Florence Kyallo, Robert O. Mang’eni, Peter Bukhala and Caleb Mireri

Background:

Kenya’s 2016 report card aimed to highlight the health and well-being of Kenyan children and youth using the best available evidence on the physical activity of Kenyan children and youth. The report pointed at areas where Kenya was succeeding and areas where more action is required.

Methods:

Inclusive analyses of available data sources on the core indicators related to physical activity and body weights of Kenyan children and youth (5 to 17 years) were conducted. These were assigned grades based on a set of specific criteria.

Results:

Results show that Active Play, Active Transportation, Overweight and Obesity, and Sedentary Behavior were favorable with a grade of B. Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport Participation, and School (infrastructure, policies, and programs) each received a grade of C, while Family and Peers, Government and Nongovernment organizations, as well as the Community and the Built Environment were assigned grade D.

Conclusions:

Over 72% of Kenyan children and youth use active transportation to and from school and in their daily lives. Although majority of the children and youth have normal body weight, there is need to ensure that they meet and maintain the physical activity levels recommended by the World Health Organization. More needs to be done especially in relation to the governmental and nongovernmental organizations, organized sports participation, as well as involvement of family and peers in promoting healthy active lifestyles among Kenyan children and youth. More representative data for all indicators are required in Kenya.

Open access

António Prista, Timoteo Daca, Francisco Tchonga, Eduardo Machava, Cremildo Macucule and Edmundo Ribeiro

Background:

This article describes the procedures and development of the 2016 Mozambican Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Adolescents.

Methods:

Following the procedures adopted in 2014 for that year’s report card, comprehensive searches on new data related to indicators of physical activity (PA) were done. A committee composed of physical activity and sports specialists graded each indicator consistent with the process and methodology outlined by the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card model.

Results:

Nine indicators of PA were graded. Compared with 2014 there were several differences which were caused by changes in the country as well as a more effective evaluation from the committee. The following grades were assigned: Overall Physical Activity Levels, C; Organized Sport Participation, F; Active Play, D; Active Transportation, C; Schools, D; Community and the Built Environment, F; and Government, F. Sedentary Behaviors and Family and Peers were graded Incomplete due to the lack of available information.

Conclusions:

The decline of the PA habits in urban centers reported in 2014 are accentuated and is influencing the rural areas in several ways. At present, there is no strategy or effective action from authorities to reverse this negative trend.

Open access

Tarun Reddy Katapally, Shifalika Goenka, Jasmin Bhawra, Subha Mani, Ghattu V Krishnaveni, Sarah Helen Kehoe, Anjana Sankhil Lamkang, Manu Raj and Kathleen McNutt

Background:

Physical inactivity in children and youth in India is a major public health problem. The 2016 Indian Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth has been conceptualized to highlight this epidemic by appraising behaviors, contexts, strategies, and investments related to physical activity of Indian children and youth.

Methods:

An international research collaboration resulted in the formation of a Research Working Group (RWG). RWG determined key indicators; identified, synthesized, and analyzed existing evidence; developed criteria for assigning grades; and, finally, assigned grades to indicators based on consensus.

Results:

Overall Physical Activity Levels were assigned a grade of C-. Active Transportation and Sedentary Behaviors were both assigned a grade of C. Government Strategies and Investments was assigned a grade of D. Six other indicators, including the country-specific indicator Physical Fitness, were graded as INC (incomplete) due to the lack of nationally representative evidence.

Conclusions:

Based on existing evidence, it appears that most Indian children do not achieve recommended levels of physical activity and spend most of their day in sedentary pursuits. The report card identifies gaps in both investments and research that need to be addressed before understanding the complete picture of active living in children and youth in India.