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Comparison of Pedometer and Accelerometer Measures of Physical Activity in Preschool Children

Greet Cardon and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij

In this study, daily step counts were recorded for 4 consecutive days in 129 four- and five-year-old children. To compare daily Yamax Digiwalker step counts with minutes of engagement in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), concurrent accelerometer data were collected in a random subsample (n = 76). The average daily step count was 9,980 (± 2,605). Step counts and MVPA minutes were strongly correlated (r = .73, p < .001). The daily step count of 13,874, equating to 1-hr MVPA engagement, was reached by 8% of the children. Daily step counts in preschool children give valid information on physical activity levels—daily step counts in preschoolers are low.

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A Pilot Study Comparing Pedometer Counts with Reported Physical Activity in Elementary Schoolchildren

Greet Cardon and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij

In this study pedometer counts were recorded for 6 consecutive days for 92 children (mean age = 9.6 years; range 6.5–12.7) and were compared with the number of minutes per day in which the participants engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Diaries filled out with the assistance of one of the children’s parents were used to determine minutes of MVPA. The average daily step count was significantly higher in boys than in girls, although the average daily MVPA engagement in minutes did not vary significantly between genders. Based on the regression equations, 60 min of MVPA was equivalent to 15,340 step counts in boys, 11,317 step counts in girls, and 13,130 step counts when results for both genders were combined. A moderate correlation (r = .39, p < .001) was found between pedometer step counts and reported minutes of MVPA. According to the present study findings, however, predictions and promotion of daily MVPA engagement in children based on pedometer counts per day should be made with caution.

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Test-Retest Reliability and Validity of a Child and Parental Questionnaire on Specific Determinants of Cycling to School

Fabian Ducheyne, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Matthieu Lenoir, and Greet Cardon

This study examined the reliability of a newly developed child and parental questionnaire on specific determinants of cycling to school among 10–12 year olds. Validity of child reported distance, bicycle equipment and basic bicycle skills was also investigated. In total 211 children and 33 parents participated in this study. The reliability of the questionnaires was acceptable with results indicating reliability ranging from fair to perfect agreement. Therefore, the questionnaires appear to be reliable tools for assessing specific determinants of cycling to school. Furthermore, it was found that children overestimate their abilities to perform basic bicycle skills. This suggests that objectively measuring bicycle skills is preferred to child reported skills assessment.

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Results from Flanders’ 2018 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth

Jan Seghers, Stijn De Baere, Maïté Verloigne, and Greet Cardon

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RESEARCH NOTE: Physical Activity Levels in Elementary-School Physical Education: A Comparison of Swimming and Nonswimming Classes

Greet Cardon, Stefanie Verstraete, Dirk De Clercq, and Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij

The main goal of the current study was to compare physical activity levels during swimming and nonswimming elementary physical education classes. We conducted a preliminary study and found that the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) could be used to register physical activity engagement levels in swimming classes. Thirty-nine classes, involving 8- to 12-year olds, participated in one swimming and one nonswimming physical education class. Classes were videotaped and physical activity levels for 234 students were quantified using SOFIT. Students engaged in more moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during swimming classes than during nonswimming classes. As a consequence, we advocate the inclusion of swimming lessons in physical education. Because the average engagement in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity was lower than the recommended 50% in 41% of swimming classes and in 77% of the nonswimming classes, however, comprehensive efforts are needed to increase physical activity levels during both types of elementary physical education classes.

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Perceptions of a School-Based Self-Management Program Promoting an Active Lifestyle among Elementary Schoolchildren, Teachers, and Parents

Greet Maria Cardon, Leen Liesbeth Haerens, Stefanie Verstraete, and Ilse de Bourdeaudhuij

The present study aimed to investigate how classroom-based self-management lessons to promote physical activity were perceived by students, teachers, and parents. The self-management lessons were implemented by an external physical education specialist in 20 class groups at eight elementary schools. Program perceptions were evaluated in 412 children (mean age 9.7 ± 0.7) using a short questionnaire. Oral surveys were used with 20 teachers and 50 parent participants. Most children were enthusiastic about the program and more than half of them reported being more active. Teachers and parents also perceived the lessons as useful and half of them reported an improvement in children’s physical activity awareness. Eighty percent of the teachers and 32% of the parents perceived an increase in children’s physical activity levels. The SPARK self-management physical activity program appears to promote an active lifestyle in children and was positively received; the implementation of the program by the teachers needs further evaluation.

