COVID-19 and Physical Activity: How Can We Build Back Better?
Catherine E. Draper, Karen Milton, and Jasper Schipperijn
A Retrospective Evaluation of a Community-Based Physical Activity Health Promotion Program
Catherine E. Draper, Tracy L. Kolbe-Alexander, and Estelle V. Lambert
The Community Health Intervention Programmes (CHIPs) is a physical activity-based health promotion program operating in disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape, South Africa with primary school learners, adults and senior adults. Program growth, anecdotal evidence and experience of those involved suggest the program has been positively received by communities. The aim of this study was to conduct a qualitative, retrospective process evaluation concerning both factors associated with successful implementation of the programs, and implementation challenges.
‘Success’ was defined in consultation with CHIPs staff and stakeholders. Data were gathered through naturalistic observation, structured interviews and focus groups (n = 104), and open-ended questionnaires (n = 81). The sample included CHIPs staff and stakeholders, program members and leaders.
Factors contributing to the program’s success include: focus on combining social development and exercise science, community development model, scientifically sound program content, appropriate activities, intrapersonal and interpersonal factors, program leadership, encouraging staff, and various contextual factors.
The findings confirm that CHIPs presents a model of sustainable implementation of physical activity in disadvantaged communities, and that it positively impacts the quality of life, perceptions of the role of physical activity in health, and personal responsibility for health of those involved in its programs.
Perceptions of the South African 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Birth to 5 Years: A Qualitative Study
Catherine E. Draper, Takana M. Silubonde, Gudani Mukoma, and Esther M.F. van Sluijs
Background: South Africa launched 24-hour movement guidelines for birth to 5 years in 2018. Perceptions of these guidelines were assessed as part of the dissemination process with community-based organizations in 2019. Methods: Fifteen dissemination workshops were held with community-based organization representatives and a range of stakeholders. Discussions were held with workshop attendees (n = 281) to obtain qualitative feedback on the guidelines and workshop. Six follow-up focus groups (n = 28) were conducted to obtain additional feedback on the guidelines and their dissemination. Discussions and focus groups were thematically analyzed. Results: Participants recognized the importance of the guidelines for the health and development of young South African children. Participants’ perceptions of the guidelines were consistently positive. The participants acknowledged the alignment of the guidelines with other South African programs and initiatives, and that they addressed gaps. Screen time and sleep were identified as the behaviors needing particular attention among young South African children. The negative impact of COVID-19 on young children’s movement behaviors was acknowledged, especially regarding screen time. Conclusion: These findings provide evidence of stakeholders’ positive perceptions of the South African guidelines and support the dissemination and implementation of these guidelines for the promotion of early childhood health and development in South Africa.
The (Possibly Negative) Effects of Physical Activity on Executive Functions: Implications of the Changing Metabolic Costs of Brain Development
Steven J. Howard, Caylee J. Cook, Rihlat Said-Mohamed, Shane A. Norris, and Catherine E. Draper
An area of growth in physical activity research has involved investigating effects of physical activity on children’s executive functions. Many of these efforts seek to increase the energy expenditure of young children as a healthy and low-cost way to affect physical, health, and cognitive outcomes.
We review theory and research from neuroscience and evolutionary biology, which suggest that interventions seeking to increase the energy expenditure of young children must also consider the energetic trade-offs that occur to accommodate changing metabolic costs of brain development.
According to Life History Theory, and supported by recent evidence, the high relative energy-cost of early brain development requires that other energy-demanding functions of development (ie, physical growth, activity) be curtailed. This is important for interventions seeking to dramatically increase the energy expenditure of young children who have little excess energy available, with potentially negative cognitive consequences. Less energy-demanding physical activities, in contrast, may yield psychosocial and cognitive benefits while not overburdening an underweight child’s already scarce energy supply.
While further research is required to establish the extent to which increases in energy-demanding physical activities may compromise or displace energy available for brain development, we argue that action cannot await these findings.
