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  • Author: Thomas L. McKenzie x
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Deborah Cohen, Molly Scott, Frank Zhen Wang, Thomas L. McKenzie and Dwayne Porter

Building design and grounds might contribute to physical activity, and youth spend much of their daylight hours at school. We examined the associations among school building footprints, the size of school grounds, and in-school physical activity of 1566 sixth-grade girls from medium to large middle schools enrolled in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG). The school building footprint and the number of active outdoor amenities were associated with physical activity among adolescent girls. On average, the school footprint size accounted for 4% of all light physical activity and 16% of all MET-weight moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MW-MVPA) during school hours. Active outdoor amenities accounted for 29% of all MW-MVPA during school. School design appears to be associated with physical activity, but it is likely that programming (eg, physical education, intramurals, club sports), social factors, and school siting are more important determinants of total physical activity.

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Cindy H.P. Sit, Thomas L. McKenzie, John M.G. Lian and Alison McManus

This study compared physical education (PE) and recess in two markedly different special schools for children with mild intellectual disabilities; one school had a reputation for focusing on sports (High Sport Focus-HSF) and the other did not (Low Sport Focus-LSF). Data were collected in 24 PE classes and 48 recess periods using a validated observation system. During both PE and recess, HSF students engaged in physical activity (PA) at greater intensity levels, but LSF students accrued more total activity min. Differences in PA during PE between the schools were associated with both lesson context and teacher behavior. The results suggest written (e.g., scheduling) and unwritten policies within schools affect children’s activity levels.

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Charles F. Morgan, Thomas L. McKenzie, James F. Sallis, Shelia L. Broyles, Michelle M. Zive and Philip R. Nader

We examined associations of demographic/biological, psychological, social, and environmental variables with two different measures (self-reported and accelerometer) of physical activity (PA) in Mexican-American (56 boys; 64 girls) and European-American (49 boys; 45 girls) children (mean age = 12.1 years). Among 32 potential correlates, 4 gender and 16 ethnic differences were found. Percent of variance explained from 3% to 24% for self-reported PA and from 7% to 16% for accelerometer-measured PA. Physical self-perception was the only variable with a significant association across all subgroups and both measures. Less favorable levels of psychosocial variables among Mexican-Americans may explain ethnic differences in PA.

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Deborah A. Cohen, Claude Setodji, Kelly R. Evenson, Phillip Ward, Sandra Lapham, Amy Hillier and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

The Systematic Observation of Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) was designed to estimate the number and characteristics of people using neighborhood parks by assessing them 4 times/day, 7 days/week. We tested whether this schedule was adequate and determined the minimum number of observations necessary to provide a robust estimate of park user characteristics and their physical activity levels.

Methods:

We conducted observations every hour for 14 hours per day during 1 summer and 1 autumn week in 10 urban neighborhood parks: 2 each in Los Angeles, CA; Albuquerque, NM; Columbus, OH; Durham, NC; and Philadelphia, PA. We counted park users by gender, age group, apparent race/ethnicity, and activity level. We used a standardized Cronbach’s alpha and intraclass correlation coefficients to test the reliability of using fewer observations.

Results:

We observed 76,632 individuals, an average of 547/park/day (range 155−786). Interobserver reliability ranged from 0.80 to 0.99. Obtaining a robust estimate of park user characteristics and their physical activity required a schedule of 4 days/week, 4 times/day.

Conclusion:

An abbreviated schedule of SOPARC was sufficient for estimating park use, park user characteristics, and physical activity. Applying these observation methods can augment physical activity surveillance.

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Monica A.F. Lounsbery, Thomas L. McKenzie, James R. Morrow Jr., Kathryn A. Holt and Ronald G. Budnar

Background:

Physical activity (PA) levels in schools vary widely, and there is interest in studying how student PA accrual relates to school policy and environmental conditions. School PA policy research, however, is in its infancy and generalizable measurement tools do not exist. We developed and assessed reliability of items on the School Physical Activity Policy Assessment (S-PAPA), an instrument designed to assess school PA policy related to physical education (PE), recess, and other opportunities.

Methods:

To develop items, we perused associated literature, examined existing instruments, and consulted school policy makers. For test-retest reliability assessment, 31 elementary school PE teachers completed the survey twice, 14 days apart.

Results:

S-PAPA uses open-ended, dichotomous, multichotomous, and checklist formatting and has 3 modules: 1) Physical Education (47 items), 2) Recess (27 items), and 3) Other Before, During, and After School Programs (15 items). Responses to more than 95% of items were highly related between Times 1 and 2. Generally, physical education and recess items had fair to substantial levels of agreement, and items about other school PA programs had fair to perfect agreement.

Conclusions:

Test-retest results suggest S-PAPA items are reliable and useful in assessing PA policies in elementary schools.

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Deborah A. Cohen, Bing Han, Jennifer Isacoff, Bianca Shulaker, Stephanie Williamson, Terry Marsh, Thomas L. McKenzie, Megan Weir and Rajiv Bhatia

Background:

Given the concerns about low rates of physical activity among low-income minority youth, many communitybased organizations are investing in the creation or renovation of public parks to encourage youth to become more physically active. To what degree park renovations accomplish this goal is not known.

