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Aubrianne E. Rote, Lori A. Klos, Michael J. Brondino, Amy E. Harley and Ann M. Swartz

Background:

Facebook may be a useful tool to provide a social support group to encourage increases in physical activity. This study examines the efficacy of a Facebook social support group to increase steps/day in young women.

Methods:

Female college freshmen (N = 63) were randomized to one of two 8-week interventions: a Facebook Social Support Group (n = 32) or a Standard Walking Intervention (n = 31). Participants in both groups received weekly step goals and tracked steps/day with a pedometer. Women in the Facebook Social Support Group were also enrolled in a Facebook group and asked to post information about their steps/day and provide feedback to one another.

Results:

Women in both intervention arms significantly increased steps/day pre- to postintervention (F (8,425) = 94.43, P < .001). However, women in the Facebook Social Support Group increased steps/day significantly more (F (1,138) = 11.34, P < .001) than women in the Standard Walking Intervention, going from 5295 to 12,472 steps/day.

Conclusions:

These results demonstrate the potential effectiveness of using Facebook to offer a social support group to increase physical activity in young women. Women in the Facebook Social Support Group increased walking by approximately 1.5 miles/day more than women in the Standard Walking Intervention which, if maintained, could have a profound impact on their future health.

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Reginald Ocansey, Richmond Aryeetey, Seidu Sofo, Margaret Badasu Delali, Prince Pambo and Vida Korleki Nyawornota

Background:

Limited evidence exists on indicators of physical activity (PA) and guidelines for children and youth in Ghana, despite the growing burden of physical inactivity, obesity, and related morbidity. A baseline description of PA indicators of Ghanaian children and youth is hereby presented in the 2014 Ghanaian Physical Activity Report Card.

Methods:

Data for the report card were obtained from a very limited available literature on PA among children and youth in Ghana. PA experts independently assigned grades to indicators based on available evidence, which were then harmonized and agreed to by group consensus.

Results:

The report card is based on limited evidence. Thus, 2 indicators were not graded (Active Play, and Family and Peer Support). For sedentary behavior, a B grade was assigned based on evidence from the 2012 Ghana School Health Survey which indicated that 21% of children and youth were sedentary. Organized Sports was graded a C, while the remainder of indicators (Overall PA levels, Active Transportation, School, Community, and Government) were graded a D.

Conclusions:

About one-third of Ghanaian children and youth engage in inadequate PA. More research on PA behavior and enabling environments is needed to better grade the indicators of PA in the future and to inform policy and interventions in Ghana. Appropriate school physical education and after-school sports policies and programs are warranted.

Open access

Christine Delisle Nyström, Christel Larsson, Bettina Ehrenblad, Hanna Eneroth, Ulf Eriksson, Marita Friberg, Maria Hagströmer, Anna Karin Lindroos, John J. Reilly and Marie Löf

Background:

The 2016 Swedish Report Card on Physical Activity (PA) for Children and Youth is a unique compilation of the existing physical and health related data in Sweden. The aim of this article is to summarize the procedure and results from the report card.

Methods:

Nationally representative surveys and individual studies published between 2005–2015 were included. Eleven PA and health indicators were graded using the Active Healthy Kids Canada grading system. Grades were assigned based on the percentage of children/youth meeting a defined benchmark (A: 81% to 100%, B: 61% to 80%, C: 41% to 60%, D: 21% to 40%, F: 0% to 20%, or incomplete (INC).

Results:

The assigned grades were Overall Physical Activity, D; Organized Sport Participation, B+; Active Play, INC; Active Transportation, C+; Sedentary Behaviors, C; Family and Peers, INC; School, C+; Community and the Built Environment, B; Government Strategies and Investments, B; Diet, C-; and Obesity, D.

Conclusions:

The included data provides some support that overall PA is too low and sedentary behavior is too high for almost all age groups in Sweden, even with the many national policies as well as an environment that is favorable to the promotion of PA.

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Silvia A. González, Olga L. Sarmiento, Daniel D. Cohen, Diana M. Camargo, Jorge E. Correa, Diana C. Páez and Robinson Ramírez-Vélez

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is central to the global agenda for the prevention on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Although 80% of NCDs occur in low-to-middle-income countries, the evidence on PA comes mainly from high-income countries. In this context, the report card for Colombia is an advocacy tool to help in the translation of evidence into concrete actions. The aims of this paper were two-fold: to present the methodology used to develop the first Report Card on Physical Activity in Colombian Children and Youth and to summarize the results.