Body Mass Index, Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, Sleep, and Gross Motor Skill Proficiency in Preschool Children From a Low- to Middle-Income Urban Setting
Simone A. Tomaz, Alessandra Prioreschi, Estelle D. Watson, Joanne A. McVeigh, Dale E. Rae, Rachel A. Jones, and Catherine E. Draper
Background: Limited research reports on the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior (SB), sleep, and gross motor skills (GMS) in low- and middle-income countries. The aim of this study was to (1) describe BMI, PA, SB, sleep duration, and GMS proficiency in South African preschool children and (2) identify relationships between variables. Methods: BMI, including z scores for height, weight, and BMI were determined. Seven-day PA, SB, and sleep were measured using accelerometry. GMS were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development (second edition). Associations were explored by comparing sleep, PA, SB, and GMS between BMI tertiles using the Kruskal–Wallis test. Results: Most (86%) children (n = 78, 50% boys) had a healthy BMI (15.7 [1.3] kg/m2). Children spent 560.5 (52.9) minutes per day in light- to vigorous-intensity PA and 90.9 (30.0) minutes per day in moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA; most (83%) met the current PA guideline. Nocturnal sleep duration was low (9.28 [0.80] h/d). Although daytime naps increased 24-hour sleep duration (10.17 [0.71] h/d), 38% were classified as short sleepers. Around half (54.9%) of participants complied with both PA and sleep guidelines. No associations between variables were found. Conclusion: Despite being lean, sufficiently active, and having adequate GMS, many children were short sleepers, highlighting a possible area for intervention.
GRADE-ADOLOPMENT Process to Develop 24-Hour Movement Behavior Recommendations and Physical Activity Guidelines for the Under 5s in the United Kingdom, 2019
John J. Reilly, Adrienne R. Hughes, Xanne Janssen, Kathryn R. Hesketh, Sonia Livingstone, Catherine Hill, Ruth Kipping, Catherine E. Draper, Anthony D. Okely, and Anne Martin
Background: This article summarizes the approach taken to develop UK Chief Medical Officers’ physical activity guidelines for the Under 5s, 2019. Methods: The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE)-Adaptation, Adoption, De Novo Development (ADOLOPMENT) approach was used, based on the guidelines from Canada and Australia, with evidence updated to February 2018. Recommendations were based on the associations between (1) time spent in sleep, sedentary time, physical activity, and 10 health outcomes and (2) time spent in physical activity and sedentary behavior on sleep outcomes (duration and latency). Results: For many outcomes, more time spent in physical activity and sleep (up to a point) was beneficial, as was less time spent in sedentary behavior. The authors present, for the first time, evidence in GRADE format on behavior type–outcome associations for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Stakeholders supported all recommendations, but recommendations on sleep and screen time were not accepted by the Chief Medical Officers; UK guidelines will refer only to physical activity. Conclusions: This is the first European use of GRADE-ADOLOPMENT to develop physical activity guidelines. The process is robust, rapid, and inexpensive, but the UK experience illustrates a number of challenges that should help development of physical activity guidelines in future.
The South African 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Birth to 5 Years: Results From the Stakeholder Consultation
Simone A. Tomaz, Anthony D. Okely, Alastair van Heerden, Khanya Vilakazi, Marie-Louise Samuels, and Catherine E. Draper
Background: In 2018, South Africa developed 24-hour movement behavior guidelines for children from birth to 5 years. This study reports on the stakeholder consultation as part of this development process. Methods: An online survey was completed by 197 participants; 9 focus groups (with parents/caregivers, early childhood development practitioners, and community health workers, total n = 70) were conducted, and a meeting with stakeholders from government and nongovernment organizations (n = 15) was held. Results: In the online survey, stakeholders overwhelmingly agreed with the guidelines (97.0%) and recognized the benefit of putting the guidelines into practice (88.8%). Most online survey respondents (88.3%) reported that the guidelines would benefit all South African children equally. Responses to open-ended questions in the online survey and focus group discussions revealed issues including safety and nutrition of children, perceived parental barriers to using the guidelines, and education. Training and provision of educational materials were identified from all stakeholders as key in the dissemination and implementation of the guidelines. Conclusions: The findings informed the development of the South African 24-hour movement behavior guidelines and revealed several important factors to address in the dissemination and implementation of the guidelines to ensure that they are applicable and equitable in South Africa.
Results From South Africa’s 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth
Monika Uys, Susan Bassett, Catherine E. Draper, Lisa Micklesfield, Andries Monyeki, Anniza de Villiers, Estelle V. Lambert, and the HAKSA 2016 Writing Group
We present results of the 2016 Healthy Active Kids South Africa (HAKSA) Report Card on the current status of physical activity (PA) and nutrition in South African youth. The context in which we interpret the findings is that participation in PA is a fundamental human right, along with the right to “attainment of the highest standard of health.”
