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Caryn Zinn, Grant Schofield and Clare Wall

Little is known about if and how team coaches disseminate nutrition information to athletes. In a census survey, New Zealand premier rugby coaches (n = 168) completed a psychometrically validated questionnaire, received by either Internet or standard mail (response rate, 46%), identifying their nutrition advice dissemination practices to players, their level of nutrition knowledge, and the factors determining this level of knowledge. The majority of coaches provided advice to their players (83.8%). Coaches responded correctly to 55.6% of all knowledge questions. An independent t-test showed coaches who imparted nutrition advice obtained a significantly greater score, 56.8%, than those not imparting advice, 48.4% (P = 0.008). One-way ANOVA showed significant relationships between total knowledge score of all coaches and qualifications [F(1,166) = 5.28, P = 0.001], own knowledge rating [F(3,164) = 6.88, P = 0.001] and nutrition training [F(1,166) = 9.83, P = 0.002]. We conclude that these rugby coaches were inadequately prepared to impart nutrition advice to athletes and could benefit from further nutrition training.

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Katja Siefken, Grant Schofield and Nico Schulenkorf

Background:

The Pacific region has experienced rapid urbanization and lifestyle changes, which lead to high rates of noncommunicable disease (NCD) prevalence. There is no information on barriers and facilitators for healthy lifestyles in this region. In response, we present the first stage of a rigorous development of an urban Pacific health intervention program. This paper describes formative work conducted in Port Vila, Vanuatu. The objective of this paper was to understand cultural barriers and facilitators in Pacific women to lifestyle change and use the findings to inform future health interventions.

Methods:

Semistructured focus groups with 37 female civil servants divided into 6 groups were held verbally to understand barriers and facilitators for healthy lifestyles.

Results:

Several perceived barriers and facilitators were identified. Inter alia, barriers include financial limitations, time issues, family commitments, environmental aspects, and motivational hindrances that limit time and opportunities for healthy lifestyle behavior. Facilitators include more supportive environments, social support mechanisms, and the implementation of rigorous health policies.

Conclusions:

Formative work is essential in designing health intervention programs. Uncovered barriers and facilitators help inform the development of culturally relevant health interventions.

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Hannah M. Badland and Grant M. Schofield

Background:

Leisure time physical activities have been a priority in recent years for many health practitioners, with transport-related physical activity (TPA) largely ignored. The urban environment has altered in the last few decades, increasing the reliance on automobiles. Simultaneously we have seen increases in obesity and other non-communicable diseases related to sedentary lifestyles.

Methods:

Information was sourced from major health databases. The remainder of the literature was directed from citations in articles accessed from the initial search.

Results:

Clear health benefits result from regular TPA engagement, with opportunities closely linked to accessible urban design infrastructure. Much of the existing evidence, however, has been extracted from cross-sectional research, rather than interventions. As such, drawing causal relationships is not yet possible.

Conclusions:

Existing evidence necessitates TPA research and promotion should be public health and urban design priorities. Collaborative research needs to incorporate prospective study designs to understand TPA behavior.

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Nick Garrett, Philip J. Schluter and Grant Schofield

Background:

A minority of adults in developed countries engage in sufficient physical activity (PA) to achieve health benefits. This study aims to identify modifiable perceived resources and barriers to PA among New Zealand adults.

Methods:

Secondary analysis of a 2003 nationally representative cross-sectional mail survey, stratified by region, age, and ethnicity, and analyzed utilizing ordinal logistic regression.

Results:

Overall, n = 8038 adults responded to the survey, of whom 49% met updated guidelines for sufficient PA. Perceived accessibility of local resources was associated with PA; however, for some resources there was more awareness among individuals whose predominant activity was not commonly associated with that resource (eg, health clubs and walkers). Perceived local environmental barriers demonstrated negative (steep hills, crime, dogs) and positive (unmaintained footpaths) associations. The absence of perceived environmental barriers was strongly associated with increased activity, suggesting the number of barriers may be a critical factor.

Conclusion:

Complex relationships between perceptions of local environments and activity patterns among adults were found. Although complex, these results demonstrate positive associations between awareness of resources and perceived lack of barriers with being sufficiently physically active for health. Therefore, investments in provision and/or promotion of local resources have the potential to enable active healthy communities.

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Melody Oliver, Philip John Schluter and Grant Schofield

Background:

Accelerometers are widely used to quantify physical activity (PA) in preschoolers, yet no ‘best practice’ method for data treatment exists. The purpose of this study was to develop a robust method for data reduction using contemporary statistical methods and apply it to preschoolers’ accelerometer data.

Methods:

Children age 2 to 5 years were recruited in Auckland, New Zealand, and asked to wear accelerometers over 7 days. Average daily PA rates per second were derived for participants, estimated using negative binomial generalized estimating equation (GEE) models. Overall participant rates were derived and compared using normal GEE models. Descriptive information for data analyzed were compared with that derived using traditional data inclusion approaches.

Results:

Data were gathered from 78 of the 93 enrolled children over a median of 7 days. Daily PA rates ranged from 1.27 to 17.64 counts per second (median 5.70). Compared with traditional approaches, this method had many advantages, including improved data retention, the computation of a continuous measure, and facilitating powerful multivariable regression analyses, while providing similar descriptive information to existing methods.

