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Nicholas Riley, David R. Lubans, Kathryn Holmes, and Philip J Morgan

Background:

To evaluate the impact of a primary school-based physical activity (PA) integration program delivered by teachers on objectively measured PA and key educational outcomes.

Methods:

Ten classes from 8 Australian public schools were randomly allocated to treatment conditions. Teachers from the intervention group were taught to embed movement-based learning in their students’ (n = 142) daily mathematics program in 3 lessons per week for 6 weeks. The control group (n = 98) continued its regular mathematics program. The primary outcome was accelerometer-determined PA across the school day. Linear mixed models were used to analyze treatment effects.

Results:

Significant intervention effects were found for PA across the school day (adjusted mean difference 103 counts per minute [CPM], 95% confidence interval [CI], 36.5–169.7, P = .008). Intervention effects were also found for PA (168 CPM, 95% CI, 90.1–247.4, P = .008) and moderate-to-vigorous PA (2.6%, 95% CI, 0.9–4.4, P = .009) in mathematics lessons, sedentary time across the school day (–3.5%, 95% CI, –7.0 to –0.13, P = .044) and during mathematics (–8.2%, CI, –13.0 to –2.0, P = .010) and on-task behavior (13.8%, 95% CI, 4.0–23.6, P = .011)—but not for mathematics performance or attitude.

Conclusion:

Integrating movement across the primary mathematics syllabus is feasible and efficacious.

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David R. Lubans, Chris M. Mundey, Nicole J. Lubans, and Chris C. Lonsdale

The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy and feasibility of a resistancetraining (RT) and lifestyle-activity program for sedentary older adults. Eligible participants (N = 44) were randomized to an 8-wk intervention or a control group. The primary outcome was lower body muscle strength, and participants completed a range of secondary outcomes. There was a significant group-by-time interaction for lower body muscle strength (difference = 3.9 repetitions [reps], 95% CI = 2.0–5.8 reps; p < .001; d = 1.0). Changes in secondary outcomes were generally small and not statistically significant. Attendance and program satisfaction were both high. A combined elastic-tubing RT and lifestyle-activity program delivered in the community setting is an efficacious and feasible approach to improve health in sedentary older adults.

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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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Nigel Harris, Isaac Warbrick, Denise Atkins, Alain Vandal, Lindsay Plank, and David R. Lubans

Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of generalist school teachers delivering curriculum connected high-intensity interval training in a school’s physical education class time. Method: Two schools volunteered to participate. A total of 84 students (11.9 [0.5] y, M = 64 and F = 19) volunteered to participate. Four classes from 2 schools were randomized to either intervention (n = 53) or control (n = 31) for one school term (8 wk). Intervention class teachers participated in a 1-day workshop instructing them how to deliver twice weekly, high-intensity interval training sessions. The control classes continued with their usual physical education curriculum. Recruitment, intervention fidelity, and program satisfaction were assessed. Preliminary efficacy (primary outcome cardiorespiratory fitness) was quantified using generalized linear mixed models, expressed as effect size. A range of secondary outcomes was also assessed. Results: The recruitment rate was 88%. About 84% of the sessions were delivered. The heart rate peak over all sessions was 89.6% (13%) of the predicted maximum. The intervention teachers reported high levels of satisfaction. Almost all student participants were positive about participating. No adverse events occurred. The adjusted between-group difference for cardiorespiratory fitness was trivial (effect size 0.02). Conclusions: This teacher-delivered high-intensity interval training program was feasible and acceptable to both teachers and student participants. It is therefore potentially scalable.

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David R. Lubans, Philip J. Morgan, Robin Callister, and Clare E. Collins

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between pedometer step counts and estimated VO2max as determined by a submaximal exercise test. Participants (N = 115; 65 girls, 50 boys) wore pedometers for five days and completed the Queen’s College Step Test (QCST). Based on these results participants were classified as HIGH, MOD, or LOW cardiorespiratory fitness. Boys accumulated more steps per day (p < .05) than girls (12,766 ± 4,923 versus 10,887 ± 2,656). The relationship between estimated VO2max and mean steps/day was moderate (r = .34, p < .01). Participants classified as having HIGH fitness levels accumulated more steps/day than LOW-fit adolescents (p < .05). The results from this study suggest that estimated VO2max as determined by a submaximal exercise test is moderately associated with mean steps/day in adolescents.

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Adam B. Lloyd, David R. Lubans, Ronald C. Plotnikoff, and Philip J. Morgan

Background:

This study examined potential parenting-related mediators of children’s physical activity and dietary behavior change in the Healthy Dads, Healthy Kids (HDHK) community program.

Methods:

A randomized controlled trial was conducted with 45 overweight/obese (mean [SD] age = 39.8 [5.4] years; BMI = 32.4 [3.8]) fathers and their children (n = 77; 58% boys; mean [SD] age = 7.7 [2.5] years). Families were randomized to either the HDHK program or wait-list control group. The program involved 7 sessions. Fathers and their children were assessed at baseline and at 14 weeks for physical activity (pedometery) and core food intake (Questionnaire). Fathers’ lifestyle-related parenting practices included; self-efficacy, beliefs, modeling, logistic support, rules, cophysical activity, shared mealtime frequency and intentions.

Results:

Significant intervention effects were found for cophysical activity and modeling physical activity. Cophysical activity mediated children’s physical activity in the intervention (‘mediated effect,’ AB = 653, 95% CI = 4–2050) and was responsible for 59.5% of the intervention effect. Fathers’ beliefs mediated children’s percent energy from core foods (AB = 1.51, 95% CI = 0.05–5.55) and accounted for 72.9% of the intervention effect.

