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Jennifer L. Gay, Marsha Dowda, Ruth Saunders, and Alexandra Evans

Background:

Children in residential children’s homes (RCH) may be at increased risk for physical inactivity due to decreased access to opportunities for activity. Little is known about environmental determinants of physical activity for children in RCH.

Methods:

Thirty-minute blocks of MVPA and Total METs were measured using the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR). A staff interview, based on the Structural Ecologic Model of Health Behavior, assessed physical activity opportunities, structures, characteristics, policies, and social environment. Wilcoxon 2-sample tests were used to examine differences in environment by location and presence of a recreation director. Mixed model ANOVAs assessed the differences in child level activity by environmental variables.

Results:

There were significant correlations between opportunities and characteristics of physical activity, facilities, and equipment with total METS for children. Children in homes with a recreation director and homes in rural locations reported more physical activity. Only rural location had a significant effect on physical activity. Presence of a recreation director was significant in several models.

Conclusions:

Rural location may be conducive for increased physical activity in children at RCH. Employing a recreation director or other trained personnel may be an important policy determinant of physical activity for children.

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Sharon Taverno Ross, Marsha Dowda, Ruth Saunders, and Russell Pate

Little is known about how screen-based sedentary behavior at home and in preschool influences children’s health and activity patterns. The current study examined the individual and cumulative influence of TV viewing at home and in preschool on children’s physical activity (PA) and weight status. Children (n = 339) attending 16 preschools in South Carolina were grouped into high and low TV groups based on parent report of children’s TV viewing at home and director report of TV use/rules in preschool. T-tests and mixed model ANOVAs examined differences in weight status and PA (min/hr) by high and low TV groups. Results revealed that children who were classified as High TV both at home and in preschool had significantly lower levels of moderate-to-vigorous PA compared with their Low TV counterparts (8.3 (0.3) min/hr vs. 7.6 (0.2) min/hr, p < .05). However, there were no significant differences in weight status or physical activity between the high and low TV groups at home or in preschool when examined individually. These findings demonstrate the importance of total environmental TV exposure on preschooler’s PA. Longitudinal and observational research to assess preschoolers’ cumulative screen-based sedentary behavior and its relationship with PA and weight status is needed.

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Felipe Lobelo, Marsha Dowda, Karin A. Pfeiffer, and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Few investigations have assessed in adolescent girls the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between elevated exposure to electronic media (EM) and activity-related outcomes such as compliance with physical activity (PA) standards or cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF).

Methods:

Four-hundred thirty-seven white and African American girls were assessed at the 8th, 9th, and 12th grades. PA and EM (TV/video watching, electronic games, Internet use) were self-reported, and CRF was estimated using a cycle-ergometer test. Hi EM exposure was defined as ≥four 30-minute blocks/d.

Results:

8th-, 9th-, and 12th-grade girls in the Hi EM group showed lower compliance with PA standards and had lower CRF than the Low EM group (P ≤ .03). Girls reporting Hi EM exposure at 8th and 9th grades had lower vigorous PA and CRF levels at 12th grade than girls reporting less EM exposure (P ≤ .03).

Conclusion:

Girls reporting exposure to EM for 2 or more hours per day are more likely to exhibit and maintain low PA and CRF levels throughout adolescence. These results enhance the scientific basis for current public health recommendations to limit adolescent girls’ daily exposure to television, electronic games, and Internet use to a combined maximum of 2 hours.

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Karin Pfeiffer, Natalie Colabianchi, Marsha Dowda, Dwayne Porter, James Hibbert, and Russell R. Pate

Background:

In adults, associations between church attendance and positive health behaviors exist; however, similar evidence among children and youth is lacking. The purposes of this investigation were to examine the associations between physical activity (PA) and church attendance, PA and use of church as a PA facility, and PA and proximity to churches among those who use church as a PA facility (while addressing racial and geographical differences).

Methods:

High school girls (N = 915, age = 17.7 ± 0.6 years, 56% African American) completed the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall and surveys including demographics and use of PA facilities. Geographic Information Systems data were used to spatially examine the number of churches within a 0.75-mile street network buffer around girls’ homes. Associations were examined using mixed model analyses controlling for demographic factors.

Results:

For the overall sample, total METs (56 versus 52) and proportion of girls meeting PA guidelines (62% vs. 52%) were significantly higher in church attendees versus nonattendees. Among participants who used facilities, having more churches close to home was associated with more PA.

Conclusions:

Church attendance and use are correlates of physical activity that should be further explored and addressed in future intervention research with adolescent girls.

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Daniel R. Taber, Charlotte Pratt, Eileen Y. Charneco, Marsha Dowda, Jennie A. Phillips, and Scott B. Going

Background:

There is controversy regarding whether moderately-intense sports can improve physical fitness, which declines throughout adolescence among girls. The objective was to estimate the association between moderate and vigorous sports participation and cardiorespiratory fitness in a racially diverse sample of adolescent girls.

Methods:

Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using a modified physical work capacity test in 1029 eighth-grade girls participating in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls. Girls reported sports in which they participated in the last year on an organized activity questionnaire. Using general linear mixed models, the study regressed absolute and relative fitness on the number of vigorous and moderate sports in which girls participated, race/ethnicity, age, treatment group, fat mass, fat-free mass, and an interaction between race and fat-free mass.

