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Freja Gheysen, Karel Herman and Delfien Van Dyck

Objective: To investigate whether the relationship of neighborhood environmental factors with physical activity (PA) is moderated by cognitive functioning in Belgian older adults. Methods: Seventy-one older adults completed validated questionnaires on PA and environmental perceptions, wore an accelerometer, and completed a computerized assessment of cognitive functioning. Moderated linear regression analyses were conducted in SPSS 24.0. Results: Overall cognitive functioning significantly moderated the associations of traffic safety and street connectivity with PA. Detailed analyses showed that these factors were only positively associated with PA in older adults with lower cognitive functioning. In addition, particularly, performance on tests assessing visuospatial and episodic memory moderated these associations. Discussion: Living in traffic-safe neighborhoods with short and many alternative routes might motivate older adults with lower cognitive functioning to be active. As such, the increase in PA might improve their cognitive abilities. This knowledge is crucial for health practitioners to develop effective PA promotion initiatives.

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Susana Carrapatoso, Greet Cardon, Delfien Van Dyck, Joana Carvalho and Freja Gheysen

This study examined the mediating effect of walking on the relationship of social support with vitality and psychological distress. Data from a sample of 2,859 older adults were used. The older adults completed the 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey vitality scale, the Global Health Questionnaire, the International Physical Activity Questionnaire, and a social support attributes questionnaire. All social support variables were positively associated with vitality and negatively associated with psychological distress. Walking mediated the associations of appreciation for (3%) and frequency of (8%) social contacts, participation in group activities (19%), closeness from family and friends (8%), and concern from people around (6%) with vitality. Walking also mediated 33% of the association between participation in group activities and psychological distress. The main findings of this study suggest that participation in group activities, as part of social support, in later life is beneficial to improve older adults’ vitality and reduces psychological distress, with walking being a strong mediator of these relationships.

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Delfien Van Dyck, Lieze Mertens, Greet Cardon, Katrien De Cocker and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij

This study aimed to obtain qualitative information about physical activity (PA) and sedentary behaviors (SB)and their determinants, and about recently retired adults’ needs regarding PA interventions. Four focus group interviews were organized. The most commonly reported PA types were walking, cycling, swimming and fitness. The most commonly reported SB were reading, TV viewing, and computer use. Car use was limited. Most adults agreed their habits had changed during retirement. The most striking PA determinant was the feeling of being a ‘forgotten group’ and therefore having too few tailored PA initiatives available. Furthermore, participants were not aware of the negative health effects of SB and not motivated to decrease their SB. Concerning new PA interventions, very diverse ideas were put forward, reflecting the diversity of the target group. It seems that a dynamic intervention in which participants can choose which PA type they want to increase is preferable for recently retired adults.

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Kelli L. Cain, James F. Sallis, Terry L. Conway, Delfien Van Dyck and Lynn Calhoon

Background:

In 2005, investigators convened by the National Cancer Institute recommended development of standardized protocols for accelerometer use and reporting decision rules in articles. A literature review was conducted to document accelerometer methods and decision rule reporting in youth physical activity articles from 2005−2010.

Methods:

Nine electronic databases identified 273 articles that measured physical activity and/or sedentary behavior using the most-used brand of accelerometer (ActiGraph). Six key methods were summarized by age group (preschool, children, and adolescents) and trends over time were examined.

Results:

Studies using accelerometers more than doubled from 2005−2010. Methods included 2 ActiGraph models, 6 epoch lengths, 6 nonwear definitions, 13 valid day definitions, 8 minimum wearing day thresholds, 12 moderate-intensity physical activity cut points, and 11 sedentary cut points. Child studies showed the most variation in methods and a trend toward more variability in cut points over time. Decision rule reporting improved, but only 54% of papers reported on all methods.

Conclusion:

The increasing diversity of methods used to process and score accelerometer data for youth precludes comparison of results across studies. Decision rule reporting is inconsistent, and trends indicate declining standardization of methods. A methodological research agenda and consensus process are proposed.

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Jacqueline Kerr, James F. Sallis, Neville Owen, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Ester Cerin, Takemi Sugiyama, Rodrigo Reis, Olga Sarmiento, Karel Frömel, Josef Mitáš, Jens Troelsen, Lars Breum Christiansen, Duncan Macfarlane, Deborah Salvo, Grant Schofield, Hannah Badland, Francisco Guillen-Grima, Ines Aguinaga-Ontoso, Rachel Davey, Adrian Bauman, Brian Saelens, Chris Riddoch, Barbara Ainsworth, Michael Pratt, Tom Schmidt, Lawrence Frank, Marc Adams, Terry Conway, Kelli Cain, Delfien Van Dyck and Nicole Bracy

Background:

National and international strategies to increase physical activity emphasize environmental and policy changes that can have widespread and long-lasting impact. Evidence from multiple countries using comparable methods is required to strengthen the evidence base for such initiatives. Because some environment and policy changes could have generalizable effects and others may depend on each country’s context, only international studies using comparable methods can identify the relevant differences.

Methods:

Currently 12 countries are participating in the International Physical Activity and the Environment Network (IPEN) study. The IPEN Adult study design involves recruiting adult participants from neighborhoods with wide variations in environmental walkability attributes and socioeconomic status (SES).

Results:

Eleven of twelve countries are providing accelerometer data and 11 are providing GIS data. Current projections indicate that 14,119 participants will provide survey data on built environments and physical activity and 7145 are likely to provide objective data on both the independent and dependent variables. Though studies are highly comparable, some adaptations are required based on the local context.

Conclusions:

This study was designed to inform evidence-based international and country-specific physical activity policies and interventions to help prevent obesity and other chronic diseases that are high in developed countries and growing rapidly in developing countries.