Brendan T. O’ Keeffe, Ciaran MacDonncha, Kwok Ng, and Alan E. Donnelly
Purpose: To examine the prevalence of and approaches to monitoring health-related physical fitness (HRPF) in secondary school-based physical education programs. Methods: Physical education teachers (N = 327; 56.6% females) from 235 secondary schools (33.1% of national total) in the Republic of Ireland completed a survey designed specifically for the purposes of this study. Results: HRPF tests were used by 95.3% of teachers. A significant decline in the testing frequency was observed from the junior grades (age 13–15 years) to the senior grades (age 16–18 years) (p < .001). Just over half (51.7%) of the teachers discarded the test results after a single use. Less than one third of the teachers indicated that they shared the test results with the students’ parents. The vast majority (87.0%) of the teachers agreed that the development of a digital platform would facilitate monitoring test results over time. Conclusions: HRPF testing is highly prevalent in secondary schools. More actions are needed to ensure that teachers use pedagogically sound student-centered approaches toward monitoring HRPF, with a focus on learning that may lead to more positive testing experiences for students. Consideration should be given to the development of digital platforms to facilitate monitoring and reporting HRPF.
Kwok Ng, Jorma Tynjälä, Dagmar Sigmundová, Lilly Augustine, Mariane Sentenac, Pauli Rintala, and Jo Inchley
Physical activity (PA) is an important health-promoting behavior from which adolescents with long-term illnesses or disabilities (LTID) can benefit. It is important to monitor differences across countries in adherence with PA recommendations for health. The aim of this study was to compare PA levels among 15 European countries after disaggregating data by disability. Data from pupils (mean age = 13.6 years, SD = 1.64) participating in the 2013/2014 Health Behavior in School-aged Children study were analyzed to compare adolescents without LTID, with LTID, and with LTID that affects their participation (affected LTID). Logistic regression models adjusted for age and family affluence, stratified by gender and country group with PA recommendations for health as the outcome variable. With the data pooled, 15% (n = 9,372) of adolescents reported having LTID and 4% (n = 2,566) having affected LTID. Overall, fewer boys with LTID met PA recommendations for health than boys without LTID, although it was not statistically significant either at the national levels or for girls.
Kwok Ng, Pauli Rintala, Jorma Tynjälä, Raili Välimaa, Jari Villberg, Sami Kokko, and Lasse Kannas
Adolescents’ physical activity level is a major source of concern. For adolescents with long-term illnesses or disabilities (LTID), being physically active can prevent secondary conditions. This is one of the first studies reporting trends in physical activity of adolescents with LTID in relation to gender, age, and sports club membership.
Data were collected from the Health Behavior in School-aged Children study in Finland during 2002, 2006, 2010, and 2014. In 13- and 15-year-olds (N = 2206), 17.1% reported having LTID. Daily physical activity recall was the dependent variable. Binary logistic regression analysis was conducted eparately for sports club members (n = 936) and nonmembers (n = 1270).
The proportion of physically active adolescents with LTID in 2014 was higher than in 2002 for girls (15.6% vs 8.7%) and boys (26.6% vs 13.0%). Girl sports club members were 2 times more likely to be physically active in 2014 than in 2002. The largest trend between 2014 and 2002 was among boy nonmembers (odds ratio: 4.62, 95% confidence interval, 2.02–10.58).
More adolescents with LTID took part in daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity in 2014 than in 2002; however, physical activity levels still remain low. Sports club membership was similar to that of the general population.
Kwok W. Ng, Gorden Sudeck, Adilson Marques, Alberto Borraccino, Zuzana Boberova, Jana Vasickova, Riki Tesler, Sami Kokko, and Oddrun Samdal
Background: Regular physical activity and doing well in school are important for growing adolescents. In this study, the associations between physical activity and perceived school performance (PSP) are examined together. Methods: Young adolescents from 42 countries (n = 193,949) in Europe and Canada were examined for associations between self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and PSP. Multinominal analyses were conducted with 0 to 2 days of MVPA and below average PSP as reference categories. Adjusted odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were reported for pooled data and individual countries after controlling for family affluence scale. Results: Girls had better PSP than boys, yet more boys participated in daily MVPA than girls. The associations between PSP and MVPA were inverted U shaped. The strongest association for very good PSP was among young adolescents who reported 5 to 6 days MVPA (odds ratios = 2.3; 95% confidence interval, 2.1–2.4) after controlling for family affluence scale. Conclusions: Young adolescents with average or better PSP took part in at least 3 days of MVPA in a week, suggesting that participating in some MVPA was positively associated with PSP. More days of MVPA in a week, especially for young adolescents with below average PSP, would be beneficial for health and school performance.