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Melody Oliver, Philip John Schluter and Grant Schofield

Background:

Accelerometers are widely used to quantify physical activity (PA) in preschoolers, yet no ‘best practice’ method for data treatment exists. The purpose of this study was to develop a robust method for data reduction using contemporary statistical methods and apply it to preschoolers’ accelerometer data.

Methods:

Children age 2 to 5 years were recruited in Auckland, New Zealand, and asked to wear accelerometers over 7 days. Average daily PA rates per second were derived for participants, estimated using negative binomial generalized estimating equation (GEE) models. Overall participant rates were derived and compared using normal GEE models. Descriptive information for data analyzed were compared with that derived using traditional data inclusion approaches.

Results:

Data were gathered from 78 of the 93 enrolled children over a median of 7 days. Daily PA rates ranged from 1.27 to 17.64 counts per second (median 5.70). Compared with traditional approaches, this method had many advantages, including improved data retention, the computation of a continuous measure, and facilitating powerful multivariable regression analyses, while providing similar descriptive information to existing methods.

Conclusion:

PA rates were successfully calculated for preschoolers’ activity description and advantages of the approach identified. This method holds promise for future use and merits further application and enhancement.

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Melody Oliver, Scott Duncan, Celia Kuch, Julia McPhee and Grant Schofield

Background:

Aims were to investigate sex, ethnicity, and age differences in achieving daily step count and television (TV) watching recommendations in schoolchildren.

Methods:

Participants were 615 children (n = 325) and adolescents (n = 290) aged 5 to 16 years. Activity was assessed over 5 days using pedometers; TV time was collected via parental proxy-report and self-report. Ethnic, sex, and age differences in step counts, TV time, and odds of meeting TV and step count recommendations were examined for weekdays, weekend days, and overall using generalized estimation equation modeling.

Results:

Overall, boys were more active than girls (P < .001). Adolescents were more active than children (P = .044), watched more TV (P = .005), and were less likely to meet TV watching recommendations (P = .004). Non-European children watched significantly more TV (P = .008), and were significantly less likely to meet TV recommendations than non-European children (P = .001). Participants watched more TV and accumulated less steps on weekend days than weekdays.

Conclusions:

Multifaceted interventions focusing on both increasing activity and decreasing TV time are needed, especially on weekends. Children and girls may benefit more from activity interventions, while ethnic-specific interventions focusing on TV habits may be most efficacious for adolescents.

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Melody Oliver, Hannah Badland, Suzanne Mavoa, Mitch J. Duncan and Scott Duncan

Background:

Global positioning systems (GPS), geographic information systems (GIS), and accelerometers are powerful tools to explain activity within a built environment, yet little integration of these tools has taken place. This study aimed to assess the feasibility of combining GPS, GIS, and accelerometry to understand transport-related physical activity (TPA) in adults.

Methods:

Forty adults wore an accelerometer and portable GPS unit over 7 consecutive days and completed a demographics questionnaire and 7-day travel log. Accelerometer and GPS data were extracted for commutes to/from workplace and integrated into a GIS database. GIS maps were generated to visually explore physical activity intensity, GPS speeds and routes traveled.

Results:

GPS, accelerometer, and survey data were collected for 37 participants. Loss of GPS data was substantial due to a range of methodological issues, such as low battery life, signal drop out, and participant noncompliance. Nonetheless, greater travel distances and significantly higher speeds were observed for motorized trips when compared with TPA.

Conclusions:

Pragmatic issues of using GPS monitoring to understand TPA behaviors and methodological recommendations for future research were identified. Although methodologically challenging, the combination of GPS monitoring, accelerometry and GIS technologies holds promise for understanding TPA within the built environment.

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Ralph Maddison, Leila Pfaeffli Dale, Samantha Marsh, Allana G. LeBlanc and Melody Oliver

Background:

This brief report provides grades for the 2014 New Zealand Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. The Report Card presents a review of current evidence across 9 key indicators, including physical activity (PA), organized sport and free play, sedentary behavior, and community and government initiatives across New Zealand.

Methods:

Nationally representative survey data were collated by researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, between June and December 2013. The grade for each indicator is based on the percentage of children and youth meeting a defined benchmark: A is 81%−100%; B is 61%−80%; C is 41%−60%, D is 21%−40%; F is 0%−20%; INC is incomplete data.

Results:

Overall PA received a score of B, as did Organized Sport Participation and Active Play. PA participation in School Environment scored slightly less with a score of B-. Sedentary Behaviors, Family and Peers, and Community and Built Environment scored a grade of C. Active transportation received a score of C-. An inconclusive grade was given for the Government indicator due to a lack of established international criteria for assessment.

Conclusions:

PA participation in New Zealand is satisfactory, but could improve. However, sedentary behavior is high. Of particular concern is the age-related decline in PA participation, particularly among adolescent females, and the increase in sedentary behavior.

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Melody Oliver, Philip J. Schluter, Genevieve N. Healy, El-Shadan Tautolo, Grant Schofield and Elaine Rush

Background:

Breaks in sedentary behavior are associated with reduced body size in general populations. This study is the first to consider the relationship between objectively assessed sedentary breaks and body size in Pacific children and their mothers.

Methods:

Pacific children aged 6 years (n = 393) and their mothers (n = 386) residing in New Zealand were invited to participate in 2006. Sedentary time was assessed via accelerometry. Average frequency, duration, and intensity of breaks in sedentary time per hour were calculated. Waist circumference was assessed and demographic factors collected via questionnaire. Relationships between waist circumference and potential associated factors for participants were assessed using linear regression analyses.

Results:

Accelerometer data were obtained from 126 children (52 boys) and 108 mothers. Mean (standard deviation) waist circumference values for mothers and children were 114 cm (20.1 cm) and 59.4 cm (7.8 cm), respectively. For mothers, time spent sedentary and being an ex/nonsmoker were positively related to waist circumference. For children, watching television every day and having a mother with a high waist circumference was associated with a greater waist circumference.

Conclusion:

Strategies that focus on reducing sedentary time in Pacific mothers and on encouraging television free days in young Pacific children are recommended.

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Melody Oliver, Karl Parker, Karen Witten, Suzanne Mavoa, Hannah M. Badland, Phil Donovan, Moushumi Chaudhury and Robin Kearns

Background:

The study aim was to determine the association between children’s objectively assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and active trips (AT) and independently mobile trips (IM) during out-of-school hours.

Methods:

Children aged 9 to 13 years (n = 254) were recruited from 9 schools in Auckland, New Zealand between 2011 and 2012. Children completed travel diaries and wore accelerometers for 7 days. Parents provided demographic information. Geographic information systems-derived distance to school was calculated. Accelerometer data were extracted for out of school hours only. Percentage of time spent in MVPA (%MVPA), AT, and IM were calculated. Generalized estimating equations were used to determine the relationship between daily %MVPA and AT and between daily %MVPA and IM, accounting for age, sex, ethnicity, distance to school, day of the week, and numeric day of data collection.

Results:

A significant positive relationship was observed between %MVPA and both AT and IM. For every unit increase in the daily percentage of trips made that were AT or IM, we found an average increase of 1.28% (95% CI 0.87%, 1.70%) and 1.15% (95% CI 0.71%, 1.59%) time in MVPA, respectively.

Conclusion:

Children’s AT and IM are associated with increased MVPA during out-of-school hours.