Results:

The number of vigorous sports in which girls participated was positively associated with absolute fitness (β = 10.20, P = .04) and relative fitness (β = 0.17, P = .04). Associations were reduced, but not eliminated, after controlling for MET-weighted MVPA. Participation in moderate sports was not associated with either fitness measure.

Conclusions:

Vigorous sports participation is positively associated with cardiorespiratory fitness. Future longitudinal research should analyze whether promoting vigorous sports at an early age can prevent age-related declines in cardiorespiratory fitness among adolescent girls.

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Timothy Bungum, Marsha Dowda, Anne Weston, Stewart G. Trost, and Russell R. Pate

This study examined associations between psychosocial factors and physical activity in a group of youth (n = 520). Students completed the Previous Day Physical Activity Recall and a survey of potential determinants of physical activity. Regression analyses of intentions to be physically active revealed that enjoyment and self-efficacy predicted intentions for both males and females. Attitudes predicted moderate to vigorous activity (MVPA), and enjoyment and self-efficacy predicted vigorous activity (VPA) for males. Self-efficacy predicted both MVPA and VPA for females. The findings suggest that intervention programs targeted at youth should include developmentally appropriate activities that are fun and promote physical activity self-efficacy.

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Karin A. Pfeiffer, Marsha Dowda, Kerry L. McIver, and Russell R. Pate

This study examined correlates of objectively measured physical activity (PA) in a diverse sample of preschool children (age 3–5 years; n = 331). Accelerometer min·hr−1 of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and nonsedentary activity (NSA) were the outcome measures. Correlations among potential correlates and PA ranged from r = −0.12−0.26. Correlates in the final MVPA model were age, race, sex, BMI Z score, and parent perception of athletic competence, explaining 37% of the variance. The NSA model included the latter two variables, explaining 35% of the variance. Demographic factors were correlates of PA; parent perceptions of children’s competence may be important regarding preschoolers’ PA.

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Jennifer R. O’Neill, Karin A. Pfeiffer, Marsha Dowda, and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Little is known about the relationship between children’s physical activity (PA) in preschool (in-school) and outside of preschool (out-of-school). This study described this relationship.

Methods:

Participants were 341 children (4.6 ± 0.3 years) in 16 preschools. Accelerometers measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and total physical activity (TPA) in-school and out-of-school. In the full sample, Pearson correlation was used to describe associations between in-school and out-of-school PA. In addition, children were categorized as meeting or not meeting a PA guideline during school. MVPA and TPA were compared between the 2 groups and in-school and out-of-school using 2-way repeated-measures analysis of variance.

Results:

In the full sample, in-school and out-of-school PA were positively correlated for MVPA (r = .13, P = .02) and TPA (r = .15, P = .01). Children who met the guideline in-school remained comparably active out-of-school. However, those who did not meet the guideline were more active out-of-school than in-school. The groups were active at comparable levels while out-of-school. Identical patterns were seen for MVPA and TPA.

Conclusions:

Children’s in-school PA was positively associated with out-of-school PA. Children who did not meet the guideline in-school were more active out-of-school than in-school, suggesting preschool and classroom factors may reduce some children’s PA in-school.

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Wendell C. Taylor, James F. Sallis, Marsha Dowda, Patty S. Freedson, Karen Eason, and Russell R. Pate

The purposes of the study were to assess differences in physical activity levels and correlates of physical activity among overweight (‡ 85 th percentile of body mass index for their sex and age) and non-overweight (< 85th percentile) youth. The sample included 509 seventh through twelfth graders. Activity was measured by a 7-day, 46-item activity checklist. Overweight girls were more sedentary than non-overweight girls (p < .03), and non-overweight girls engaged in more vigorous physical activity than overweight girls (p < .03). For boys, there were no significant differences in activity. The regression analyses for vigorous activity yielded the largest total R2’s (R2 = .49 for overweight and R2 = .27 for non-overweight.) The significant factor for overweight youth was greater athletic coordination (p < .01). For non-overweight youth, the significant factors were greater family support (p < .05), greater peer support (p < .001), fewer barriers (p < .03), and greater athletic coordination (p < .01). Correlates of physical activity vary by weight status of young people.

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Natalie Colabianchi, Jamie L. Griffin, Kerry L. McIver, Marsha Dowda, and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Numerous studies have focused on the role of environments in promoting physical activity, but few studies have examined the specific locations where children are active and whether being active in these locations is associated with physical activity levels over time.

Methods:

Self-reported locations of where physical activity occurred and physical activity measured via accelerometry were obtained for a cohort of 520 children in 5th and 6th grades. Latent class analysis was used to generate classes of children defined by the variety of locations where they were active (ie, home, school grounds, gyms, recreational centers, parks or playgrounds, neighborhood, and church). Latent transition analyses were used to characterize how these latent classes change over time and to determine whether the latent transitions were associated with changes in physical activity levels.

Results:

Two latent classes were identified at baseline with the majority of children in the class labeled as ‘limited variety.’ Most children maintained their latent status over time. Physical activity levels declined for all groups, but significantly less so for children who maintained their membership in the ‘greater variety’ latent status.

Conclusions:

Supporting and encouraging physical activity in a variety of locations may improve physical activity levels in children.