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Catherine Draper, Susan Basset, Anniza de Villiers, Estelle V. Lambert and the HAKSA Writing Group

Background:

There is current concern for the health and well-being of children and youth in South Africa, including habits of physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior. The 2014 Healthy Active Kids South Africa Report Card evaluates the current activity status of children and youth.

Methods:

The Research Working Group was comprised of 23 experts in physical education, nutrition, sport science, public health and journalism. The search was based on a systematic review of peer-reviewed literature (previous 5 years), dissertations, and nonpeer-reviewed reports (‘gray’ literature) dealing with the PA and nutritional status of South African children and youth 6−18 years of age. Key indicators were identified and data extracted. Grades for each indicator were discussed and assigned.

Results:

Overall PA levels received a D grade, as roughly 50% or more of children and youth were not meeting recommended levels. Organized sports participation fared better with a C, and government policies were promising, receiving a B. Screen time and sedentary behavior were a major concern and received a grade of F. Under- and over-weight were highlighted, but overweight is on the rise and this indicator was assigned a D grade. Most of the other indicators in South Africa remained the same or became worse so that grades declined from C- to D. In particular, sedentary behavior, soft-drink and fast food consumption, and an ineffectual regulatory environment to control advertising to children were a concern. There is need to engage parents and communities for advocacy and social mobilization.

Open access

Alison L. Innerd and Liane B. Azevedo

Background:

The aim of this study is to establish the energy expenditure (EE) of a range of child-relevant activities and to compare different methods of estimating activity MET.

Methods:

27 children (17 boys) aged 9 to 11 years participated. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 routines of 6 activities ranging from sedentary to vigorous intensity. Indirect calorimetry was used to estimate resting and physical activity EE. Activity metabolic equivalent (MET) was determined using individual resting metabolic rate (RMR), the Harrell-MET and the Schofield equation.

Results:

Activity EE ranges from 123.7± 35.7 J/min/Kg (playing cards) to 823.1 ± 177.8 J/min/kg (basketball). Individual RMR, the Harrell-MET and the Schofield equation MET prediction were relatively similar at light and moderate but not at vigorous intensity. Schofield equation provided a better comparison with the Compendium of Energy Expenditure for Youth.

Conclusion:

This information might be advantageous to support the development of a new Compendium of Energy Expenditure for Youth.

Open access

Wendy Yajun Huang, Stephen Heung-Sang Wong, Martin Chi-Sang Wong, Cindy Hui-Ping Sit, Raymond Kim-Wai Sum and Gang He

Background:

Hong Kong’s 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity (PA) for Children and Youth is the first evidence-based synthesis of various indicators related to individual behaviors that contribute to overall PA levels, settings and sources of influence, and strategies and investments in Hong Kong.

Methods:

Following a standardized protocol, currently best available data for Hong Kong youth were collated and evaluated by an expert consensus panel on 9 indicators (5 activity behaviors and 4 influences on these behaviors).

Results:

Less than half of the children and youth met the recommended PA level. As a result, a D grade was given for Overall PA levels. Organized Sport Participation and Active Transportation received grades of C- and B, respectively. Sedentary Behaviors and School scored a C grade. Community and the Built Environment scored a grade of B. Family Influence received as low a score as Overall PA (D). Active Play and Government were not graded due to incomplete data.

Conclusions:

PA levels are low and sedentary behaviors are high for children and youth in Hong Kong. Promising policies exist in schools and features of community and the built environment are favorable. Increasing family support should be emphasized for future PA promotion.

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Barbara Sternfeld and Lisa Goldman-Rosas

Context:

Numerous instruments to measure self-reported physical activity (PA) exist, but there is little guidance for determining the most appropriate choice.

Objective:

To provide a systematic framework for researchers and practitioners to select a self-reported PA instrument.

Process:

The framework consists of 2 components: a series of questions and a database of instruments. The questions encourage users to think critically about their specific needs and to appreciate the strengths and limitations of the available options. Instruments for the database were identified through existing literature and expert opinion.

Findings:

Ten questions, ranging from study aim and study design to target population and logistical consideration, guide the researcher or practitioner in defining the criteria for an appropriate PA instruments for a given situation. No one question on its own determines the optimal choice, but taken together, they narrow the potential field. The database currently includes 38 different self-reported PA instruments, characterized by 18 different parameters.

Conclusions:

The series of questions presented here, in conjunction with a searchable database of self-report PA instruments, provides a needed step toward the development of guiding principles and good practices for researchers and practitioners to follow in making an informed selection of a self-reported PA instrument.

Open access

Taru Manyanga, Daga Makaza, Carol Mahachi, Tholumusa F. Mlalazi, Vincent Masocha, Paul Makoni, Eberhard Tapera, Bhekuzulu Khumalo, Sipho H. Rutsate and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

The report card was a synthesis of the best available evidence on the performance of Zimbabwean children and youth on key physical activity (PA) indicators. The aim of this article was to summarize the results from the 2016 Zimbabwe Report Card.

Methods:

The Report Card Working Group gathered and synthesized the best available evidence, met, discussed and assigned grades to 10 indicators based on the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance global matrix grading system.

Results:

The indicators were graded as follows: overall PA (C+), organized sport participation (B), active play (D+), active transportation (A-), sedentary behaviors (B), school (D), family and peers (Incomplete), community and the built environment (F), government (D) and nongovernmental organizations (Incomplete).