Methods:

Twelve indicators of PA were graded using numerical grades (5, highest, to 1, lowest) based on data from national surveys and policy documents.

Results:

National policy and obesity indicators were graded “4,” while departmental policy and overweight indicators were graded “3.” Overall PA levels, sports participation, sedentary behaviors and nongovernment initiatives were graded “2,” and school influence was graded “1.” Active transportation, active play, low cardiorespiratory fitness, and family and community influence received an incomplete.

Conclusion:

PA levels are low and sedentary behaviors are high in Colombian children and youth. Although the prevalence of obesity in Colombia is lower compared with other Latin American countries, it is increasing. A rich legal framework and availability of institutional arrangements provide unique opportunities to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice that need to be evaluated.

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Ralph Maddison, Leila Pfaeffli Dale, Samantha Marsh, Allana G. LeBlanc and Melody Oliver

Background:

This brief report provides grades for the 2014 New Zealand Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. The Report Card presents a review of current evidence across 9 key indicators, including physical activity (PA), organized sport and free play, sedentary behavior, and community and government initiatives across New Zealand.

Methods:

Nationally representative survey data were collated by researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, between June and December 2013. The grade for each indicator is based on the percentage of children and youth meeting a defined benchmark: A is 81%−100%; B is 61%−80%; C is 41%−60%, D is 21%−40%; F is 0%−20%; INC is incomplete data.

Results:

Overall PA received a score of B, as did Organized Sport Participation and Active Play. PA participation in School Environment scored slightly less with a score of B-. Sedentary Behaviors, Family and Peers, and Community and Built Environment scored a grade of C. Active transportation received a score of C-. An inconclusive grade was given for the Government indicator due to a lack of established international criteria for assessment.

Conclusions:

PA participation in New Zealand is satisfactory, but could improve. However, sedentary behavior is high. Of particular concern is the age-related decline in PA participation, particularly among adolescent females, and the increase in sedentary behavior.

Open access

Razinah Sharif, Kar Hau Chong, Nur Hadiyani Zakaria, Min Li Ong, John J. Reilly, Jyh Eiin Wong, Hazizi Abu Saad and Bee Koon Poh

Background:

The 2016 Malaysia Active Healthy Kids Report Card aims to collect, assess, and grade current and comprehensive data on physical activity (PA) and associated factors in Malaysian children and adolescents aged 5 to 17 years.

Methods:

This report card was developed following the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card protocol. The Research Working Group identified the core matrices, assessed the key data sources, and evaluated the evidence gathered for grade assignments. A grade was assigned to each indicator by comparing the best available evidence against relevant benchmark using a standardized grading scheme.

Results:

Overall Physical Activity, Active Transportation, and Sedentary Behavior were assigned the D grade. The lowest grade of F was assigned to Diet, while School and Government Strategies and Investments were graded higher with a B. Five indicators were assigned INC (incomplete) due to a lack of representative data.

Conclusions:

The report card demonstrates that Malaysian children and adolescents are engaging in low levels of PA and active commuting, high levels of screen time, and have extremely low compliance with dietary recommendations. More efforts are needed to address the root causes of physical inactivity while increasing the opportunities for children and adolescents to be more physically active.

Open access

Nicolas Aguilar-Farias, Andrea Cortinez-O’Ryan, Kabir P. Sadarangani, Astrid Von Oetinger, Jaime Leppe, Macarena Valladares, Teresa Balboa-Castillo, Carolina Cobos, Nicolas Lemus, Magdalena Walbaum and Carlos Cristi-Montero

Background:

The 2016 Chilean Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is a review of the evidence across indicators of behaviors, settings, and sources of influence associated with physical activity (PA) of Chilean children and youth.

Methods:

A Research Work Group reviewed available evidence from publications, surveys, government documents and datasets to assign a grade for 11 indicators for PA behavior based on the percentage of compliance for defined benchmarks. Grades were defined as follows: A, 81% to 100% of children accomplishing a given benchmark; B, 61% to 80%; C, 41% to 60%; D, 21% to 40%; F, 0% to 20%; INC, incomplete data available to assign score.

Results:

Grades assigned were for i) ‘Behaviors that contribute to overall PA levels’: Overall PA, F; Organized Sport Participation, D; Active Play, INC; and Active Transportation, C-; ii) ‘Factors associated with cardiometabolic risk’: Sedentary Behavior, D; Overweight and Obesity, F; Fitness, F; and iii) ‘Factors that influence PA’: Family and Peers, D; School, D; Community and Built Environment, C; Government Strategies and Investments, C.

