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Ming Wen, Lifeng Li, and Dejun Su

Background:

Physical activity (PA) has been routinely linked to lower all-cause mortality, yet extant research in the United States is primarily based on nonrepresentative samples. Evidence is scant on the relative and independent merits of leisure-time (LTPA) versus non-leisure-time (NLTPA) activities and how the PA-mortality link may vary across racial-ethnic-gender groups.

Methods:

Data were from Health and Retirement Study which began in 1992 collecting data on individuals aged 51–61 years who were subsequently surveyed once every 2 years. The current study assessed group-specific effects of LTPA and NLTPA measured in 1992 on mortality that occurred during the 1992–2008 follow-up period. Cox proportional hazard analyses were performed to examine the PA-mortality link.

Results:

Net of a wide range of controls, both LTPA and NLTPA showed a gradient negative relation with mortality. No gender-PA interaction effects were evident. Some interaction effects of PA with race-ethnicity were found but they were weak and inconsistent. The mortality reduction effects of PA seemed robust across racial-ethnic-gender groups.

Conclusions:

Regardless of personal background, PA is a major health promoting factor and should be encouraged in aging populations. More research is needed to assess relative merits of different types and domains of PA.

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Chris Rissel, Dafna Merom, Adrian Bauman, Jan Garrard, Li Ming Wen, and Carolyn New

Background:

Encouraging cycling could increase levels of physical activity and health in the community. A population survey of cycling and physical activity was conducted as part of the baseline evaluation of a new intervention research project (Cycling Connecting Communities).

Methods:

A telephone survey of adults (18+) living within 2 kilometers of selected major new bicycle paths in 3 local government areas in south western Sydney, Australia was conducted using a 2-stage sampling method. Multiple logistic regression analyses examined factors associated with riding in the last year, wanting to cycle more, and use of local bicycle paths.

Results:

With a 65% response rate, 1450 interviews were completed. Having ridden a bicycle in the past year was associated with younger age, being male, having access to a bicycle, and living close to destinations of interest. Two thirds of respondents (65%) wanted to ride more than they currently did. Factors associated with wanting to ride more were having children aged between 5−18 years, having used local bicycle paths, and perceptions of ease of cycling.

Conclusions:

The study found that there is a latent desire for more cycling among respondents, prompted to some extent by having children of an age (5−18 years) that like cycling, and having a reasonable opportunity to cycle due to local bicycle paths. Being relatively close to destinations of interest increases the likelihood of recent cycling.

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Limin Buchanan, Huilan Xu, Lyndel Hewitt, Sarah Taki, and Li Ming Wen

Background: Evidence links tummy time (ie, the time spent in awake prone positioning that is encouraged and supervised by an adult) to infants’ health outcomes such as gross motor and total development. However, the associations between tummy time and other movement and sleep behaviors as the child develops remain unknown. The aim of this study was to examine whether early introduction and practice of tummy time within the first 6 months of age were associated with active and outdoor playtime, screen time, and nocturnal sleep time of children when they were 12 and 24 months old. Methods: A longitudinal analysis was conducted using data extracted from an Australian trial. Using telephone surveys with mothers, demographic data were collected from third trimester of pregnancy and tummy time data were collected at 6 months of age. Data on playtime, screen time, and nocturnal sleep duration as dependent variables were collected at 12 and 24 months of age. Multiple logistic regression models were built to investigate the associations. Results: Children who started tummy time within 4 weeks of age were more likely to have >10 hours sleep at night at 12 months (adjusted odds ratio 1.54, 95% confidence interval, 1.08–2.19). They were more likely to have >3 hours per day of outdoor play and have <1 hour per day of screen time at 24 months. Children who practiced tummy time every day were more likely to have >2 hours per day of active play at 12 months and have <1 hour per day of screen time at 24 months. Conclusions: Starting tummy time earlier and frequently was associated with more favorable movement and sleep of young children at 12 and 24 months of age.

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Li Ming Wen, Hidde P. van der Ploeg, James Kite, Aaron Cashmore, and Chris Rissel

Assessing young children’s physical activity and sedentary behavior can be challenging and costly. This study aimed to assess the validity of a brief survey about activity preferences as a proxy of physical activity and of a 7-day activity diary, both completed by the parents and using accelerometers as a reference measure. Thirty-four parents and their children (aged 3–5 years) who attended childcare centers in Sydney (Australia) were recruited for the study. Parents were asked to complete a 9-item brief survey about activity preferences of their child and a 7-day diary recording the child’s physical activity and sedentary behaviors. Both measures were compared with accelerometer data collected from the child over the same period as the diary survey. The findings suggest that parent completed diaries have acceptable correlation coefficients with accelerometer measures and could be considered in future research assessing physical activity and sedentary behavior of children aged 3–5 years.