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Progress and Future Directions on Physical Activity Research Among Youth

Kelly R. Evenson and Jorge Mota

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Direct and Indirect Effects of Social Support on Youth Physical Activity Behavior

Pedro Silva, Ryan Lott, Jorge Mota, and Greg Welk

Social support (SS) from parents and peers are key reinforcing factors in the Youth Physical Activity Promotion (YPAP) model. This study aims to identify the relative contribution of parental and peer SS on youth participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Participants included 203 high school students (n = 125 girls; mean age 14.99 ± 1.55 years). MVPA was assessed by accelerometry. SS influences were evaluated using a well-established scale. Structural equation modeling measured (AMOS, Version 19) the relative fit of the YPAP models using both parental and peer SS. Parental SS had significant associations with both predisposing factors, enjoyment (β = .62, p < .01), and self-efficacy (β= .32, p < .01), as well a direct effect on MVPA (β = .30, p < .01). Peer SS had direct effect on MVPA (β = .33, p < .05), also significantly influenced levels of enjoyment (β = .47, p < .01) and self-efficacy (β = .67, p < .01). In both models self-efficacy mediated the influence on MVPA. The direct effects for parents and peers were similar. This demonstrates that both parental and peer social support exert a strong influence on adolescent MVPA.

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The Relationship between Socioeconomic Status and Adolescents’ Organized and Nonorganized Physical Activities

Maria Paula Santos, Carlos Esculcas, and Jorge Mota

The aim of this study was to explore the relationship between adolescents’ choices regarding physical activity—both organized and nonorganized—and their parents’ socioeconomic status (occupation and education level) and to characterize those differences. The sample comprised 594 adolescents (304 girls and 290 boys) between 13 and 20 years old (mean age of 15.9). Physical activity was assessed by questionnaire and was classified as organized or nonorganized. The findings showed that adolescents from families of higher socioeconomic status chose significantly more organized activities, whereas, for those choosing nonorganized activities, only mothers’ education was statistically significant. Participants who engaged in organized physical activity reported more moderate-intensity, moderate-frequency team activities, whereas adolescents’ in nonorganized physical activities reported more low-intensity, moderate-frequency individual activities.

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Seasonal Variations in Portuguese Adolescents’ Organized and Nonorganized Physical Activities

Maria Paula Santos, Margarida Matos, and Jorge Mota

This study aimed to describe seasonal variations in Portuguese adolescents’ physical activity, in organized and nonorganized physical activities, according to gender and age group. Data from the Portuguese second wave of the Health Behaviour in School-Aged Children (HBSC) study was used. The sample comprised 6,131 public school students ages 10 to 17 years (age = 14.0 ± 1.85 years old), and 51% were girls. Physical activity was measured by questionnaire and participants were categorized as “active” or “low active” according to their reported weekly participation in physical activity sessions. Participation in organized and nonorganized physical activities of all age groups was more frequent during the spring and summer period. Results suggest that appropriate strategies should be developed to promote involvement in sports and other physical activity, particularly organized physical activity programs, among adolescents throughout the year.

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Preschool Children Physical Activity Measurement: Importance of Epoch Length Choice

Susana Vale, Rute Santos, Pedro Silva, Luísa Soares-Miranda, and Jorge Mota

The purpose of this study was twofold: first to document the gender differences in Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) according to two epoch systems (5 vs. 60 s) in preschoolers, and, second to document the differences in physical activity (PA) patterns according to two different epoch choices. The sample comprised 59 preschoolers (31 girls) aged 2–5 years old. PA was assessed by accelerometer during school hours. The time spent in MVPA was significantly higher (p < .001) when a 5-s epoch was considered compared to the 60-s epoch, regardless gender. Further, it was found a difference of ?17 min difference between the 2 epoch systems for MVPA. Different epoch times might affect the time spent in MVPA among preschool children.

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Normative and Criterion-Related Standards for Shuttle Run Performance in Youth

Gustavo Silva, Luísa Aires, Jorge Mota, José Oliveira, and José Carlos Ribeiro

The purpose of this study was to calculate and validate reference standards for the 20-m shuttle run test (SR) in youths aged 10–18 years. Reference standards based on the number of completed SR laps were calculated by LMS method in a reference group of 5559 students. Cut-off values for SR laps were determined and tested by ROC curve analysis in a validation group (633 students), from which waist circumference, HDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose and mean arterial pressure were assessed to calculate a metabolic risk score, later dichotomized in low and high metabolic risk (HMRS). The accuracy of SR laps standards was significant for girls (AUC = 0.66; 95% CI = 0.58–0.74; p < .001) and boys (AUC = 0.71; 95% CI = 0.62–0.79; p < .001) for identifying subjects at HMRS. The 40th percentile was the best cut-off for SR laps in girls (SENS = 0.569; 1-SPEC = 0.330) and boys (SENS = 0.634; 1-SPEC = 0.266). New SR laps reference standards are able to discriminate metabolic risk levels, and may provide a valuable tool for early prevention of cardiovascular risk factors.