Conclusion:

PA rates were successfully calculated for preschoolers’ activity description and advantages of the approach identified. This method holds promise for future use and merits further application and enhancement.

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William Mummery, Gregory Kolt, Grant Schofield and Grant McLean

Background:

Physical activity is a key component of healthy aging. We investigated the relationships between physical activity measures and lifestyle risk factors.

Methods:

Representative population data (N = 1894) of New Zealand adults aged 60 years and older were analysed to study the association between physical activity, smoking, overweight and fruit and vegetable consumption.

Results:

Activity prevalence of four activity measures were 18.3% inactive/sedentary; 67.6% some recreational walking; 30.7% some vigorous activity; and 51.4% regular physical activity. Females were more likely than males to be inactive and activity levels decreased across age groups. Activity displayed a negative association to smoking and being overweight or obese, and a positive association with fruit and vegetable consumption.

Conclusion:

Associations between lifestyle risk factors and physical activity indicate a need to address the issue of healthy aging by means of a multi-factorial approach.

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Wendy J. Brown, Kerry Mummery, Elizabeth Eakin and Grant Schofield

Objectives:

To describe the effectiveness of a multi-strategy physical activity (PA) intervention.

Methods:

Self-report data from random samples were collected prior to and following intervention. Social marketing, healthcare provider, and environmental strategies were concurrently implemented with a central coordinating theme of “10,000 Steps Rockhampton.”

Results:

There was evidence of significant project reach and awareness. The downward trend in PA seen in the comparison community (48.3% to 41.9% “active”) was not evident in Rockhampton. Women were the “early adopters” in this project; with an increase of 5% (95% CI: –0.6, 10.6) in the percent categorized as “active” (compared with decreases among women in the comparison community and among men in both communities).

Conclusions:

High levels of project awareness, combined with modest increases in activity levels in women, demonstrate initial project effects. Longer term interventions, focusing on sustainable individual, social, and environmental change strategies are needed to maintain and improve this result.

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Karen Croteau, Grant Schofield, George Towle and Vijiayarani Suresh

Background:

It is speculated that rural Kenyan children are more physically active than those in developed countries. The purpose of this study was to examine pedometer-measured physical activity levels of western Kenyan youth.

Methods:

Participants in this study were children in Levels 3 and 5 who attended a private primary school. The sample (n = 72) consisted of 43 girls and 29 boys (average age = 9.8 ± 1.1, range = 8−12 years). Age, gender, tribe, and height and weight measures were collected. Weight status category was determined according to CDC guidelines. Participants wore a sealed Yamax pedometer for 4 weekdays during the measurement period. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and 2-way ANOVA (age × gender).

Results:

The total sample averaged 14558 ± 3993 daily steps. There was no significant effect for age [F(4,68) = 1.682, P = .102] nor significant age × gender interaction [F(4,68)=1.956, P = .117]. There was a significant effect for gender [F(1,68) = 4.791, P = .033], with boys (16262 ± 4698) significantly more active than girls (13463 ± 3051).

Conclusions:

The observed daily steps are higher than those observed in the U.S., similar to samples in other developed countries, but lower than Amish youth.

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Melody Oliver, Scott Duncan, Celia Kuch, Julia McPhee and Grant Schofield

Background:

Aims were to investigate sex, ethnicity, and age differences in achieving daily step count and television (TV) watching recommendations in schoolchildren.

Methods:

Participants were 615 children (n = 325) and adolescents (n = 290) aged 5 to 16 years. Activity was assessed over 5 days using pedometers; TV time was collected via parental proxy-report and self-report. Ethnic, sex, and age differences in step counts, TV time, and odds of meeting TV and step count recommendations were examined for weekdays, weekend days, and overall using generalized estimation equation modeling.

Results:

Overall, boys were more active than girls (P < .001). Adolescents were more active than children (P = .044), watched more TV (P = .005), and were less likely to meet TV watching recommendations (P = .004). Non-European children watched significantly more TV (P = .008), and were significantly less likely to meet TV recommendations than non-European children (P = .001). Participants watched more TV and accumulated less steps on weekend days than weekdays.

Conclusions:

Multifaceted interventions focusing on both increasing activity and decreasing TV time are needed, especially on weekends. Children and girls may benefit more from activity interventions, while ethnic-specific interventions focusing on TV habits may be most efficacious for adolescents.

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Hannah M. Badland, Grant M. Schofield and Philip J. Schluter

Background:

Little is known about the relationships between objectively measured commute distance with actual and perceived transport-related physical activity (TPA) engagement.

Methods:

A telephone survey assessed travel behaviors to place of work/study within an adult sample (n = 772) residing in New Zealand.

Results:

Overall, 50% of respondents perceived they could, and 10% of the sample actually did, use TPA modes to commute to their occupation for distances less than 5 km. Differences between TPA perceptions and engagement existed for all distance classifications, and prevalence declined as distances increased.

Conclusions:

Differences between TPA engagement and perceptions were evident. Actual and perceived TPA engagement levels declined as commute distance increased.