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Jennie A. Phillips and Deborah Rohm Young

Background:

This study examined associations between sports participation, physical activity, fitness level, and body mass index in ninth-grade girls.

Methods:

Data were analyzed for 221 participants who completed sports participation and physical activity recall questionnaires, an aerobic step test, and height and weight measurement.

Results:

On average, participants had low physical activity levels, and many were overweight or obese (47%). About half participated in at least one organized sport in the previous year. Sports participants had higher current estimated energy expenditure compared with non-sports participants (P = .0007). Those who participated on at least two teams were more likely to complete the three-stage step test without reaching their target heart rate than those who did not participate on any teams (P < .03). Past sports participation was positively associated with current physical activity and fitness levels.

Conclusion:

Urban adolescent girls who participate in sports have increased energy expenditure and higher fitness levels, indicating sports as a potential strategy to improve physical activity and health in this population.

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Deborah Rohm Young, Abby C. King and Roberta K. Oka

This investigation identified demographic and health-related characteristics of 1,877 sedentary, underactive, and regularly active individuals aged 50 to 65 randomly sampled from a northern California city. Physiological and psychosocial information was available in greater detail for a subsample (n = 327) of sedentary and underactive persons who were subsequently enrolled in a randomized, controlled, clinical trial (SSHIP). Results suggested that unmarried men, women reporting poor health, and smokers were most likely to be completely sedentary. Sedentary and underactive individuals responded differently to two recruitment strategies designed to attract participants into SSHIP. In addition, the initially sedentary participants had significantly lower adherence rates across the 1-year exercise trial compared to the initially underactive regardless of either the format or intensity of the program. These data underscore the utility of differentiating between levels of less-than-optimal physical activity in formulating campaigns promoting physical activity as well as designing exercise interventions.

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Chuhe Chen, Gerald J. Jerome, Daniel LaFerriere, Deborah Rohm Young and William M. Vollmer

Background:

Accelerometers measure intensity, frequency, and duration of physical activity. However, the scarcity of reports on data reduction makes comparing accelerometer results across studies difficult.

Methods:

Participants were asked to wear a triaxial accelerometer (RT3) for ≥10 hours for at least 4 days, including one weekend day. We summarize our data-cleaning procedures and assess the impact of defining a usable day of measurements as at least 6, 8, or 10 hours of wear time, and of standardizing data to a 12-hour day.

Results:

Eighty-two percent of participants met wear time requirements; 93% met requirements when we defined a day as 8-or-more hours of wear time. Normalization of data to a 12-hour day had little impact on estimates of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; 16.9 vs. 17.1 minutes); restricting MVPA to activities occurring in bouts of 10 minutes or longer had greater impact (16.9 vs. 6.3 minutes per day).

Conclusion:

Our account of accelerometry quality-control and data-cleaning procedures documents the small impact of variations in daily wear time requirements on MVPA estimates, and the larger impact of evaluating total MVPA vs. MVPA occurring in extended bouts. This paper should allow other researchers to duplicate or revise our methods as needed.