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Obesity, Physical Activity, Computer Use, and TV Viewing in Portuguese Adolescents

Jorge Mota, José Ribeiro, Maria Paula Santos, and Helena Gomes

This study aimed to examine the relationship between obesity status (body mass index: BMI) and physical and sedentary activities in adolescents. The sample comprised 230 girls and 220 boys (14.6 years old, SD = 1.6). Physical Activity (PA) was assessed by a questionnaire. Sedentary behaviors, such as TV viewing, computer use, and commuting to and from school were analyzed. Participants were categorized as nonobese or overweight/obese according to age-adapted BMI. No significant differences were found in relation to PA characteristics or in TV watching on weekdays vs. weekends. Nonobese participants spent significantly less time using computers on weekends (p = .04) and weekdays (p = .025) than their overweight/obese counterparts. Logistic regression analysis showed that those who used computers on weekdays more than 4 hrs per day were likely (odds ratio: 5.79; p < .003) to be overweight or obese. This study identified a relationship between computer use, but not physical activity or TV viewing, and weight status among Portuguese adolescents.

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Differences in Leisure-Time Activities According to Level of Physical Activity in Adolescents

Jorge Mota, Maria Paula Santos, and José Carlos Ribeiro

Background:

The main goals of this study were: (1) to examine the relationship between physical activity (PA) involvement and other leisure activities in a sample of Portuguese youth and (2) to analyze gender differences in PA and leisure-time activity structure.

Methods:

The sample comprised 1123 adolescents that were classified according to PA levels as active (n = 589) and nonactive (n = 534). A questionnaire assessing leisure-time activities was used.

Results:

Girls were significantly more engaged in social leisure, dutiful, and individual artistic activities during leisure time, whereas boys were more involved in sports and computer and TV viewing activities. Significant associations between PA and social leisure were found in girls (r = .18, P ≤ .001) and boys (r = .13, P ≤ .01) after adjustment for age. The same was found between level of PA and sports engagement during leisure (girls: r = .56, P ≤ .001; boys: r = .51, P ≤ .001). In girls (r = .10, P ≤ .05), but not in boys, a statistically significant association was found between PA and individual artistic activities.

Conclusions:

This study has certain implications for health-related PA promotion efforts. Our data give additional reinforcement to the importance of organized and nonorganized sports/PA during leisure time for overall levels of PA in adolescents.

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Association Between Moderate and Vigorous Physical Activity and Gross Motor Coordination in Preschool Children

Sandra Silva-Santos, Amanda Santos, Michael Duncan, Susana Vale, and Jorge Mota

Introduction: Adequate gross motor coordination is essential for children participating in age-related physical activities and has an important role in maintaining sufficient physical activity levels during the life course. Aim: To examine the association between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and gross motor coordination during sedentary behavior in early childhood (ages 3–6 y). Methods: The sample comprised 209 children aged 3–6 y. Gross motor coordination was assessed according to the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC-2). The battery to assess gross motor coordination comprised the aiming and catching, and balance components. MVPA was measured by accelerometry worn for 7 consecutive days (Monday to Sunday). Results: Our data indicated that 31.5% of the sample had low, 32.5% medium, and 36.0% high gross motor coordination. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that MVPA was positively associated with gross motor coordination, adjusted for gender and sedentary behavior. Conclusions: Preschoolers with high gross motor coordination spend more time in MVPA. Gross motor coordination development should therefore be a key strategy in childhood interventions aiming to promote physical activity.

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The Physical Activity Behaviors Outside School and BMI in Adolescents

Jorge Mota, José Carlos Ribeiro, Joana Carvalho, and Maria Paula Santos

Background:

The aim of this study is to investigate the associations between active transport (AT), nonorganized out of school physical activity (NOPA) and organized out of school PA (OPA) with BMI in Portuguese adolescents.

Methods:

The sample comprised 1121 adolescents age 13 to 17 years-old, which were assigned to 1 of 4 PA groups according to the sum of participation in different physical activity behaviors outside of school [AT, OPA, and NOPA].

Results:

In boys but not in girls, BMI was lower as the participation in more PA behaviors outside school increased. For those who only carry out 1 PA behavior, AT was the most common behavior (boys = 48.9%; girls = 55.1%). On the other hand, NOPA was the most common behavior for those engaged in 2 types of PA (girls = 51.6%; boys = 46%). For those that carried out all the PA behaviors outside school OPA was the most common choice in both girls (59.5%) and boys (54%). AT, NOPA and OPA are different sources of PA outside school that accrued in different ways to the increased level of PA.

Conclusions:

In boys but not in girls, BMI was lower as the participation in more PA behaviors outside school increased.