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Alan Nevill, Paul Donnelly, Simon Shibli, Charlie Foster, and Marie Murphy

Background:

The association between health and deprivation is of serious concern to many health promotion agencies. The purpose of the current study was to assess whether modifiable behaviors of physical activity (PA), sports participation, diet, smoking and body mass index (BMI) can help to explain these inequalities in a sample of 4653 respondents from Northern Ireland.

Methods:

The study is based on a cross-sectional survey of Northern Irish adults. Responses to a self-rated health question were dichotomized and binary logistic regression was used to identify the health inequalities between areas of high, middle or low deprivation. These differences were further adjusted for other sociodemographic factors and subsequently for various modifiable behaviors of PA, sports participation, diet, smoking, and BMI.

Results:

Respondents from high and middle areas of deprivation are more likely to report poorer health. As soon as sociodemographic factors and other modifiable behaviors were included, these inequalities either disappeared or were greatly reduced.

Conclusion:

Many inequalities in health in NI can be explained by the respondents’ sociodemographic characteristics that can be further explained by introducing information about respondents who meet the recommended PA guidelines, play sport, eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, and maintain an optimal BMI.

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Jill Dawson, Melvyn Hillsdon, Irene Boller, and Charlie Foster

The authors investigated whether low levels of walking among older adults in the UK were associated with demographic and health characteristics, as well as perceived environmental attributes. Survey data were obtained from self-administered standard questionnaires given to 680 people age 50+ (mean age 64.4 yr) attending nationally led walking schemes. Items concerned with demographic characteristics and perceived barriers to neighborhood walking were analyzed using multiple logistic regression. Citing more than 1 environmental barrier to walking, versus not, was associated with significantly reduced levels of (leisure) walking (MET/hr) in the preceding week (Z = –2.35, p = .019), but physical activity levels overall did not differ significantly (Z = –0.71, p = .48). Citing a health-related barrier to walking significantly adversely affected overall physical activity levels (Z = –2.72, p = .006). The authors concluded that, among older people who favor walking, health problems might more seriously affect overall physical activity levels than perceived environmental barriers.

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Emmanuel Stamatakis, Kelechi Nnoaham, Charlie Foster, and Peter Scarborough

Open access

Martyn Standage, Lauren Sherar, Thomas Curran, Hannah J. Wilkie, Russell Jago, Adrian Davis, and Charlie Foster

Full access

Martyn Standage, Hannah J. Wilkie, Russell Jago, Charlie Foster, Mary A. Goad, and Sean P. Cumming

Background:

The Active Healthy Kids 2014 England Report Card aims to provide a systematic assessment of how England is performing in relation to engaging and facilitating physical activity (PA) in children and young people.

Methods:

The systematic methods and processes that underpin the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card were used and adapted. Data and evidence were consolidated, reviewed by a panel of content experts, and used to inform the assignment of letter grades (A, B, C, D, F) to 9 core indicators related to PA.

Results:

Children’s Overall Physical Activity received a grade of C/D. Active Transportation and Organized Sport Participation received grades of C and C-, respectively. The indicators of School and Community and the Built Environment were graded favorable with grades of A- and B, respectively. Active Play, Sedentary Behaviors, Family and Peers, and Government Strategies and Investments were graded as INC (incomplete) due to a lack of nationally representative data and/or as a result of data not mapping onto the benchmarks used to assign the grades.

Conclusions:

Substantial provision for PA opportunities in England exists. Yet more effort is required to maximize use of these resources to increase PA participation.

Open access

Hannah Wilkie, Martyn Standage, Lauren Sherar, Sean Cumming, Caley Parnell, Adrian Davis, Charlie Foster, and Russ Jago

Background:

Regular physical activity improves physical and mental health, yet children’s physical activity levels were low in England’s 2014 Report Card. Within this paper, we update the 2014 Report Card to assess current information for the 9 indicators of physical activity.

Methods:

A search for nationally representative data on 9 indicators of physical activity was conducted and the data were assessed by an expert panel. The panel assigned grades [ie, A, B, C, D, F, or INC (incomplete)] to each indicator based on whether children across England were achieving specific benchmarks. The 2016 Report Card was produced and disseminated.

Results:

The following grades were awarded: Overall Physical Activity Levels: D-; Organized Sport Participation: D; Active Play: INC; Active Transportation: C-; Sedentary Behaviors: INC; Family and Peers: INC; School: B+; Community and the Built Environment: B; Government Strategies and Investment: INC.

Conclusions:

The grades have not improved since the 2014 Report Card and several gaps in the literature are still present. While children’s physical activity levels remain low alongside competing sedentary choices, further national plans and investment with local actions are urgently needed to promote physical activity especially via active play, active transport, and family support.

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Charlie Foster, Melvyn Hillsdon, Andy Jones, Chris Grundy, Paul Wilkinson, Martin White, Bart Sheehan, Nick Wareham, and Margaret Thorogood

Background:

Physical activity has been positively associated with a range of objectively measured environmental variables. We explored the relationship of walking and other categories of physical activity with objectively measured activity specific environmental variables in a UK population.

Methods:

We used a geographical information system (GIS) and gender specific multivariate models to relate 13,927 participants’ reported levels of physical activity with a range of measures of the environment.

Results:

Access to green space and area levels of crime were not associated with walking for recreation. Distance to facilities had either no or only a small effect on the uptake of different activities. Odds ratios of cycling for leisure dropped as local traffic density increased for both genders. Compared with the lowest quartile for traffic density the likelihood of reporting any cycling for leisure was OR 0.42, (95% CI 0.32 to 0.52, P < .001) for women and OR 0.41, (95% CI 0.33 to 0.50, P < .001) for men in the highest quartile.

Conclusions:

We were unable to reproduce results observed in previous studies. Future research should use large representative population samples from multiple areas to maximize environmental variability and if feasible use both objective and subjective measures of physical activity and the environment.

Open access

Karen Milton, Nick Cavill, Anna Chalkley, Charlie Foster, Sjaan Gomersall, Maria Hagstromer, Paul Kelly, Tracy Kolbe-Alexander, Jacqueline Mair, Matthew McLaughlin, James Nobles, Lindsey Reece, Trevor Shilton, Ben J. Smith, and Jasper Schipperijn

Background: The International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) is a leading global organization working to advance research, policy, and practice to promote physical activity. Given the expanding evidence base on interventions to promote physical activity, it was timely to review and update a major ISPAH advocacy document—Investments that Work for Physical Activity (2011). Methods: Eight investment areas were agreed upon through consensus. Literature reviews were conducted to identify key evidence relevant to policymakers in each sector or setting. Results: The 8 investment areas were as follows: whole-of-school programs; active transport; active urban design; health care; public education; sport and recreation; workplaces; and community-wide programs. Evidence suggests that the largest population health benefit will be achieved by combining these investments and implementing a systems-based approach. Conclusions: Establishing consensus on ‘what works’ to change physical activity behavior is a cornerstone of successful advocacy, as is having appropriate resources to communicate key messages to a wide range of stakeholders. ISPAH has created a range of resources related to the new investments described in this paper. These resources are available in the ‘advocacy toolkit’ on the ISPAH website (www.ispah.org/resources).