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Mary O. Hearst, John R. Sirard, Leslie Lytle, Donald R. Dengel and David Berrigan

Background:

The association of physical activity (PA), measured 3 ways, and biomarkers were compared in a sample of adolescents.

Methods:

PA data were collected on 2 cohorts of adolescents (N = 700) in the Twin Cities, Minnesota, 2007–2008. PA was measured using 2 survey questions [Modified Activity Questionnaire (MAQ)], the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR), and accelerometers. Biomarkers included systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP), lipids, percent body fat (%BF), and body mass index (BMI) percentile. Bivariate relationships among PA measures and biomarkers were examined followed by generalized estimating equations for multivariate analysis.

Results:

The 3 measures were significantly correlated with each other (r = .22–.36, P < .001). Controlling for study, puberty, age, and gender, all 3 PA measures were associated with %BF (MAQ = −1.93, P < .001; 3DPAR = −1.64, P < .001; accelerometer = −1.06, P = .001). The MAQ and accelerometers were negatively associated with BMI percentile. None of the 3 PA measures were significantly associated with SBP or lipids. The percentage of adolescents meeting the national PA recommendations varied by instrument.

Conclusions:

All 3 instruments demonstrated consistent findings when estimating associations with %BF, but were different for prevalence estimates. Researchers must carefully consider the intended use of PA data when choosing a measurement instrument.

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Anne Samuelson, Leslie Lytle, Keryn Pasch, Kian Farbakhsh, Stacey Moe and John Ronald Sirard

Background:

This article describes policies, practices, and facilities that form the physical activity climate in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota metro area middle and high schools and examines how the physical activity climate varies by school characteristics, including public/private, school location and grade level.

Methods:

Surveys examining school physical activity practices, policies and environment were administered to principals and physical education department heads from 115 middle and high schools participating in the Transdisciplinary Research on Energetics and Cancer-Identifying Determinants of Eating and Activity (TREC-IDEA) study.

Results:

While some supportive practices were highly prevalent in the schools studied (such as prohibiting substitution of other classes for physical education); other practices were less common (such as providing opportunity for intramural (noncompetitive) sports). Public schools vs. private schools and schools with a larger school enrollment were more likely to have a school climate supportive of physical activity.

Conclusions:

Although schools reported elements of positive physical activity climates, discrepancies exist by school characteristics. Of note, public schools were more than twice as likely as private schools to have supportive physical activity environments. Establishing more consistent physical activity expectations and funding at the state and national level is necessary to increase regular school physical activity.

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Daniel R. Taber, June Stevens, Leslie A. Lytle, Robyn D. Foreman, Jamie Moody, Deborah Parra-Medina and Charlotte A. Pratt

Background:

Some researchers have questioned if activity programs would be more effective if based outside school (eg, community leagues) rather than within schools. This study compared participation in activity programs based within and outside of school, and estimated the associations between participation and moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among adolescent girls.

Methods:

Within the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls, independent samples of 1559 6th-grade girls (age 11 to 12) and 3282 8th-grade girls (age 13 to 14) reported program participation using questionnaires. MVPA was measured using accelerometers. Linear mixed models accounted for school and site clustering.

Results:

Sixth-grade girls reported 5 times as many programs outside school as within school (4.1 vs. 0.8); daily MVPA was 0.29 minutes higher (1.2% of the mean) for each additional program outside school. Compared with 6th-grade girls, 8th-grade girls participated in 1.3 fewer programs outside school, while programs’ association with MVPA was unchanged. Conversely, school programs’ association with MVPA was greater in 8th grade. Daily MVPA was 1.33 minutes higher per school program, and participation declined 0.13.

Conclusion:

Programs within and outside schools can both increase activity among adolescent girls. Intervention research should focus on increasing participation in school programs, and increasing movement during programs outside school.

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Shujun Gao, Lisa Harnack, Kathryn Schmitz, Janet Fulton, Leslie Lytle, Pamela Van Coevering and David R. Jacobs Jr.

Background:

We assessed the validity and reliability of a modified Godin-Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire in youth in grades 6 through 8.

Methods:

The questionnaire was completed by 250 children twice at a 1 wk interval to assess reliability. After the second questionnaire administration the children wore an accelerometer for 7 d (criterion measure).

