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  • Author: Kate Heelan x
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Erin Holt, Todd Bartee and Kate Heelan

Background:

Implementing physical activity (PA) within academic curricula increases energy expenditure and enhances academic achievement in elementary students. The purposes of the study were to determine the extent teachers met the 20-minute PA policy, identify how teachers met the policy, and measure the level of intensity of PA provided.

Methods:

Four elementary schools (grades K−5; 68 classroom teachers) implemented a district-mandated 20-minute PA policy. Teachers recorded PA for 1 week in September 2010 and February 2011. A sample of 142 students (grades K−5) wore accelerometers to measure school day PA.

Results:

While 40% and 4% of teachers in September and February respectively met the policy all 5 days, 72.5% and 45.7% of teachers in September and February respectively implemented PA at least 3 days/week. Accelerometry results indicated curriculum-based lessons (CBL; 59.92 ± 20.38 min) or walk/run periods (51.56 ± 18.67 min) significantly increased school day MVPA (P < .05) above no additional activity (30.96 ± 22.57 min).

Conclusions:

Although the teachers did not meet the 20-minute policy every day, the increased amount of PA achieved each week through the teachers’ efforts is a significant contributor to total daily PA levels of children.

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Kate A. Heelan and Joey C. Eisenmann

Background:

It is uncertain as to whether physical activity (PA) may influence the body composition of young children.

Purpose:

To determine the association between PA, media time, and body composition in children age 4 to 7 y.

Methods:

100 children (52 girls, 48 boys) were assessed for body-mass index (BMI), body fat, fat mass (FM), and fat-free mass using dual energy x-ray absorbtiometryptiometry (DXA). PA was monitored using accelerometers and media time was reported by parental proxy.

Results:

In general, correlations were low to moderate at best (r < 0.51), but in the expected direction. Total media time and TV were significantly associated with BMI (r = 0.51, P < 0.05) and FM (r = 0.29 to 0.30, P < 0.05) in girls. In boys, computer usage was significantly associated with FM in boys (r = 0.31, P < 0.05).

Conclusion:

The relatively low correlations suggest that other factors may influence the complex, multi-factorial body composition phenotype of young children.

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Kate Heelan, H. Jason Combs, Bryce M. Abbey, Paul Burger and Todd Bartee

Background:

The decline in active commuting to and from school in the United States is, in part, due to urban design standards and public policies that promote automobile travel and discourage pedestrian activity.

Purpose:

The current investigation examines active commuting at neighborhood schools and how it is altered by distance to school, student age and its potential impact on Body Mass Index.

Methods:

Demographic and transportation datasets were obtained for 5367 elementary students (K−5th grade) and middle school students (6th−8th grade) in 2 Midwestern communities.

Results:

4379 (81.6%) students were successfully geocoded and 21.9% actively commute to school at least half of the time meeting the Healthy People 2010 objective 22−14. Of those students who could potentially actively commute to school (0.5 mile for grades K−5 and 1 mile for grades 6−8) 36.6% are passive commuters. No significant negative associations were found between BMI z-score or BMI percentile with accumulation of activity through active commuting (frequency × distance) for elementary (r = −0.04, P = .27) or middle school students (r = .027, P = .56).

Conclusion:

Many elementary students living within 0.3−0.4 miles are being driven to school. Promoting pedestrian-friendly communities and making healthy and sustainable transportation choices should be priorities for community leaders and school administrators.

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Kate A. Heelan, Bryce M. Abbey, Joseph E. Donnelly, Matthew S. Mayo and Gregory J. Welk

Background:

Walking to and from school has potential to increase daily physical activity among children.

Methods:

A Walking School Bus (WSB) intervention was implemented for 2 years in 2 schools with a third school as a control. The primary aim evaluated school-wide prevalence of walking to school by self-report 6 times (fall, winter, spring). The secondary aims compared objective physical activity levels among a subsample of research participants (intervention [INT] = 201, control [CON] =123) and between frequency of walking to school groups. INT and CON participants wore an accelerometer during 4 time periods to assess daily physical activity and were measured for body mass index (BMI) and body fat each fall and spring.

Results:

School-wide prevalence of walking to school frequently (>50% of the time each week) was 27% higher in the WSB schools than in the control school. INT obtained significantly more daily physical activity than CON (78.0 [38.9] vs 60.6 [27.7] min/d, P < .05). In addition, across all schools, frequent walkers obtained 25% more physical activity (P < .05), gained 58% less body fat (P < .05), and attenuated BMI by 50% (P < .05) compared with passive commuters.

Conclusion:

This study suggests a WSB intervention may increase frequency of walking to school and establishes a link with increased daily physical activity.

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Jill R. Reed, Paul Estabrooks, Bunny Pozehl, Kate Heelan and Christopher Wichman

Background: Most rural adults do not meet current guidelines for physical activity (PA). A 12-week feasibility study tested the effectiveness of using the 5A’s model for PA counseling on rural adults’ PA behaviors. Methods: Inactive rural adults recruited from a primary care clinic were randomized to an intervention (n = 30) or control (n = 29) group. All subjects wore a Fitbit to track steps and active minutes. The intervention group completed action plans to improve self-regulatory PA strategies and received weekly motivational text messages to improve PA behaviors. Theory of planned behavior constructs and self-regulatory strategies of planning, goal setting, and tracking (steps and active minutes) were measured with both groups. The control group received the Fitbit only. Results: All individuals became more physically active; however, no significant differences between groups in active minutes or steps were found. All subjects, regardless of group, increased steps (P > .05). There were no statistically significant differences between groups on any of the theoretical variables. Conclusions: It is vitally important to continue to find ways to make PA a priority to improve the overall health and well-being of rural adults. Future research warrants adjusting the intervention dose and strategies to increase PA that can be maintained long term.

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Joey C. Eisenman, Mark A. Sarzynski, Jerod Tucker and Kate A. Heelan

The purpose of this study was to examine if offspring physical activity may affect the relationship between maternal overweight and offspring fatness and blood pressure (BP). Subjects included 144 maternal-child pairs (n = 74 boys and 70 girls, mean age = 7.3 yrs). Maternal prepregnancy BMI was determined by self-report. Offspring characteristics included resting systolic and diastolic BP, body fatness by dual energy x-ray absorbtiometry, and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) using the Actigraph accelerometer. Children whose mothers were overweight or obese prepregnancy (Prepreg OW) were significantly larger and fatter than children from mothers with a normal prepregnancy BMI (Prepreg NORM). Prepreg OW children also had higher mean arterial pressure than Prepreg NORM children. BP values were not different across maternal Prepreg BMI/MVPA groups. Percent fat was significantly different across Prepreg BMI/MVPA groups. Prepreg OW children that did not meet the daily recommended value of MVPA were the fattest. Prepreg OW children that attained 360 min of MVPA/day had a mean percent body fat that was similar to Prepreg NORM children of either MVPA group.

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Mark A. Sarzynski, Joey C. Eisenmann, Gregory J. Welk, Jared Tucker, Kim Glenn, Max Rothschild and Kate Heelan

The present study examined the association between the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism, physical activity, and resting blood pressure (BP) in a sample of 132 children (48.4% female). Children attaining 60 min/day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) possessed lower % body fat (29% vs 24%, p < .05). Resting BP did not significantly differ between genotypes. Furthermore, partial correlations between MVPA and BP were low and did not vary by ACE genotype. Thus, the ACE I/D genotype is not associated with BP and does not modify the relationship between physical activity and BP in this sample of children.