Conclusions:

Participation in the HDHK program positively impacted on fathers’ cophysical activity with their child and beliefs about healthy eating which mediated changes in children’s diet and physical activity behaviors.

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Narelle Eather, Mark Babic, Nicholas Riley, Sarah A. Costigan, and David R. Lubans

Purpose: This systematic review aimed to identify studies evaluating the impact of high-intensity interval training when delivered in school and sports training. Methods: A systematic search of 10 databases (September 2019) identified 24 eligible studies (including children and/or adolescents 5–18 years and reporting cardiometabolic health and/or health-related fitness outcomes), assessed for quality using the Cochrane Risk of Bias Tool (version 2.0). Outcomes were synthesized using a random-effects meta-analysis, and potential moderators were explored (i.e., study duration, risk of bias, age, and deliverer/instructor). Results: Standardized mean difference for the effects of high-intensity interval training were significant for body mass index g = −0.27 (p < .001), cardiorespiratory fitness g = 0.27 (p < .001), lower body muscular fitness g = 0.49 (p = .005), and upper body muscular fitness g = 0.37 (p = .002); but not for blood pressure (p > .05). Risk of bias results were variable (low = 8, some concerns = 9, and high = 7). Conclusion: Our findings suggest that embedding high-intensity interval training in schools and sports training can facilitate improvements in some aspects of cardiometabolic health and fitness in children and adolescents.

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Anna K. Jansson, David R. Lubans, Jordan J. Smith, Mitch J. Duncan, Vibeke Hansen, and Ronald C. Plotnikoff

Background: The COVID-19 global pandemic greatly impacted lifestyles and physical activity routines. This study explored how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted participant experience and motivation in ecofit, a large, community-based, multicomponent intervention that supports aerobic and resistance-based physical activity using publicly available, outdoor exercise facilities and smartphone technology. Methods: Fifteen participants from the intervention arm of the study were interviewed. Audiotaped telephone interviews were transcribed verbatim and analyzed by a researcher uninvolved in the intervention. Through an inductive thematic approach, data were coded and organized into themes. The quantitative measure of participant smartphone application engagement was used as a classification during analysis. Results: Several themes representing participants’ experience of the COVID-19 pandemic in their engagement with ecofit, overall physical activity levels, motivation to exercise, and perception and usage of outdoor gym facilities were identified. Conclusion: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on clinical trials is beginning to emerge. Although the present study showed a mixed impact of the pandemic on participation in the ecofit program, the overall implications for the intervention are yet to be determined. Interestingly, although a large review found a negative impact of COVID-19 on physical activity, this sample reported an overall increase.

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Angus A. Leahy, Narelle Eather, Jordan J. Smith, Charles H. Hillman, Philip J. Morgan, Ronald C. Plotnikoff, Michael Nilsson, Sarah A. Costigan, Michael Noetel, and David R. Lubans

Purpose: This study was designed to assess the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a teacher-facilitated high-intensity interval training intervention for older adolescents (ie, 16–18 y). Methods: Two secondary schools from New South Wales, Australia were recruited, and participants (ie, grade 11 students; 16.2 [0.4] y) were randomized at the school level to the Burn 2 Learn intervention (n = 38), or a wait-list control group (n = 30). Teachers were trained to facilitate the delivery of the novel high-intensity interval training program, which involved 3 sessions per week (∼12–20 min) for 14 weeks. A range of process measures were used to assess intervention feasibility (ie, recruitment, retention, attendance, and program satisfaction). Primary (cardiorespiratory fitness, determined using the progressive aerobic cardiovascular endurance run shuttle run test) and secondary outcomes were assessed at baseline and posttest (14-wk). Results: Sixty-eight grade 11 students were recruited at baseline (85% of target sample), 61 participants completed posttest assessments (90% retention) and on average, participants performed 1.9 sessions per week. Overall, teachers (4.0/5) and students (4.0/5) were satisfied with the Burn 2 Learn program. Group by time effects were observed for cardiorespiratory fitness (8.9 laps; 95% confidence intervals, 1.7–16.2) and a selection of secondary outcomes. Conclusion: This study provides evidence for the feasibility and preliminary efficacy of a teacher-facilitated high-intensity interval training intervention for older adolescents.

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Ryan M. Hulteen, Lisa M. Barnett, Philip J. Morgan, Leah E. Robinson, Christian J. Barton, Brian H. Wrotniak, and David R. Lubans

Participation in lifelong physical activities, such as yoga, golf, tennis, or running, are common endeavors in adolescence and adulthood. However, there is a lack of understanding of how competent individuals are in the skills needed for these activities and how competency in these skills relates to physical activity and fitness. This study aimed to determine the initial predictive validity of the Lifelong Physical Activity Skills Battery related to physical activity and health-related fitness. One-hundred and nine adolescents from four schools (55 males, 54 females; Mage = 15.82 years, SD = 0.37 years) completed: demographic information (survey), height (stadiometer), weight (digital scale), motor skill assessment (jog, grapevine, squat, push-up, upward dog, warrior one, tennis forehand, golf swing), health-related fitness (standing long jump, back-saver sit and reach, 3-min submaximal step test, 90° push-up test), and physical activity (GENEActiv accelerometers). Correlations and multiple regression models were conducted in SPSS version 24.0. Motor competence was associated with muscular fitness (standing long jump, β = 0.24, p = .002; push-ups, β = 0.42, p < .001), cardiorespiratory fitness (β = 0.21, p = .031), and flexibility (β = 0.23, p = .025), but not physical activity (β = 0.17, p = .154) or body mass index (β = −0.05, p = .622). Motor competence has a stronger association with health-related fitness parameters rather than physical activity.