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Jennifer L. Copeland, Kent C. Kowalski, Rachel M. Donen and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

To accommodate the need for longitudinal physical activity research, we developed the Physical Activity Questionnaire for Adults (PAQ-AD). The PAQ-AD is an adult version of the PAQ-C and PAQ-A questionnaires which were developed for older children and adolescents, respectively.

Methods:

Two studies assessed the convergent validity of the PAQ-AD using a series of self-report tools and direct measurement of physical activity.

Results:

In the first sample (N = 247), the PAQ-AD was significantly related to a series of self-report tools (r = 0.53 to 0.64). In the second sample (N = 184), the PAQ-AD was significantly related to the self-report tools (r = 0.56 to 0.63), a physical activity recall interview (r = 0.24), and to direct measurements of physical activity (r = 0.26 to 0.43).

Conclusion:

These results provide preliminary validity evidence for the PAQ-AD and suggest the PAQ “family” of questionnaires might be advantageous for longitudinal research assessing physical activity from childhood to adulthood.

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Dale W. Esliger, Jennifer L. Copeland, Joel D. Barnes and Mark S. Tremblay

The unequivocal link between physical activity and health has prompted researchers and public health officials to search for valid, reliable, and logistically feasible tools to measure and quantify free-living physical activity. Accelerometers hold promise in this regard. Recent technological advances have led to decreases in both the size and cost of accelerometers while increasing functionality (e.g., greater memory, waterproofing). A lack of common data reduction and standardized reporting procedures dramatically limit their potential, however. The purpose of this article is to expand on the utility of accelerometers for measuring free-living physical activity. A detailed example profile of physical activity is presented to highlight the potential richness of accelerometer data. Specific recommendations for optimizing and standardizing the use of accelerometer data are provided with support from specific examples. This descriptive article is intended to advance and ignite scholarly dialogue and debate regarding accelerometer data capture, reduction, analysis, and reporting.

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Lucy-Joy M. Wachira, Stella K. Muthuri, Mark S. Tremblay and Vincent O. Onywera

Background:

The report card presents available evidence on the physical activity (PA) and body weight status of Kenyan children and youth. It highlights areas where Kenya is succeeding and those in which more action is needed.

Methods:

Comprehensive review and analysis of available data on core indicators for Kenyan children and youth 5−17 years were conducted. The grading system used was based on a set of specific criteria and existing grading schemes from similar report cards in other countries.

Results:

Of the 10 core indicators discussed, body composition was favorable (grade B) while overall PA levels, organized sport participation, and active play were assigned grades of C. Active transportation and sedentary behaviors were also favorable (grade B). Family/peers, school, governmental and nongovernmental strategies were graded C.

Conclusions:

The majority of Kenyan children and youth have healthy body composition levels and acceptable sedentary time, but are not doing as well in attaining the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation on PA. Although Kenya seems to be doing well in most indicators compared with some developed countries, there is a need for action to address existing trends toward unhealthy lifestyles. More robust and representative data for all indicators are required.

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Stella K. Muthuri, Lucy-Joy M. Wachira, Vincent O. Onywera and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

A physical activity transition to declining activity levels, even among children, now poses a serious public health concern because of its contribution to a rising prevalence of noncommunicable diseases. Childhood physical activity levels are associated with parental perceptions of the neighborhood; however, these relationships have not been explored in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The objective was to investigate relationships between parental perceptions of the neighborhood and physical activity indicators among Kenyan children.

Methods:

Data were collected from children 9 to 11 years old in Nairobi as part of the International Study of Childhood Obesity, Lifestyle and Environment. Child physical activity was assessed by accelerometry, and information on obtaining sufficient physical activity, active transport, and parental perceptions of the neighborhood collected using questionnaires.

Results:

Of 563 participating children, 45.7%, 12.6%, and 11.4% used active school transportation, met physical activity guidelines, and were sufficiently active, respectively. Parental perception of positive neighborhood social cohesion, positive environs and connectivity, and negative child safety concerns, were associated with child physical activity outcomes.

Conclusions:

Aspects of parental perceptions of the neighborhood were associated with child physical activity outcomes and should be further explored to appropriately inform policy and practice in curbing declining physical activity levels among children in SSA.

