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Alison Carver, Anna Timperio and David Crawford

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine associations between perceptions of neighborhood safety and physical activity among youth.

Methods:

We completed a cross-sectional study of children age 8 to 9 years (n = 188) and adolescents age 13 to 15 years (n = 346) in areas of varying socioeconomic status in Melbourne, Australia. Parents and adolescents completed questionnaires on perceptions of neighborhood safety. Scores were computed for perceptions of road safety, incivilities, and personal safety of the child or adolescent. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) before or after school, on evenings, and on weekends was recorded using accelerometers.

Results:

There were no associations between parental perceptions of neighborhood safety and children’s MVPA outside school hours. Parental perception of personal safety was positively associated with adolescent boys’ MVPA after school. Adolescent girls’ concern about road safety was negatively associated with their MVPA during evenings and outside school hours.

Conclusion:

Perceptions of neighborhood safety might influence physical activity among youth in different ways according to age group and sex.

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Joanna Granich, Michael Rosenberg, Matthew W. Knuiman and Anna Timperio

Background:

Individual, home social and physical environment correlates of electronic media (EM) use among children were examined and pattern of differences on school and weekend days.

Methods:

Youth (n = 298) aged 11 to 12 years self-reported time spent using EM (TV, video/DVD, computer use, and electronic games) on a typical school and a weekend day, each dichotomized at the median to indicate heavy and light EM users. Anthropometric measurements were taken. Logistic regression examined correlates of EM use.

Results:

In total, 87% of participants exceeded electronic media use recommendations of ≤ 2 hrs/day. Watching TV during breakfast (OR = 3.17) and after school (OR = 2.07), watching TV with mother (OR = 1.96), no rule(s) limiting time for computer game usage (OR = 2.30), having multiple (OR = 2.99) EM devices in the bedroom and BMI (OR = 1.15) were associated with higher odds of being heavy EM user on a school day. Boys (OR = 2.35) and participants who usually watched TV at midday (OR = 2.91) and late at night (OR = 2.04) had higher odds of being a heavy EM user on the weekend.

Conclusions:

Efforts to modify children’s EM use should focus on a mix of intervention strategies that address patterns and reinforcement of TV viewing, household rules limiting screen time, and the presence of EM devices in the child’s bedroom.

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Trina Hinkley, Anna Timperio, Jo Salmon and Kylie Hesketh

Background:

Little is known about the associations of preschoolers’ health behaviors with their later psychosocial wellbeing. This study investigates the association of 3- to 5-year-old children’s physical activity and electronic media use with their later social-emotional skills (6-8 years).

Methods:

Data were collected in 2008–2009 and 2011–2012 for the Healthy Active Preschool and Primary Years (HAPPY) Study in metropolitan Melbourne. Participants were a random subsample (n = 108) of the 567 children at follow-up. Physical activity was objectively measured using ActiGraph GT1M accelerometers; electronic media use (television viewing, sedentary electronic games and active electronic games) was parent proxy-reported. Social and emotional skills were child-reported using the Bar-On Emotional Quotient Inventory—Youth Version. Regression analyses controlled for sex, clustering by center of recruitment, and accelerometer wear time (for physical activity analyses).

Results:

Sedentary electronic games were positively associated with intrapersonal and stress management skills and total emotional quotient. Computer/internet use was inversely associated with interpersonal, and positively associated with stress management, skills.

Conclusions:

Findings suggest that physical activity is not associated with children’s psychosocial health while some types of electronic media use are. Future research should investigate the contexts in which preschoolers participate in these behaviors and potential causal mechanisms of associations.