The HAKSA 2016 Writing Group was comprised of 33 authorities in physical education, exercise science, nutrition, public health, and journalism. The search strategy was based on peer-reviewed manuscripts, dissertations, and ‘gray’ literature. The core PA indicators are Overall Physical Activity Level; Organized Sport Participation; Active and Outdoor Play; Active Transportation; Sedentary Behaviors; Family and Peer Influences; School; Community and the Built Environment; and National Government Policy, Strategies, and Investment. In addition, we reported on Physical Fitness and Motor Proficiency separately. We also reported on nutrition indicators including Overweight and Under-nutrition along with certain key behaviors such as Fruit and Vegetable Intake, and policies and programs including School Nutrition Programs and Tuck Shops. Data were extracted and grades assigned after consensus was reached. Grades were assigned to each indicator ranging from an A, succeeding with a large majority of children and youth (81% to 100%); B, succeeding with well over half of children and youth (61% to 80%); C, succeeding with about half of children and youth (41% to 60%); D, succeeding with less than half but some children and youth (21% to 40%); and F, succeeding with very few children and youth (0% to 20%); INC is inconclusive.
Overall PA levels received a C grade, as we are succeeding with more than 50% of children meeting recommendations. Organized Sports Participation also received a C, and Government Policies remain promising, receiving a B. Screen time and sedentary behavior were a major concern. Under- and over-weight were highlighted and, as overweight is on the rise, received a D grade.
In particular, issues of food security, obesogenic environments, and access to activity-supportive environments should guide social mobilization downstream and policy upstream. There is an urgent need for practice-based evidence based on evaluation of existing, scaled up interventions.
Objectively Measured Physical Activity in South African Children Attending Preschool and Grade R: Volume, Patterns, and Meeting Guidelines
Simone A. Tomaz, Trina Hinkley, Rachel A. Jones, Rhian Twine, Kathleen Kahn, Shane A. Norris, and Catherine E. Draper
Purpose: To assess physical activity (PA) and determine the proportion of preschoolers meeting PA recommendations in different income settings in South Africa. Methods: Preschoolers from urban high-income (UH), urban low-income (UL), and rural low-income (RL) settings wore an ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometer for 7 days. PA variables of interest included volume moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA (MVPA) and total PA (light- to vigorous-intensity PA), hourly PA patterns, and percentage of children meeting guidelines (180 min/d of total PA, inclusive of 60 min/d of MVPA). Between-sex differences were assessed using t tests and Mann–Whitney U tests; between-setting differences assessed using 1-way analyses of variance and Kruskal–Wallis tests. Results: For all children (n = 229, aged 5.17 [0.69] y), average MVPA was 124.4 (37.5) minutes per day and total PA was 457.0 (61.1) minutes per day; 96.9% of children met guidelines. Boys did significantly more MVPA than girls (136.7 [39.37] vs 111.5 [30.70] min/d, P < .001), and UH preschoolers were significantly less active than UL and RL preschoolers (UH 409.1 [48.4] vs UL 471.1 [55.6] and RL 461.6 [61.4], P < .001). Conclusion: In both practice and research, it is necessary to explore ways to ensure that South African preschoolers from all income settings continue to engage in and benefit from healthy volumes of PA. This is especially important as preschoolers transition to a formal school environment.
Indicators of Physical Activity Among Children and Youth in 9 Countries With Low to Medium Human Development Indices: A Global Matrix 3.0 Paper
Taru Manyanga, Joel D. Barnes, Chalchisa Abdeta, Ade F. Adeniyi, Jasmin Bhawra, Catherine E. Draper, Tarun R. Katapally, Asaduzzaman Khan, Estelle Lambert, Daga Makaza, Vida K. Nyawornota, Reginald Ocansey, Narayan Subedi, Riaz Uddin, Dawn Tladi, and Mark S. Tremblay
Background: This study compares results of physical activity report cards from 9 countries with low to medium human development indices, participating in the Global Matrix 3.0 initiative. Methods: Country-specific report cards were informed by relevant data and government policy documents, reporting on 10 core indicators of physical activity for children and youth. Data were synthesized by report card working groups following a harmonized process. Grade assignments for each indicator utilized a standard grading rubric. Indicators were grouped into one of 2 categories: daily behaviors and settings and sources of influence. Descriptive statistics (average grades) were computed after letter grades were converted into interval variables. Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients were calculated for all correlation analyses. Results: Mean grades for daily behaviors were higher (C) than those for settings and sources of influence (D+). Twenty-nine out of the possible 90 grades were assigned an incomplete. There were moderate to strong positive and negative relationships between different global indices and overall physical activity, organized sport and physical activity, active play, family, community and environment, and government. Conclusions: Findings demonstrate an urgent need for high-quality data at the country level in order to better characterize the physical activity levels of children and youth in countries with low to medium human development indices.