Methods:

We used the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC) to measure park users and their physical activity levels before and after 2 parks were renovated. We compared findings with 4 parks: 2 that were unrenovated parks and 2 that were undergoing renovation. We also surveyed park users and local residents about their use of the parks.

Results:

Compared with parks that had not yet been renovated, the improved parks saw more than a doubling in the number of visitors and a substantial increase in energy expended in the parks. Increased park use was pronounced in adults and children, but was not seen in teens and seniors. Park renovations were associated with a significantly increased perception of park safety.

Conclusions:

Park improvements can have a significant impact on increasing park use and local physical activity.

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Thomas L. McKenzie, Barbara Baquero, Noe C. Crespo, Elva M. Arredondo, Nadia R. Campbell and John P. Elder

Background:

Understanding home environments might shed light on factors contributing to reduced physical activity (PA) in children, particularly minorities. Few studies have used microlevel observations to simultaneously assess children’s PA and associated conditions in homes.

Methods:

Trained observers assessed PA and associated physical and social environmental variables in the homes of 139 Mexican American children (69 boys, 70 girls; mean age = 6 years) after school.

Results:

Children spent most time indoors (77%) and being sedentary (74%). Reduced PA was associated with viewing media, being indoors, and parents being present. Increased PA was associated with prompts for PA and other children being present. PA prompts differed by child gender and location and prompter age status.

Conclusions:

Children are frequently sedentary at home. Microlevel observations showed PA is associated with potentially modifiable social and physical factors, including spending time outdoors. Studies to determine whether interventions on these correlates can improve children’s PA are needed.

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Lilian G. Perez, Elva M. Arredondo, Thomas L. McKenzie, Margarita Holguin, John P. Elder and Guadalupe X. Ayala

Background:

Greater neighborhood social cohesion is linked to fewer depressive symptoms and greater physical activity, but the role of physical activity on the relationship between neighborhood social cohesion and depression is poorly understood. The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of physical activity on the association between neighborhood social cohesion and depressive symptoms.

Methods:

Multivariate logistic regression tested the moderation of self-reported leisure-time moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (LTMVPA) and active use of parks or recreational facilities on the association between neighborhood social cohesion and depressive symptoms among 295 randomly selected Latino adults who completed a face-to-face interview.

Results:

After adjusting for age, gender, and income, neighborhood social cohesion and depressive symptoms were inversely related (OR = 0.8; 95% CI: 0.5–1.2). Active use of parks or recreational facilities moderated the association between neighborhood social cohesion and depressive symptoms but meeting the recommendations for LTMVPA did not. Latinos who reported active use of parks or recreational facilities and higher levels of neighborhood social cohesion had fewer depressive symptoms than peers who did not use these spaces.

Conclusions:

Future studies are needed to test strategies for promoting active use of parks or recreational facilities to address depression in Latinos.

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James F. Sallis, Thomas L. McKenzie, John P. Elder, Patricia L. Hoy, Todd Galati, Charles C. Berry, Michelle M. Zive and Philip R. Nader

Previous studies have not used both self-report and objective measures to assess sex and ethnic differences in children’s physical activity. In the present study, 187 Mexican American and Anglo American children, aged 11 to 12 years, were assessed by two 7-day physical activity recall interviews and up to 8 days of accelerometer (Caltrac) monitoring over a 6-month period. Compared to Anglo American boys, accelerometer data showed Mexican American boys, Anglo American girls, and Mexican American girls to be 95,81, and 75% as active, respectively. Activity recall data showed that, compared to Anglo American boys, Mexican American boys, Anglo American girls, and Mexican American girls were 95,95, and 90% as active, respectively. The extent of sex and ethnic differences in children’s physical activity depend on the measure used.

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JoAnn Kuo, Kathryn H. Schmitz, Kelly R. Evenson, Thomas L. McKenzie, Jared B. Jobe, Ariane L. Rung, Joel Gittelsohn and Russell R. Pate

Background:

With limited opportunities for physical activity during school hours, it is important to understand the contexts of physical activities done outside of school time. Given the importance of physical and social aspects of environments, the purpose of this study was to describe where and with whom girls participate in physical activities outside of school.

Methods:

Participants were 1925 sixth-grade girls in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG). At baseline, they completed a 3-day physical activity recall (3DPAR), reporting the main activity performed during 30-minute intervals and the physical and social contexts of physical activities.

Results:

The most frequently reported physical activities done outside of school time were house chores, walking (for transportation or exercise), dance, basketball, playing with younger children, and running or jogging. The most common location for these activities was at home or in the neighborhood. With the exception of household chores, these activities were typically done with at least one other person.

Conclusions:

Interventions that promote physical activities that can be done at or around home or developing supportive social networks for physical activity would be consistent with the current physical activity contexts of adolescent girls.