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Amanda Telford, Jo Salmon, Anna Timperio and David Crawford

The aim of this study was to describe the type, frequency, duration, and intensity of children’s physical activity and to examine differences by sex, age, and SES. Participants consisted of 5- to 6-year-old (n = 291) and 10- to 12-year-old (n = 919) children and their parents taking part in the Children’s Leisure Activities Study (CLASS). Parents completed proxy questionnaires about their child’s activity, and all children wore an accelerometer for 8 days. Accelerometry data showed that younger children accumulated approximately 4 hrs of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) per day, and older children accumulated approximately 2 hrs per day. Fewer than three- quarters of 10- to 12-year-old boys and less than half of 10- to 12-year-old girls recorded 120 min of MVPA per day. Significant differences in the number of activities, as well as the type and frequency of activities performed, were observed by age and sex. The findings indicate that physical activities that appeal to older girls, such as lifestyle, noncompetitive activities, should be considered in the development of physical activity promotion strategies.

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Jan M. Moore, Anna F. Timperio, David A. Crawford, Cate M. Burns and David Cameron-Smith

Jockeys are required to maintain very low body weight and precise weight control during competition. This study examined the weight loss and weight management strategies of professional horseracing jockeys in the state of Victoria, Australia. An anonymous, self-completed questionnaire was administered (55% response rate, n=116). Almost half (43%) reported that maintaining riding weight was difficult or very difficult, with 75% routinely skipping meals. In preparation for racing, 60% reported that they typically required additional weight loss, with 81% restricting food intake in the 24 hours prior to racing. Additionally, sauna-induced sweating (29%) and diuretics (22%) were frequently employed to further aid in weight loss prior to racing. These rapid weight loss methods did not differ between the 51% of jockeys who followed a weight management plan compared to those who did not. The impact of these extreme weight loss practices on riding performance and health remains unknown.

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Gavin Abbott, Jill Hnatiuk, Anna Timperio, Jo Salmon, Keren Best and Kylie D. Hesketh

Background:

Parental modeling has been shown to be important for school-aged children’s physical activity (PA) and television (TV) viewing, yet little is known about its impact for younger children. This study examined cross-sectional and 3-year longitudinal associations between PA and TV viewing behaviors of parents and their preschool children.

Methods:

In 2008–2009 (T1), parents in the Healthy Active Preschool and Primary Years (HAPPY) cohort study (n = 450) in Melbourne, Australia, self-reported their weekly PA and TV viewing and proxy-reported their partner’s PA and TV viewing and their 3- to 5-year-old preschool child’s TV viewing. Children’s PA was assessed via accelerometers. Repeat data collection occurred in 2011–2012 (T2).

Results:

Mothers’ and fathers’ PAs were associated with PA among preschool girls at T1, but not boys. Parents’ TV viewing times were significant correlates of girls’ and boys’ TV viewing at T1. Longitudinally, mothers’ PA at baseline predicted boys’ PA at T2, whereas sex-specific associations were found for TV viewing, with mothers’ and fathers’ TV viewing at T1 associated with girls’ and boys’ TV viewing respectively at T2.

Conclusions:

The PA and TV viewing of both parents are significantly associated with these behaviors in preschool children. The influence of the sex-matched parent appears to be important longitudinally for children’s TV viewing.

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Lisa M. Barnett, David R. Lubans, Anna Timperio, Jo Salmon and Nicola D. Ridgers

This study aimed to examine the contribution of objective measures of physical fitness (musculoskeletal and cardiorespiratory), physical activity, and motor skill to motor perception. A total of 122 children (63 boys) aged 8–11 years were assessed. Independent t-tests assessed sex differences in all variables. Two linear mixed models adjusted for sex and age were performed with perceived object control and locomotor skills (Pictorial Scale of the Perceived Movement Skill Competence for Young Children) as outcomes. Aerobic (multi-stage fitness test) and muscular fitness (long jump, grip strength), moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (ActiGraph accelerometry), movement skill (Test of Gross Motor Development-2), age, and sex were predictors. Boys had higher object control skills (actual and perceived) and fitness. Age (decreasing) and long jump distance (positive) explained 16% of locomotor skill perception variance. Sex (boys) explained 13% of object control skill perception variance. Children’s skill self-perception may be influenced by fitness attributes as these are more evident to them. The fact that girls have lower actual object control competence and fitness than boys suggests girls may be an intervention target.