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Mark S. Tremblay, Silvia A. Gonzalez, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Vincent O. Onywera and John. J. Reilly

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Grant R. Tomkinson, Justin J. Lang, Joel Blanchard, Luc A. Léger and Mark S. Tremblay

Cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is a good summative measure of the body’s ability to perform continuous, rhythmic, dynamic, large-muscle group physical activity, and exercise. In children, CRF is meaningfully associated with health, independent of physical activity levels, and it is an important determinant of sports and athletic performance. Although gas-analyzed peak oxygen uptake is the criterion physiological measure of children’s CRF, it is not practical for population-based testing. Field testing offers a simple, cheap, practical alternative to gas analysis. The 20-m shuttle run test (20mSRT)—a progressive aerobic exercise test involving continuous running between 2 lines 20 m apart in time to audio signals—is probably the most widely used field test of CRF. This review aims to clarify the international utility of the 20mSRT by synthesizing the evidence describing measurement variability, validity, reliability, feasibility, and the interpretation of results, as well as to provide future directions for international surveillance. The authors show that the 20mSRT is an acceptable, feasible, and scalable measure of CRF and functional/exercise capacity, and that it has moderate criterion validity and high to very high reliability. The assessment is pragmatic, easily interpreted, and results are transferable to meaningful and understandable situations. The authors recommend that CRF, assessed by the 20mSRT, be considered as an international population health surveillance measure to provide additional insight into pediatric population health.

Open access

Marcella Burghard, Karlijn Knitel, Iris van Oost, Mark S. Tremblay, Tim Takken and the Dutch Physical Activity Report Card Study Group

Background:

The Active Healthy Kids the Netherlands (AHKN) Report Card consolidates and translates research and assesses how the Netherlands is being responsible in providing physical activity (PA) opportunities for children and youth (<18 years). The primary aim of this article is to summarize the results of the 2016 AHKN Report Card.

Methods:

Nine indicators were graded using the Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance report card development process, which includes a synthesis of the best available research, surveillance, policy and practice findings, and expert consensus.

Results:

Grades assigned were: Overall Physical Activity Levels, D; Organized Sport Participation, B; Active Play, B; Active Transportation, A; Sedentary Behaviors, C; Family and Peers, B; School, C; Community and the Built Environment, A; Government Strategies and Investments, INC.

Conclusions:

Sedentary behavior and overall PA levels are not meeting current guidelines. However, the Dutch youth behaviors in sports, active transportation, and active play are satisfactory. Several modifiable factors of influence might be enhanced to improve these indicators or at least prevent regression. Although Dutch children accumulate a lot of daily PA through cycling, it is not enough to meet the current national PA guidelines of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous PA per day.

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Mark S. Tremblay, Silvia A. Gonzalez, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Vincent O. Onywera, John J. Reilly and Grant Tomkinson

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Vincent Ochieng Onywera, Kristi B. Adamo, Andrew W. Sheel, Judith N. Waudo, Michael Kipsugut Boit and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

Comparable data to examine the physical activity (PA) transition in African countries such as Kenya are lacking.

Methods:

We assessed PA levels from urban (UKEN) and rural (RKEN) environments to examine any evidence of a PA transition. Nine- to twelve-year-old children participated in the study: n = 96 and n = 73 children from UKEN and RKEN, respectively. Pedometers were used to estimate children’s daily step count. Parental perception regarding their child’s PA patterns was collected via questionnaire (n = 172).

Results:

RKEN children were more physically active than their UKEN counterparts with a mean average steps per day (± SE) of 14,700 ± 521 vs. 11,717 ± 561 (P < .0001) for RKEN vs. UKEN children respectively. 62.5% of the UKEN children spent 0 hours per week playing screen games compared with 13.1% of UKEN children who spent more than 11 hours per week playing screen games. Seventy percent of UKEN and 34% of RKEN parents reported being more active during childhood than their children respectively.

Conclusions:

Results of this study are indicative of a PA transition in Kenya. Further research is needed to gather national data on the PA patterns of Kenyan children to minimize the likelihood of a public health problem due to physical inactivity.

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Julien Aucouturier, Caroline Ganière, Salomé Aubert, Fabien Riviere, Corinne Praznoczy, Anne Vuillemin, Mark S Tremblay, Martine Duclos and David Thivel

Background:

Many countries publish periodic Report Cards on physical activity for children and youth. This paper presents the results from the first French Report Card providing a systematic synthesis and assessment of the national engagements to facilitate childhood physical activity.

Methods:

A search for nationally representative data on 8 indicators of physical activity was conducted and the data were assessed by an expert panel according to international procedures. Whether children across France are achieving specific benchmarks was rated using an established grading framework [A, B, C, D, F, or INC (incomplete)]. Data were interpreted, grades assigned and detailed in the 2016 Report Card that was produced and disseminated.

Results:

The expert panel awarded the following grades: Overall Physical Activity: INC; Organized Sport Participation: D; Active Transportation: D; Sedentary Behaviors: D; Family and Peers: INC; School: B; Community and the Built Environment: INC; Government Strategies and Investment: INC.

Conclusions:

The grades reveal that efforts must be done to improve youth’s physical activity and that several gaps in the literature still need to be addressed. Collectively the results highlight that children’s physical activity levels are low and that further national supports and investments are needed to promote childhood healthy active living in France.