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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).

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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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Susan A. Carlson, Roxanna Guide, Thomas L. Schmid, Latetia V. Moore, Danielle T. Barradas and Janet E. Fulton

Background:

Street-scale urban design policies are recommended to increase physical activity in communities. Our purpose was to examine U.S. public support for local street-scale urban design features and policies.

Methods:

Analysis is based on a cross-sectional national sample of adults (n = 4682) participating in the 2006 HealthStyles mail survey.

Results:

About 57% of adults rated local street-scale urban design as highly important in determining the amount of physical activity they obtain. Adjusted odds of rating neighborhood features as having high importance were higher in people aged ≥65 years versus those <65 and minority racial/ethnic groups versus non-Hispanic whites. Two-thirds of adults were willing to take civic action to support local street-scale urban design policy. Adjusted odds of being willing to take any action versus none was higher in non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics versus non-Hispanic whites, was higher in those with household incomes ≥$60,000 versus ≤$15,000 per year, and increased as education and perceived importance of neighborhood features increased.

Conclusions:

There are high levels of public support for local street-scale urban design policies; however, demographic differences exist in the level of support. These differences are important considerations for policymakers and for those designing community programs targeting street-scale urban design features and policies.

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

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.

Open access

Anne I. Wijtzes, Maïté Verloigne, Alexandre Mouton, Marc Cloes, Karin A.A. De Ridder, Greet Cardon and Jan Seghers

Background:

This 2016 Belgium Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth is the first systematic evaluation of physical activity (PA) behaviors, related health behaviors, health outcomes, and influences thereon, using the Active Healthy Kids Canada grading framework.

Methods:

A research working group consisting of PA experts from both Flanders and Wallonia collaborated to determine the indicators to be graded, data sources to be used, and factors to be taken into account during the grading process. Grades were finalized after consensus was reached among the research working group and 2 stakeholder groups consisting of academic and policy experts in the fields of PA, sedentary behavior, and dietary behavior.

Results:

Eleven indicators were selected and assigned the following grades: Overall PA (F+), Organized Sport Participation (C-), Active Play (C+), Active Transportation (C-), Sedentary Behaviors (D-), School (B-), Government Strategies and Investment (C+), and Weight Status (D). Incomplete grades were assigned to Family and Peers, Community and the Built Environment, and Dietary Behaviors due to a lack of nationally representative data.

Conclusions:

Despite moderately positive social and environmental influences, PA levels of Belgian children and youth are low while levels of sedentary behaviors are high.

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

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.

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

Ralph Maddison, Samantha Marsh, Erica Hinckson, Scott Duncan, Sandra Mandic, Rachael Taylor and Melody Smith

Background:

In this article, we report the grades for the second New Zealand Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, which represents a synthesis of available New Zealand evidence across 9 core indicators.

Methods:

An expert panel of physical activity (PA) researchers collated and reviewed available nationally representative survey data between March and May 2016. In the absence of new data, (2014–2016) regional level data were used to inform the direction of existing grades. Grades were assigned based on the percentage of children and youth meeting each indicator: A is 81% to 100%; B is 61% to 80%; C is 41% to 60%, D is 21% to 40%; F is 0% to 20%; INC is Incomplete data.

Results:

Overall PA, Active Play, and Government Initiatives were graded B-; Community Environments was graded B; Sport Participation and School Environment received a C+; Sedentary Behaviors and Family/Peer Support were graded C; and Active Travel was graded C-.

Conclusions:

Overall PA participation was satisfactory for young children but not for youth. The grade for PA decreased slightly from the 2014 report card; however, there was an improvement in grades for built and school environments, which may support regional and national-level initiatives for promoting PA.