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Barbara E. Ainsworth

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Barbara E. Ainsworth and Steven P. Hooker

The health-enhancing benefits of regular physical activity have been theorized for thousands of years. Within the past 25 years, public health agencies, health-related organizations, and health-focused foundations have recognized regular physical activity as a major factor in preventing premature morbidity and mortality. Colleges and universities have experienced a paradigm shift in applying public health strategies to prepare graduates in understanding how to reduce the impact of sedentary lifestyles on health outcomes. For nearly 20 years, some kinesiology departments have expanded from traditional curricula to new courses and degrees in promoting physical activity in the community, the application of epidemiology concepts to physical activity, and the study of policy and environmental approaches to promoting physical activity. Given the high prevalence of physical activity insufficient to prevent premature morbidity and mortality, continuing educational efforts are needed to assure kinesiology students have the skills and information needed to promote physical activity in communities to people of all ages and abilities.

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Karla A. Henderson and Barbara E. Ainsworth

Physical activity involvement often changes as an individual gets older. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore the involvement in and meanings of physical activity from childhood to the present among a selected group of Native American women. The results showed that perceived meanings of physical activity remained relatively stable over the lives of these women. Two patterns of involvement emerged among the women: decliners and rejuvenators. The results suggested that physical activity as women aged was a result not of choice as often as of a life situation. Furthermore, the changes occurring in physical activity over the life course reflected social and cultural influences, as well as individual self-determination. The findings indicated that a variety of perspectives are needed if researchers are to understand the changes that occur in physical activity patterns and how both women and men of all ethnic groups might remain involved in physical activity throughout their lives.

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Karla A. Henderson and Barbara E. Ainsworth

Cultural influences are often important in shaping women’s approaches to healthy living (Sarto, 1998). The lives of many people of color in American society generally are associated with close family ties and community identification (Keller, 1993). If these assumptions are true, then it may be useful to understand the social dynamics that exist in the lives of African American and American Indian women to better understand health issues related to their participation, or lack of participation, in leisure and physical activities. The purpose of this analysis was to explore the meanings of social support and physical activity as expressed by older African American and American Indian women who participated in the Cultural Activity Participation Study (CAPS). We used a grounded theory approach to analyze data from in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with 56 African American and American Indian women in the United States. Based upon the analysis complex social dynamics occurred that both encouraged and inhibited women’s involvement in physical activities. It was shown that these women’s families and community relationships tended to be more important than their personal identities, and that social support systems had an influence on perceptions of, opportunities for, and involvement in leisure related physical activity.

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Barbara E. Ainsworth and Cheryl Der Ananian

There is a growing recognition of the need for the primary prevention of chronic illnesses across the lifespan. In recent years, diseases that were formerly associated with adulthood such as diabetes are being diagnosed in adolescents and young adults. While there have been many prevention efforts focusing on health in children and adolescents, there is a limited body of research examining prevention in young adults. This article examines the concept of wellness in the Millennial generation and describes how their life course experiences impact seven domains of wellness. Specifically, this article describes the period and cohort effects that influence the domains of wellness and how the Millennial generation differs from other generations in these aspects of wellness. Finally, this paper provides an overview of the technological and cultural influences on wellness in the Millennial generation.

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Virginie Nicaise, Simon Marshall and Barbara E. Ainsworth


Evidence suggests that Latina women appear to be less physically active than women of other racial/ethnic groups. This study evaluated how different domains of physical activity (PA) contributed to overall levels of PA among low-income Latinas, the validity of Latinas’ self-reported PA, and potential moderators of self-report bias in PA.


A community sample of 105 Latinas (mean age = 35.9 ± 9.0 years; mean body mass index = 31.6 ± 7.2) completed the long form Spanish-language version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ), wore an accelerometer for seven days, and completed self-reported measures of acculturation and socioeconomic status.


Ninety-six percent of IPAQ-reported moderate-intensity PA (MPA) was accrued during household activities, with only 4% accrued during leisure time. Seventy-two percent of participants met national recommendations for PA using IPAQ data, but only 20% met recommendations when measured by accelerometer. When bouts of MPA lasting >10 min were included, 0% met recommendations. Age appeared to moderate self-report bias of vigorous PA, and there were nonsignificant trends for acculturation and income to moderate MPA and vigorous-intensity PA, respectively.


Data suggest that it is important to measure household activity of Latinas, and that the IPAQ yield overestimates of self-report PA.