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Extracurricular School-Based Sports as a Stepping Stone Toward an Active Lifestyle? Differences in Physical Activity and Sports-Motivation Between Extracurricular School-Based Sports Participants and Non-Participants

An De Meester, Greet Cardon, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, and Leen Haerens

Purpose:

The goals were to investigate whether extracurricular school-based sports reach students not engaging in community sports and whether extracurricular school-based sports participants are more physically active and/or autonomously motivated toward sports than nonparticipants.

Method:

1526 students (48.0% boys; 85.9% Belgian natives; age = 15.34 ± 1.83y) completed validated questionnaires to assess sports participation, physical activity (PA) and sports-motivation. Multilevel regression analyses were conducted.

Results:

Only 28.7% of all students (n = 438), and 19.7% of students not engaging in community sports (n = 123), participated in extracurricular school-based sports. Participants were significantly more physically active [β=44.19, S.E.=17.34, χ2(1)=6.50, p = .01] and autonomously motivated [β=.18, S.E.=.04, χ2(1)=25.62, p < .001] than nonparticipants, even after controlling for community sports participation. Boys were more physically active and autonomously motivated than girls (p < .001).

Conclusion:

As participation is linked to higher PA-levels and autonomous motivation, increasing overall participation rates may contribute to children developing a more physically active lifestyle and achieving the PA guidelines.

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Walking as a Mediator of the Relationship of Social Support With Vitality and Psychological Distress in Older Adults

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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Cross-Sectional Associations Between Sitting Time and Several Aspects of Mental Health in Belgian Adults

Melinda Asztalos, Greet Cardon, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, and Katrien De Cocker

Background:

Sedentary behavior (including sitting) is negatively associated with physical health, independent from physical activity (PA). Knowledge on the associations with mental health is less elaborated. Therefore this study aims to investigate the relationship between sitting and 5 indices of mental health in adults (psychological distress, depression, anxiety, somatization, and sleeping problems), and between sitting interactions (sitting×gender, sitting×age, sitting×education, and sitting×PA) and these mental health indices.

Methods:

A cohort of Belgian adults (25–64 years; n = 4344) provided self-reported data on sitting and PA and on 5 mental health indices. Cross-sectional associations were examined using multiple linear regression analyses.

Results:

Analyses adjusted for gender, age, education, and PA showed significant positive associations between sitting and the 5 mental health indices (P < .05). All associations were true for both men and women, and for low and high educated individuals, while some were only found in older individuals (somatization, P < .001) and those being insufficiently active (psychological distress, P = .007; depression, P = .002; and anxiety, P = .014).

Conclusions:

More sitting seems to be associated with poorer mental health, independently of gender, age, education, and PA. Moderation analyses showed that these associations may differ according to age and PA levels.

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Bicycling to School During the Transition From Childhood Into Adolescence: A Six-Year Longitudinal Study

Greet M. Cardon, Lea R.D. Maes, Leen L. Haerens, and Ilse M.M. De Bourdeaudhuij

Little is known about bicycling to school as children age. At baseline (2002) self-report data from 1070 children were gathered (51.9% boys; mean age: 10 years). The measurements were repeated in 2003 (n = 1039), 2004 (n = 907), 2005 (n = 549) and 2008 (n = 515). The rates of children bicycling to school significantly varied across time points from 46% at the age of ten, 69% at the age of 11, 83% at the age of 12, 70% at the age of 13 toward 78% at the age of 16. Starting from the age of 11, the average duration of time spent bicycling to school significantly increased over time. According to multilevel regression analyses 13.6% of the variance in rates of bicycling to school was situated at the school level, 39.6% at the pupil level and 46.7% at the measurement level. The differences in rates and durations across time points were independent from gender, BMI, SES and having siblings. Pupils engaging in bicycling to school at younger ages had a higher change of engaging in bicycling to school at 16 years old (ORs: 2.69–7.61; ICC bicycling rates: 0.46, ICC bicycling durations: 0.82). This finding emphasizes the need for promoting bicycling to school at young age.