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Nicola D. Ridgers, Karen E. Lamb, Anna Timperio, Helen Brown and Jo Salmon

Background: Little is known about whether physical activity compensation occurs. This study experimentally explored the activitystat hypothesis by investigating children’s short-term responses to imposed or restricted physical activity. Methods: A total of 156 children (46 boys; mean age = 11.3 y) from 9 schools wore an ActiGraph accelerometer for 5 days (Monday–Friday) across 2 consecutive weeks. In addition, 145 children (49% boys) simultaneously wore a SenseWear Armband. Schools were randomized to participate in 1 of the 3 experimental conditions that took place on 1 occasion: additional moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (3 schools), additional light-intensity physical activity (3 schools), or restriction of light-intensity physical activity and moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (3 schools). Multilevel linear regression models were conducted to examine associations between the day the condition took place and the following day and week (baseline and experiment) for each condition. Results: There was no evidence of a difference between children’s activity levels on the day after the experiment condition compared with their usual activity for that day. Conclusion: The findings suggest that children do not compensate their sedentary time and/or physical activity levels following imposed or restricted physical activity in the short term.

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Kylie Ball, Verity J. Cleland, Anna F. Timperio, Jo Salmon and David A. Crawford

Background:

This study aimed to examine cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between socioeconomic position (SEP) and physical activity and sedentary behaviors among children and adolescents.

Methods:

Maternal education was reported by parents of 184 children 5 to 6 years old and 358 children 10 to 12 years old in 2001. In 2001 and 2004, physical activity was assessed by accelerometry. Older children self-reported and parents of younger children proxy-reported physical activity and TV-viewing behaviors. Linear regression was used to predict physical activity and sedentary behaviors, and changes in these behaviors, from maternal education.

Results:

Among all children, accelerometer-determined and self- or parent-reported moderate and vigorous physical activity declined over 3 years. Girls of higher SEP demonstrated greater decreases in TV-viewing behaviors than those of low SEP. In general, no prospective associations were evident between SEP and objectively assessed physical activity. A small number of prospective associations were noted between SEP and self-reported physical activity, but these were generally weak and inconsistent in direction.

Conclusions:

This study did not find strong evidence that maternal education was cross-sectionally or longitudinally predictive of children’s physical activity or sedentary behaviors. Given the well-documented inverse relationship of SEP with physical activity levels in adult samples, the findings suggest that such disparities might emerge after adolescence.

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Clare Hume, Anna Timperio, Jenny Veitch, Jo Salmon, David Crawford and Kylie Ball

Background:

This study examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between physical activity, sedentary behavior, and depressive symptoms among adolescents.

Methods:

Participants were 155 adolescents (14.4 years ± 0.61) in 2004 (40% boys). Data collection occurred in 2004 and again in 2006. At both time points, participants completed the Centers for Epidemiological Studies Depression Scale for Children (CES-DC), from which they were classified as having depressive symptoms (≥15) or not (<15). Organized sport and TV viewing were self-reported and moderate-to-vigorous (MVPA) and vigorous (VPA) physical activity and sedentary time were objectively measured. Logistic and linear regression analyses examined cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between MVPA, VPA, organized sport, TV viewing, sedentary time, and symptoms of depression.

Results:

There were no cross-sectional or longitudinal associations between MVPA, VPA, organized sport, sedentary time, and symptoms of depression among boys or girls. However, having symptoms of depression in 2004 did predict higher TV viewing among adolescent girls in 2006 (approximately 168 minutes/week more TV viewing; P ≤ .001).

Conclusions:

MVPA, VPA, organized sport and objectively-measured sedentary time appeared unrelated to depressive symptoms in this sample, but depressive symptoms predicted increased TV viewing over time among adolescent girls. Further research is required to determine the clinical relevance of this finding.