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Akitomo Yasunaga, Yukari Kawano, Yumiko Kamahori and Kyoko Noguchi

Background:

The purpose of the current study was to examine the association between the level of exercise behavior and individual and environmental factors related to exercise behavior among female Japanese undergraduate students.

Methods:

The participants were 2482 female Japanese undergraduate students. Participants’ level of exercise behavior was measured by the stage of change to exercise in the transtheoretical model. Individual and environmental factors related to exercise behavior were assessed using body mass index, self-efficacy, social support, perceived positive and negative aspects of exercise, perceived neighborhood environment, attitude toward physical education lessons in childhood and puberty, and depression.

Results:

Scores for self-efficacy, social support, positive aspects of exercise, and perceived neighborhood environment were significantly higher among women who were more active compared with those who were inactive. On the other hand, scores for negative aspects of exercise and depression were greater among inactive women compared with those who were insufficiently active and/or active. In addition, past attitude toward exercise in primary school, junior high school, and high school was associated with current level of exercise behavior.

Conclusions:

This cross-sectional study confirmed that psychosocial and environmental factors were closely associated with level of exercise behavior among female Japanese undergraduate students.

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Akitomo Yasunaga, Fumiharu Togo, Eiji Watanabe, Hyuntae Park, Roy J. Shephard and Yukitoshi Aoyagi

We hypothesized that the health-related quality of life (HRQOL) would be poorer in physically inactive older adults. This was tested in a sample of 73 male and 108 female free-living healthy Japanese participants, age 65–85 years. We measured accelerometer step counts and their metabolic equivalents (METs) throughout each 24-hr period for 1 year. At the end of the year, HRQOL was assessed. Physical activity was grouped into quartiles. HRQOL was poorer in the lowest quartiles of participants with respect to both step count and duration of activity >3 METs; however, our sample showed no better HRQOL in those participants exceeding minimum standards of daily physical activity, corresponding to counts of around 5,500 and 4,500 steps/day and durations of around 13 and 14 min/day in men and women, respectively. Causation cannot be demonstrated from this cross-sectional study, but nevertheless we suggest that elderly individuals should be encouraged to meet such standards of habitual physical activity.

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Akitomo Yasunaga, Hyuntae Park, Eiji Watanabe, Fumiharu Togo, Sungjin Park, Roy J. Shephard and Yukitoshi Aoyagi

The Physical Activity Questionnaire for Elderly Japanese (PAQ-EJ) is a self-administered physical activity questionnaire for elderly Japanese; the authors report here on its repeatability and direct and indirect validity. Reliability was assessed by repeat administration after 1 month. Direct validation was based on accelerometer data collected every 4 s for 1 month in 147 individuals age 65–85 years. Indirect validation against a 10-item Barthel index (activities of daily living [ADL]) was completed in 3,084 individuals age 65–99 years. The test–retest coefficient was high (r = .64–.71). Total and subtotal scores for lower (transportation, housework, and labor) and higher intensity activities (exercise/sports) were significantly correlated with step counts and durations of physical activity <3 and ≥3 METs (r = .41, .28, .53), respectively. Controlling for age and ADL, scores for transportation, exercise/sports, and labor were greater in men, but women performed more housework. Sex- and ADL- or age-adjusted PAQ-EJ scores were significantly lower in older and dependent people. PAQ-EJ repeatability and validity seem comparable to those of instruments used in Western epidemiological studies.

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Akitomo Yasunaga, Fumiharu Togo, Eiji Watanabe, Hyuntae Park, Sungjin Park, Roy J. Shephard and Yukitoshi Aoyagi

The interactions of sex, age, season, and habitual physical activity were examined in 41 male and 54 female Japanese age 65–83 yr, using a pedometer/accelerometer that determined step counts and amounts of physical activity (<3 and >3 metabolic equivalents [METs]) throughout each 24-hr period for an entire year. All 3 measures were greater in men than in women. In women, age was negatively correlated with step count and activity <3 METs, but in men, it was correlated with step count and activity >3 METs. Irrespective of sex or age, all 3 activity variables were low in the winter, peaking in spring or autumn. In the summer, step counts matched the annual average, but durations of activity <3 and >3 METs were, respectively, longer and shorter than in other seasons. These findings have practical implications for those promoting physical activity for older adults.