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Terry L. Bazzarre, Susan M. Kleiner and Barbara E. Ainsworth

This research compared nutrient intake data with blood lipids and anthropometric data. Height, weight, and seven skinfolds were collected 3 days prior to competition at the official weigh-in. The lipids measured were total cholesterol (TC), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), and the HDL2 and HDL3 cholesterol subfractions. The subjects were 17 males and 17 females. Descriptive data are presented as means and standard deviations of the means. Protein, fat, and carbohydrate provided about 40, 12, and 48%, respectively, of total energy intake; vitamin C was >200 mgfday. Only dietary fat was significantly (p < 0.05) associated with TC for females. Fiber was significantly associated with HDL-C and HDL2-C for males and with HDL-C for females. Vitamin C was significantly associated with HDL-C, HDL2-C, and HDL3-C for males, and with HDL-C and HDL3-C for females. These findings are consistent with those reported by Bazzarre et al. in farmers and suggest that vitamin C may favorably influence HDL-C metabolism.

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Alberto Flórez-Pregonero, Matthew S. Buman and Barbara E. Ainsworth

Background: Published accelerometer cut-points have limited accuracy in measuring sedentary (SED) and stationary time (STA) despite hip or wrist placement. Few studies have evaluated established cut-points to measure SED and STA in free-living settings. Methods: This study evaluated published uniaxial and triaxial cut-points of accelerometers and identified optimal cut-points to measure SED and STA. Twenty participants, ages 18–65, wore three ActiGraph GT3X+ (one on each wrist and the waist) and two GENEActiv accelerometers (one on each wrist) for one weekday and one weekend day during simultaneous direct observation of movement. ActiGraph uniaxial cut-points (50, 100, 150, and 500 counts per minute [cpm]) and GENEActiv vector magnitude cut-points (VMCP; 217 and 386 cpm) were compared against the criterion measure of direct observation. As compared to the criterion, accuracy was determined with mean percent error, Bland-Altman plots, kappa coefficient, sensitivity, and specificity. Receiver operating characteristic curves identified cut-points with greatest discrimination to detect SED and STA. Results: For the GENEActiv, the 217 VMCP was most accurate for measuring SED and STA regardless of which arm wore the monitor. The ActiGraph was most accurate worn on the right hip using 100 and 150 uniaxial cpm to measure STA and 50 cpm to measure SED. Optimal ActiGraph VMCP cut-points to classify SED and STA were ActiGraph 2,000 cpm (left-wrist) and 63 cpm (right hip), respectively. Conclusion: Accuracy of ActiGraph uniaxial cut-points and GENEActiv VMCP is limited in assessing SED in free-living settings. Newer cut-points may increase the accuracy of measuring SED and STA from monitors in free-living settings.

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Maria Hagströmer, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Lydia Kwak and Heather R. Bowles


The quality of methodological papers assessing physical activity instruments depends upon the rigor of a study’s design.


We present a checklist to assess key criteria for instrument validation studies.


A Medline/PubMed search was performed to identify guidelines for evaluating the methodological quality of instrument validation studies. Based upon the literature, a pilot version of a checklist was developed consisting of 21 items with 3 subscales: 1) quality of the reported data (9 items: assess whether the reported information is sufficient to make an unbiased assessment of the findings); 2) external validity of the results (3 items: assess the extent to which the findings are generalizable); 3) internal validity of the study (9 items: assess the rigor of the study design). The checklist was tested for interrater reliability and feasibility with 6 raters.


Raters viewed the checklist as helpful for reviewing studies. They suggested minor wording changes for 8 items to clarify intent. One item was divided into 2 items for a total of 22 items.


Checklists may be useful to assess the quality of studies designed to validate physical activity instruments. Future research should test checklist internal consistency, test-retest reliability, and criterion validity.

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Barbara E. Ainsworth, Robert G. McMurray and Susan K. Veazey

The purpose of this study was to determine the accuracy of two submaximal exercise tests, the Sitting-Chair Step Test (Smith & Gilligan. 1983) and the Modified Step Test (Amundsen, DeVahl, & Ellingham, 1989) to predict peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak) in 28 adults ages 60 to 85 years. VO2 peak was measured by indirect calorimetry during a treadmill maximal graded exercise test (VO2 peak, range 11.6–31.1 ml · kg −l · min−1). In each of the submaximal tests, VO2 was predicted by plotting stage-by-stage submaximal heart rate (HR) and perceived exertion (RPE) data against VO2 for each stage and extrapolating the data to respective age-predicted maximal HR or RPE values. In the Sitting-Chair Step Test (n = 23), no significant differences were observed between measured and predicted VO2 peak values (p > .05). However, predicted VO2 peak values from the HR were 4.3 ml · kg−1 · min−1 higher than VO2 peak values predicted from the RPE data (p < .05). In the Modified Step Test (n = 22), no significant differences were observed between measured and predicted VO2 peak values (p > .05). Predictive accuracy was modest, explaining 49–78% of the variance in VO2 peak. These data suggest that the Sitting-Chair Step Test and the Modified Step Test have moderate validity in predicting VO2 peak in older men and women.