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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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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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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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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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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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Relationship between Motor Skill and Body Mass Index in 5- to 10-Year-Old Children

Eva D’Hondt, Benedicte Deforche, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, and Matthieu Lenoir

The purpose of this study was to investigate gross and fine motor skill in overweight and obese children compared with normal-weight peers. According to international cut-off points for Body Mass Index (BMI) from Cole et al. (2000), all 117 participants (5–10 year) were classified as being normal-weight, overweight, or obese. Level of motor skill was assessed using the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC). Scores for balance (p < .01) and ball skills (p < .05) were significantly better in normal-weight and overweight children as compared with their obese counterparts. A similar trend was found for manual dexterity (p < .10). This study demonstrates that general motor skill level is lower in obese children than in normal-weight and overweight peers.

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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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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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Reliability and Validity of a Computerized and Dutch Version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ)

Corneel Vandelanotte, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Renaat Philippaerts, Michael Sjöström, and James Sallis

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the reliability and validity of a newly developed computerized Dutch version of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ).

Methods:

Subjects (N = 53) completed the computerized IPAQ at three specified times. Subjects wore a CSA activity monitor during seven full days and simultaneously completed a 7-d physical activity diary. Finally, respondents filled out a paper and pencil IPAQ.

Results:

Intraclass correlation coefficient ranged from 0.60 to 0.83. Correlations for “total physical activity” between the computerized IPAQ and the CSA activity counts were moderate (min: r = 0.38; kcal: r = 0.43). Correlations with the physical activity diary were also moderate (min: r = 0.39; kcal: r = 0.46). Correlations between the computerized and the paper and pencil IPAQ were high (min: r = 0.80; kcal: r = 0.84).

Conclusions:

The computerized Dutch IPAQ is a reliable and reasonably valid physical activity measurement tool for the general adult population.

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Opinions Toward Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Interventions to Stimulate Active Living During Early Retirement: A Qualitative Study in Recently Retired Adults

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.