Conclusions:

Chile faces a major challenge as most PA indicators scored low. There were clear research and information gaps that need to be filled with the implementation of consistent and regular data collection methods.

Open access

Mouza Al Zaabi, Syed Mahboob Shah, Mohamud Sheek-Hussein, Abdishakur Abdulle, Abdulla Al Junaibi and Tom Loney

Background:

The Active Healthy Kids 2016 United Arab Emirates (UAE) Report Card provides a systematic evaluation of how the UAE is performing in supporting and engaging physical activity (PA) in children and adolescents.

Methods:

The Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance framework and standardized set of procedures were used to perform the systematic assessment of PA in UAE youth and children. Indicator grades were based on the proportion of children and youth achieving a defined benchmark: A = 81% to 100%; B = 61% to 80%; C = 41% to 60%; D = 21% to 40%; F = 0% to 20%; INC = incomplete data.

Results:

Overall Physical Activity Level and Active Transportation both received a grade of D-/F-. Sedentary Behavior and Family and Peers both received a C- minus grade and School was graded D. Minus grades indicate PA disparities related to age, gender, nationality, socioeconomic status, and geographic location. Government Strategies and Investments received a B+ grade. Sport Participation, Active Play, and Community and the Built Environment were graded INC due to a lack of nationally representative data for all 7 emirates.

Conclusions:

The majority of UAE children are not achieving the daily recommended level of PA. The UAE leadership has invested significant resources into improving PA through school- and community-based PA interventions; however, inter- and intraemirate population-based strategies remain fragmented.

Open access

Lisbeth Runge Larsen, Jens Troelsen, Kasper Lund Kirkegaard, Søren Riiskjær, Rikke Krølner, Lars Østergaard, Peter Lund Kristensen, Niels Christian Møller, Bjørn Friis Neerfeldt Christensen, Jens-Ole Jensen, Charlotte Østergård and Thomas Skovgaard

Background:

The first Danish Report Card on Physical Activity (PA) for Children and Youth describes Denmark’s efforts in promoting and facilitating PA and PA opportunities for children and youth.

Methods:

The report card relies primarily on a synthesis of the best available research and policy strategies identified by the Report Card Research Committee consisting of a wide presentation of researchers and experts within PA health behaviors and policy development. The work was coordinated by Research and Innovation Centre for Human Movement and Learning situated at the University of Southern Denmark and the University College Lillebaelt. Nine PA indicators were graded using the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card development process.

Results:

Grades from A (highest) to F (lowest) varied in Denmark as follows: 1) Overall Physical Activity (D+), 2) Organized Sport Participation (A), 3) Active Play (INC; incomplete), 4) Active Transportation (B), 5) Sedentary Behaviors (INC), 6) Family and Peers (INC), 7) School (B), 8) Community and the Built Environment (B+), and 9) Government strategies and investments (A-).

Conclusions:

A large proportion of children in Denmark do not meet the recommendations for PA despite the favorable investments and intensions from the government to create good facilities and promote PA.

Open access

Helena Kruusamäe, Merike Kull, Kerli Mooses, Eva-Maria Riso and Jaak Jürimäe

Background:

The 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, the first of its kind, aims to set baseline physical activity (PA) indicators using the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance grading system.

Methods:

A research work group analyzed and selected data for the grade assignment meeting (GAM). During the GAM, 17 leading researchers and policy experts from Estonia assessed the data and assigned grades for each of the 9 PA indicators. In addition, recommendations were provided for further actions to improve the grades.

Results:

Grades from A (highest) to F (lowest) were assigned as follows: 1) Overall PA (F); 2) Organized Sport (C); 3) Active Play [incomplete data (INC)]; 4) Active Transportation (INC); 5) Sedentary Behaviors (F); 6) Family and Peers (C); 7) School (C); 8) Community and the Built Environment (B); and 9) Government (C). An indicator was marked as incomplete (INC) when there was a lack of representative quality data.

Conclusions:

Evidence suggests that PA levels of Estonian children remain very low, despite moderately supportive social, environmental, and regulatory factors. There are many challenges to overcome in supporting and promoting PA of children and youth (eg, cross-sectional cooperation, implementing interventions, changing social norms, empowerment of parents and educational institutions).