Conclusions:

Although the majority of children used active transport, played organized sports and engaged in acceptable levels of PA, most of them did not meet the recommended hours of unstructured/unorganized play per day. At present, there are limited data to accurately inform the Zimbabwe Report Card therefore studies employing robust research designs with representative samples are needed. Zimbabwe also needs to prioritize policies and investments that promote greater and safe participation in PA among children and youth.

Open access

Simon J. Sebire, Mark J. Edwards, Kenneth R. Fox, Ben Davies, Kathryn Banfield, Lesley Wood and Russell Jago

The implementation, fidelity, and receipt of a self-determination-theory-based after-school physical activity intervention (Action 3:30) delivered by teaching assistants (TAs) was examined using a mixed-methods process evaluation. Physical activity motivation and need satisfaction were reported by 539 participants at baseline, the end of intervention, and 4-month follow-up. Pupil- and TA-reported autonomy-support and teaching efficacy were collected alongside interviews with 18 TAs and focus groups with 60 participants. Among intervention boys there were small increases in identified, introjected, and external motivation and no differences in need satisfaction. Among girls, intrinsic and identified motivation and autonomy and relatedness were lower in the intervention group. Qualitative evidence for fidelity was moderate, and boys reported greater need satisfaction than girls. TAs provided greater structure than involvement or autonomy-support and felt least efficacious when facing school-based challenges. The findings highlight the refinements needed to enhance theoretical fidelity and intervention effectiveness for boys and girls.

Open access

Wendy Y. Huang, Stephen H.S. Wong, Cindy H.P. Sit, Martin C.S. Wong, Raymond K.W. Sum, Sam W.S. Wong and Jane J. Yu

Introduction Insufficient physical activity among children and youth is of great concern and has been overlooked in Hong Kong. The Active Healthy Kids Hong Kong was established in 2015 to consolidate evidence-based evaluation of physical activity related indicators for children and youth in Hong

Open access

Vedrana Sember, Gregor Starc, Gregor Jurak, Mojca Golobič, Marjeta Kovač, Poljanka Pavletič Samardžija and Shawnda A. Morrison

Background:

This is the first assessment of the Republic of Slovenia’s efforts to synthesize and report physical activity (PA) standards for children and youth following the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance grading system model.

Methods:

The Republic of Slovenia Report Card relies on research findings published in peer-reviewed journals, data compiled from national databases, and government initiatives which have been monitoring physical fitness standards in schools for the past 34 years (SLOfit and ACDSi). The Report Card initiative has been jointly coordinated by the University of Primorska and the University of Ljubljana. A Research Work Group consisting of 12 representatives from various aspects of Slovenia’s public, private, and government sectors convened to evaluate evidence and assign grades for each PA indicator.

Results:

Grades (A, highest, to F, lowest; INC, incomplete) for Slovenia are as follows: Overall Physical Activity (A-), Organized Sport Participation (B-), Active Play (D), Active Transportation (C), Sedentary Behaviors (B+), Family and Peers (INC), Schools (A), Community and the Built Environment (INC), and Government (B+).

Conclusions:

This inclusive PA report indicates that overall physical activity minutes remain high in Slovenian children and youth; however, more research is needed to determine the effects of family life, peer influences, and the built environment on active play behaviors.

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Anna Goodman, James Paskins and Roger Mackett

Background:

Children in primary school are more physically active in the spring/summer. Little is known about the relative contributions of day length and weather, however, or about the underlying behavioral mediators.

Methods:

325 British children aged 8 to 11 wore accelerometers as an objective measure of physical activity, measured in terms of mean activity counts. Children simultaneously completed diaries in which we identified episodes of out-of-home play, structured sports, and active travel. Our main exposure measures were day length, temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, and wind speed.

Results:

Overall physical activity was higher on long days (≥ 14 hours daylight), but there was no difference between short (< 9.5 hours) and medium days (10.2–12.6 hours). The effect of long day length was largest between 5 PM and 8 PM, and persisted after adjusting for rainfall, cloud cover, and wind. Up to half this effect was explained by a greater duration and intensity of out-of-home play on long days; structured sports and active travel were less affected by day length.

Conclusions:

At least above a certain threshold, longer afternoon/evening daylight may have a causal role in increasing child physical activity. This strengthens the public health arguments for daylight saving measures such as those recently under consideration in Britain.

Open access

Deirdre M. Harrington, Marie Murphy, Angela Carlin, Tara Coppinger, Alan Donnelly, Kieran P. Dowd, Teresa Keating, Niamh Murphy, Elaine Murtagh, Wesley O’Brien, Catherine Woods and Sarahjane Belton

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is a key performance indicator for policy documents in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Building on baseline grades set in 2014, Ireland’s second Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth allows for continued surveillance of indicators related to PA in children and youth.

Methods:

Data and information were extracted and collated for 10 indicators and graded using an international standardized grading system.

Results:

Overall, 7 grades stayed the same, 2 increased, and 1 decreased. Grades were assigned as follows: Overall PA, D (an increase); Sedentary Behavior (TV), C-; Physical Education, D-; Active Play, Incomplete/Inconclusive (INC); Active Transportation, D; School, D (a decrease); Home (Family), INC; Community and the Built Environment, B+ (an increase); and Government, INC. Unlike 2014’s report card, different grades for the Republic (C-) and Northern Ireland (C+) were assigned for Organized Sport Participation.

Conclusions:

Although the grade for Overall PA levels increased to a D, this may reflect the increased quality and quantity of data available. The double burden of low PA and high sedentary levels are concerning and underscore the need for advocacy toward, and surveillance of, progress in achieving targets set by the new National Physical Activity Plan in the Republic and obesity and sport plans in the North.