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Mareesa O’Dwyer, Stuart J. Fairclough, Nicola Diane Ridgers, Zoe Rebecca Knowles, Lawrence Foweather and Gareth Stratton

Background:

Identifying periods of the day which are susceptible to varying levels of physical activity (PA) may help identify key times to intervene and potentially change preschool children’s PA behaviors. This study assessed variability of objectively measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during weekdays and weekend days among preschool children.

Methods:

One hundred and eighty-eight children (aged 3 to 5 years; 53.2% boys) from a northwest English city wore uni-axial accelerometers for 7 consecutive days.

Results:

Higher levels of MVPA were recorded in boys, particularly those who attended preschool for a half day. Children who attended preschool for a full day engaged in 11.1 minutes less MVPA than children who attended for a half day. After-school hours were characterized by a decrease in activity for all groups. Patterns of activity during the weekend were smoother with less variability.

Conclusion:

This study identified discrete segments of the week, specifically afterschool and during the weekend, when preschoolers engage in low levels of PA. Higher levels of MVPA among children who attended preschool for less time each day suggests that the structured preschool environment is related to decreased activity. Consequently, there is a need for interventions in young children to focus on school and home environments.

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Nicola D. Ridgers, Lee E.F. Graves, Lawrence Foweather and Gareth Stratton

Understanding children’s physical activity (PA) patterns and the factors that may influence PA are important for developing interventions within this population. One hundred and ten children aged 9–10 years from 8 schools had their PA patterns assessed over 7 days. Physiological and self-report data were also collected. Multilevel analyses revealed that cardiorespiratory fitness was a consistent, significant and positive predictor of weekday and weekend PA, while the availability of home sedentary activities was a significant but negative predictor of PA. Since a range of variables were associated with PA levels, intervention developers should be cognizant of variables that may influence children’s activity.

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Jayne Henaghan, Nicola McWhannell, Lawrence Foweather, N. Tim Cable, Alan M. Batterham, Gareth Stratton and Keith P. George

This exploratory trial evaluates the effect of a structured exercise (STEX) or lifestyle intervention (PASS) program upon cardiovascular (CV) disease risk factors in children. Sixty-one schoolchildren were randomly assigned by school to an intervention or control (CON) condition. The effect of the STEX (compared with CON) was a mean benefit of −0.018 mm for average maximum carotid intimamedia thickness. The PASS intervention did not result in clinically important effects, and no other substantial changes were observed. Relatively high probability of clinically beneficial effects of the STEX intervention suggests that a larger, definitive randomized trial with longer follow-up is warranted.

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Cara Shearer, Hannah R. Goss, Lowri C. Edwards, Richard J. Keegan, Zoe R. Knowles, Lynne M. Boddy, Elizabeth J. Durden-Myers and Lawrence Foweather

Physical literacy continues to gain global momentum, yet the definition and underlying concept of physical literacy remain contested in both research and practice. This lack of clarity has the potential to undermine the operationalization of physical literacy. This paper considers the various definitions of physical literacy that are currently adopted internationally. Physical literacy experts identified seven leading groups that have established physical literacy initiatives. Although each group is unified in using the term physical literacy, there are contrasting definitions and interpretations of the concept. Common themes were identified, including the (a) influence of physical literacy philosophy, (b) core elements of physical literacy, (c) lifelong nature of physical literacy, and (d) the need to scientifically pursue a robust operationalization of the concept. We conclude by recommending that programs relating to physical literacy should provide a definition, a clear philosophical approach, and transparency with how their actions align with this approach.