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Jennifer L. Gay, Marsha Dowda, Ruth Saunders and Alexandra Evans

Background:

Children in residential children’s homes (RCH) may be at increased risk for physical inactivity due to decreased access to opportunities for activity. Little is known about environmental determinants of physical activity for children in RCH.

Methods:

Thirty-minute blocks of MVPA and Total METs were measured using the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR). A staff interview, based on the Structural Ecologic Model of Health Behavior, assessed physical activity opportunities, structures, characteristics, policies, and social environment. Wilcoxon 2-sample tests were used to examine differences in environment by location and presence of a recreation director. Mixed model ANOVAs assessed the differences in child level activity by environmental variables.

Results:

There were significant correlations between opportunities and characteristics of physical activity, facilities, and equipment with total METS for children. Children in homes with a recreation director and homes in rural locations reported more physical activity. Only rural location had a significant effect on physical activity. Presence of a recreation director was significant in several models.

Conclusions:

Rural location may be conducive for increased physical activity in children at RCH. Employing a recreation director or other trained personnel may be an important policy determinant of physical activity for children.

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Jennifer L. Gay, Eva V. Monsma, Alan L. Smith, J.D. DeFreese and Toni Torres-McGehee

Growth and maturation may impact adolescent behavior and development of psychological disorders. Currently age at menarche is used as the primary marker of maturation, even though it occurs later than other indicators of growth such as peak height velocity (PHV). Maturity offset predicting age at PHV has not been validated in diverse samples. Anthropometric measures and self-reported age at menarche were obtained for 212 female athletes ages 11 to 16 years (M = 13.25). Shared variance between menarcheal age and estimated age at PHV (APHV) was small (R 2 = 5.3%). Discriminant validity was established by classifying participants as pre- or post-PHV or menarche (X2 = 32.62, P < .0001). The Pearson’s correlation between chronological age and age at PHV (r = .69) was stronger than with age at menarche (r = .26). Making informed decisions about accounting for growth and maturation using estimated age at PHV are offered.

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Jennifer L. Gay, Sara W. Robb, Kelsey M. Benson and Alice White

Background:

The Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), a publicly available dataset, is used in emergency preparedness to identify communities in greatest need of resources. The SVI includes multiple socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic indicators that also are associated with physical fitness and physical activity. This study examined the utility of using the SVI to explain variation in youth fitness, including aerobic capacity and body mass index.

Methods:

FITNESSGRAM data from 2,126 Georgia schools were matched at the census tract level with SVI themes of socioeconomic, household composition, minority status and language, and housing and transportation. Multivariate multiple regression models were used to test whether SVI factors explained fitness outcomes, controlling for grade level (ie, elementary, middle, high school) and stratified by gender.

Results:

SVI themes explained the most variation in aerobic fitness and body mass index for both boys and girls (R 2 values 11.5% to 26.6%). Socioeconomic, Minority Status and Language, and Housing and Transportation themes were salient predictors of fitness outcomes.

Conclusions:

Youth fitness in Georgia was related to socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic themes. The SVI may be a useful needs assessment tool for health officials and researchers examining multilevel influences on health behaviors or identifying communities for prevention efforts.

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Lorraine Bautista, Belinda Reininger, Jennifer L. Gay, Cristina S. Barroso and Joseph B. McCormick

Background:

National data show that Hispanics report low levels of physical activity. Limited information on barriers to exercise in this population exists in the literature.

Methods:

Surveys were administered to 398 Hispanic participants from two colonias in South Texas to investigate self-reported levels of and perceived barriers to exercise. One-way ANOVA by level of activity and t tests by gender were conducted. Exploratory factor analysis was used to examine patterns by level of activity.

Results:

Results show that 67.6% of respondents did not meet physical activity recommendations of at least 150 minutes per week, as compared with 55.6% nationally. Overall, the most frequently reported barriers included “lack of time,” “very tired,” and “lack of self-discipline” to exercise. An exploratory factor analysis of the barriers reported by participants not meeting physical activity recommendations resulted in a 3-factor structure. A unidimensional scale was found for participants meeting recommendations.

Conclusions:

Findings suggest that future interventions should be specific to gender and exercise level to address the high prevalence of inactivity in this population.

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Russell R. Pate, Jennifer L. Gay, David R. Brown and Michael Pratt

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Jennifer L. Gay, Harold W. Kohl III, Jennifer J. Salinas, Joseph B. McCormick and Susan P. Fisher-Hoch

Background:

The association between light-intensity activity and cardiovascular disease risk is not well understood. The purpose of this study was to determine the association of light-intensity activity with census-based occupational activity classifications and cardiovascular risk factors among Mexican American adults.

Methods:

118 Mexican American adults (68.6% female) provided cross-sectional accelerometer and biological data. Self-reported occupations were classified by activity level (sedentary, low, moderate). Participants were classified as At-Risk for BMI, glucose, triglycerides, HDL, blood pressure, waist circumference, and percent body fat.

Results:

Participants engaged in > 5 hours of light-intensity activity on average, and those in sedentary occupations engaged in fewer light-intensity activity minutes than low-active or moderately active workers (P < .001). Self-reported occupation explained 14% of the variation in light-intensity activity (P < .001). Participants in moderately active occupations were at increased risk for high %body fat than other workers (P = .01), but no other associations between occupation and cardiovascular risk were detected.

Conclusion:

Early work in physical activity underscored the importance of occupational activity. This study presents evidence of a dose-response association for light-intensity activity by occupational category such that workers in sedentary occupations had less light-intensity activity than employees in more active occupations. Future research on how light-intensity activity derived from occupation may reduce the risk of chronic disease will contribute to improved interventions as light-intensity activity participation may be more feasible than meeting current physical activity guidelines.

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Erika Rees-Punia, Charles E. Matthews, Ellen M. Evans, Sarah K. Keadle, Rebecca L. Anderson, Jennifer L. Gay, Michael D. Schmidt, Susan M. Gapstur and Alpa V. Patel

This study examined the test-retest reliability and criterion validity of light (LPA), moderate (MPA), vigorous (VPA), and moderate-to-vigorous (MVPA) physical activity survey items in a subset of participants from a large prospective cohort. Participants included 423 women and 290 men aged 31–72 years in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3). Information on physical activity (PA) was collected using two different surveys: one survey which captures all activity performed during a typical 24-hour period in broad categories (24-hour survey), and a more detailed survey focused primarily on leisure-time PA (LTPA survey). One-year reliability was assessed by computing Spearman correlation coefficients between responses from pre- and post-study periods for both surveys. Validity was assessed by comparing survey-estimated PA with accelerometry, seven-day diaries, and a latent variable representing ‘true’ PA estimated through the method of triads. Reliability was considered acceptable for most items on the LTPA survey (range ρ = 0.45–0.92) and the 24-hour survey (range ρ = 0.37–0.61). LPA validity coefficients were higher for the 24-hour survey, while MPA, VPA, and MVPA coefficients were higher for the LTPA survey. Study results suggest that both CPS-3 PA surveys are suitable for ranking or classifying participants in our population according to overall PA category or intensity-specific activity level.