Background: To examine the associations between school-age children’s sedentary behavior, screen time, and 3 physical activity attributes: muscular strength, cardiorespiratory endurance (CRE), and fundamental movement skills. Methods: Cross-sectional survey of 2734 children in years 2 and 4 and 3671 adolescents in years 6, 8, and 10. Total sitting time, 6 screen time behaviors, and physical activity were measured by self-report. Muscular strength was assessed by standing broad jump; CRE by 20-m shuttle run test; and fundamental movement skills by process-oriented checklists. Associations between incremental sitting and screen time (in hours) and meeting the healthy zone of physical activity attributes were examined using logistic regression. Results: After adjusting for covariates and physical activity, children had lower odds of achieving the healthy zone for muscular strength and CRE for each hour of week (but not weekend) screen time. For adolescents, each hour of screen time per day was associated with lower odds of achieving the healthy fitness zone for CRE, locomotor skills, and overall healthy zone, and each hour of weekend screen time was associated with lower odds of achieving the healthy zone for most attributes and overall healthy zone. The associations were slightly stronger among adolescent girls than boys. The findings were similar for total sitting time. Conclusions: Screen time was associated with a lower likelihood to achieve healthy zones of physical activity attributes, and the effect was more consistent and slightly stronger among adolescents than children. This may suggest that the negative effects of screen time are incremental, emerging during adolescence.
Louise L. Hardy, Ding Ding, Louisa R. Peralta, Seema Mihrshahi, and Dafna Merom
Alexander Engel, Carolyn Broderick, Nancy van Doorn, Louise Hardy, Rachel Ward, Natalie Kwai, and Belinda Parmenter
Purpose: To determine the effect of a 12-week fundamental motor skill (FMS) program on FMS and physical activity (PA) on preschool-aged children. Method: A cluster randomized controlled trial. The intervention (PhysicaL ActivitY and Fundamental Motor Skills in Pre-schoolers [PLAYFun] Program) was a 12-week games-based program, delivered directly to the children in childcare centers by exercise physiologists. Children in the control arm received the usual preschool curriculum. Outcomes included FMS competence (Test of Gross Motor Development-2) and PA (accelerometer) assessed at baseline, 12 weeks, and 24 weeks (12-wk postintervention). Results: Fifty children (mean age = 4.0 [0.6] y; 54% male) were recruited from 4 childcare centers. Two centers were randomized to PLAYFun and 2 centers were randomized to the waitlist control group. Children attended on average 2.0 (1.0) 40-minute sessions per week. The PLAYFun participants demonstrated significant increases in object control (P < .001) and total FMS (P = .010) competence at week 12, compared with controls in a group × time interaction. Girls, but not boys, in PLAYFun significantly increased moderate to vigorous PA after the intervention (P = .004). These increases were not maintained 12-week postcompletion of PLAYFun. Conclusions: The PLAYFun Program is effective at improving FMS competence in boys and girls and increasing PA in girls. However, improvements are not maintained when opportunities to practice are not sustained.
Sedigheh Salami, Paulo Felipe Ribeiro Bandeira, Clarice Martins, Louise L. Hardy, Amir Shams, and Parvaneh Shamsipour Dehkordi
Purpose: To examine the factor structure and measurement invariance of the Körperkoordinations Test Für Kinder (KTK) and covariates of motor competence in a sample of Iranian children aged 5–14 years. Methods: Participants were children aged 5–14 years (N = 432, 61% boys). Age, sex, and body mass index were collected. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted to investigate the factorial structure of KTK and multigroup CFA carried out to test measurement invariance across sexes and age groups. In addition, we calculated a model with covariates to identify the association between KTK items with age, sex, and body mass index z score. Results: CFA supported the construct validity of a one-factor model with an appropriate fit indices that the four subtests loaded on the same factor namely motor competence. Furthermore, according to the magnitude of changes in root mean square error of approximation and comparative fit index between nested models, the assumption of KTK measurement invariance across age-groups and sex were valid. Finally, adequate fit indices were found for the multigroup CFA path model of KTK with the covariates sex, age, and body mass index z score. Conclusion: The KTK is a valid, reliable, and valuable instrument for assessing motor competence of Iranian children and adolescents.
Natasha Schranz, Vanessa Glennon, John Evans, Sjaan Gomersall, Louise Hardy, Kylie D. Hesketh, David Lubans, Nicola D. Ridgers, Leon Straker, Michalis Stylianou, Grant R. Tomkinson, Stewart Vella, Jenny Ziviani, and Tim Olds
Natasha K. Schranz, Timothy Olds, Roslyn Boyd, John Evans, Sjaan R. Gomersall, Louise Hardy, Kylie Hesketh, David R. Lubans, Nicola D. Ridgers, Leon Straker, Stewart Vella, Jenny Ziviani, and Grant R. Tomkinson
Two years on from the inaugural Active Healthy Kids Australia (AHKA) Physical Activity Report Card, there has been little to no change with the majority of Australian children still insufficiently active.
The 2016 AHKA Report Card was developed using the best available national- and state-based physical activity data, which were evaluated by the AHKA Research Working Group using predetermined weighting criteria and benchmarks to assign letter grades to the 12 Report Card indicators.
In comparison with 2014, Overall Physical Activity Levels was again assigned a D- with Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation increasing to a B (was B-) and Active Transport declining to a C- (was C). The settings and sources of influence again performed well (A- to a C+), however Government Strategies and Investments saw a decline (C+ to a D). The traits associated with physical activity were also graded poorly (C- to a D).
Australian youth are insufficiently active and engage in high levels of screen-based sedentary behaviors. While a range of support structures exist, Australia lacks an overarching National Physical Activity Plan that would unify the country and encourage the cultural shift needed to face the inactivity crisis head on.
Natasha Schranz, Tim Olds, Dylan Cliff, Melanie Davern, Lina Engelen, Billie Giles-Corti, Sjaan Gomersall, Louise Hardy, Kylie Hesketh, Andrew Hills, David Lubans, Doune Macdonald, Rona Macniven, Philip Morgan, Tony Okely, Anne-Maree Parish, Ron Plotnikoff, Trevor Shilton, Leon Straker, Anna Timperio, Stewart Trost, Stewart Vella, Jenny Ziviani, and Grant Tomkinson
Like many other countries, Australia is facing an inactivity epidemic. The purpose of the Australian 2014 Physical Activity Report Card initiative was to assess the behaviors, settings, and sources of influences and strategies and investments associated with the physical activity levels of Australian children and youth.
A Research Working Group (RWG) drawn from experts around Australia collaborated to determine key indicators, assess available datasets, and the metrics which should be used to inform grades for each indicator and factors to consider when weighting the data. The RWG then met to evaluate the synthesized data to assign a grade to each indicator.
Overall Physical Activity Levels were assigned a grade of D-. Other physical activity behaviors were also graded as less than average (D to D-), while Organized Sport and Physical Activity Participation was assigned a grade of B-. The nation performed better for settings and sources of influence and Government Strategies and Investments (A- to a C). Four incompletes were assigned due to a lack of representative quality data.
Evidence suggests that physical activity levels of Australian children remain very low, despite moderately supportive social, environmental and regulatory environments. There are clear gaps in the research which need to be filled and consistent data collection methods need to be put into place.