Results:

Pearson correlations between the first and second reports of frequency of participation in strenuous and moderate physical activity were 0.68 and 0.51, respectively. Self-reported participation in strenuous activity was weakly correlated with strenuous activity as measured by accelerometer (r = 0.23, P = 0.01). A weak non-significant correlation was found between reported versus measured engagement in moderate activity (r = 0.13, P = 0.07).

Conclusion:

Findings suggest the questionnaire evaluated in this study may be of very limited use for assessing children’s physical activity.

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Carrie D. Patnode, Leslie A. Lytle, Darin J. Erickson, John R. Sirard, Daheia J. Barr-Anderson and Mary Story

Background:

While much is known about the overall levels of physical activity and sedentary activity among youth, few studies have attempted to define clusters of such behaviors. The purpose of this study was to identify and describe unique classes of youth based on their participation in a variety of physical activity and sedentary behaviors.

Methods:

Latent class analysis was used to characterize segments of youth based on patterns of self-reported and accelerometer-measured participation in 12 behaviors. Children and adolescents (N = 720) from 6th-11th grade were included in the analysis. Differences in class membership were examined using multinomial logistic regression.

Results:

Three distinct classes emerged for boys and girls. Among boys, the 3 classes were characterized as “Active” (42.1%), “Sedentary” (24.9%), and “Low Media/Moderate Activity” (33.0%). For girls, classes were “Active” (18.7%), “Sedentary” (47.6%), and “Low Media/Functional Activity” (33.7%). Significant differences were found between the classes for a number of demographic indicators including the proportion in each class who were classified as overweight or obese.

Conclusions:

The behavioral profiles of the classes identified in this study can be used to suggest possible audience segments for intervention and to tailor strategies appropriately.

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Carolyn C. Voorhees, Dianne J. Catellier, J. Scott Ashwood, Deborah A. Cohen, Ariane Rung, Leslie Lytle, Terry L. Conway and Marsha Dowda

Background:

Socioeconomic status (SES) has well known associations with a variety of health conditions and behaviors in adults but is unknown in adolescents.

Methods:

Multilevel analysis was conducted to examine the associations between individual and neighborhood-level measures of SES and physical activity and body mass index in a sample of 1554 6th grade girls selected at random from 36 middle schools across 6 geographic regions in the United States that participated in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG). Data on parental education and employment, and receipt of subsidized school lunch were collected by questionnaire. Neighborhood-level SES was measured by the Townsend Index. Nonschool physical activity levels were measured by accelerometer and type, location and context was measured using a 3 day physical activity recall (3DPAR).

Results:

After controlling for race, lower parental education and higher levels of social deprivation were associated with higher BMI. In a model with both variables, effects were attenuated and only race remained statistically significant. None of the indices of SES were related to accelerometer measured physical activity. Bivariate associations with self-reported Moderate-Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) location and type (3DPAR) varied by SES.

Conclusion:

Among adolescent girls in the TAAG Study, the prevalence of overweight is high and inversely related to individual and neighborhood SES.

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Daniel A. Rodriguez, Gi-Hyoug Cho, John P. Elder, Terry L. Conway, Kelly R. Evenson, Bonnie Ghosh-Dastidar, Elizabeth Shay, Deborah Cohen, Sara Veblen-Mortenson, Julie Pickrell and Leslie Lytle

Background:

Studies that have combined accelerometers and global positioning systems (GPS) to identify walking have done so in carefully controlled conditions. This study tested algorithms for identifying walking trips from accelerometer and GPS data in free-living conditions. The study also assessed the accuracy of the locations where walking occurred compared with what participants reported in a diary.

Methods:

A convenience sample of high school females was recruited (N = 42) in 2007. Participants wore a GPS unit and an accelerometer, and recorded their out-of-school travel for 6 days. Split-sample validation was used to examine agreement in the daily and total number of walking trips with Kappa statistics and count regression models, while agreement in locations visited by walking was examined with geographic information systems.

Results:

Agreement varied based on the parameters of the algorithm, with algorithms exhibiting moderate to substantial agreement with self-reported daily (Kappa = 0.33−0.48) and weekly (Kappa = 0.41−0.64) walking trips. Comparison of reported locations reached by walking and GPS data suggest that reported locations are accurate.

Conclusions:

The use of GPS and accelerometers is promising for assessing the number of walking trips and the walking locations of adolescent females.