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Adrienne Brown and Mohammad Siahpush

Background:

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of a number of diseases, prevents obesity, and has positive psychological effects. Approximately one-third of the Australian population has been reported as totally sedentary. We investigated socioeconomic predictors of being sedentary in a nationally representative sample of Australian adults.

Methods:

We analyzed data from 8643 females and 7600 males who responded to the 2001 National Health Survey. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association of being sedentary with a range of socioeconomic measures.

Results:

Adjusting for demographics, body-mass index, and smoking, we found that low socioeconomic status, indicated by low education level, blue-collar occupation, low income and area social disadvantage, increased the probability that people were sedentary.

Conclusions:

This research highlights that targeting people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with strategies to increase participation in physical activity may reduce morbidity and mortality associated with being sedentary.

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Pedro F. Saint-Maurice, Gregory J. Welk, Pedro Silva, Mohammad Siahpush and Jennifer Huberty

To better understand and promote youth physical activity (PA) it is important to determine settings and characteristics that promote or influence behavior. This study evaluated the utility of a multi-method approach (accelerometers plus direct observation) to better understand youth PA at recess. A total of 100 third through fifth grade children (52 males and 48 females) wore an Actigraph accelerometer during school recess for five consecutive days in both Fall and Spring. Trained observers coded PA behaviors at the same recess periods using the System for Observing Play and Leisure Activities (SOPLAY). Overall, gender comparisons based on both instruments indicated that boys were more active than girls. MVPA levels were higher during climbing/sliding activities (40–50%) and when the activity setting was supervised and equipped (30%). Both assessments indicated that boys were more active but the contextual data from the SOPLAY indicate that differences may vary according to the environmental context.

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Gopal K. Singh, Michael D. Kogan, Mohammad Siahpush and Peter C. van Dyck

Background:

This study examines state and regional disparities in vigorous physical activity levels among US children age 6 to 17 years.

Methods:

The 2003 National Survey of Children’s Health was used to calculate vigorous physical activity (VPA) and no days of vigorous physical activity (NVPA) prevalence by state and geographic region. Logistic and least squares regression were used to analyze geographic disparities.

Results:

Vigorous physical activity levels varied substantially across geographic areas, with the East Southcentral region of the US having the highest NVPA prevalence (13.4%) and the Pacific region the lowest prevalence (9.1%). Children in Georgia and Tennessee had 2.2 to 2.3 times higher odds and children in DC, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, New Jersey, South Carolina, and Washington (adjusted prevalence >13.4%) had 1.8 to 2.0 times higher odds of NVPA than children in California (adjusted prevalence = 8.4%). Adjustment for race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, social capital, television viewing, sleep behavior, and parental physical activity doubled the magnitude of geographic disparities in vigorous physical activity levels. Area poverty, income inequality, and violent crime rates were independent predictors of VPA and NVPA.

Conclusions:

Although individual and area-level socioeconomic factors are important predictors, substantial geographic disparities remain, with children in several Southern states having particularly high risks of NVPA.

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Mohammad Siahpush, Trish D. Levan, Minh N. Nguyen, Brandon L. Grimm, Athena K. Ramos, Tzeyu L. Michaud and Patrik L. Johansson

Background: The mortality benefits of meeting the US federal guidelines for physical activity, which includes recommendations for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities, have never been examined among smokers. Our aim was to investigate the association between reporting to meet the guidelines and all-cause, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and respiratory disease mortality among smokers. Methods: We pooled data from the 1998–2009 National Health Interview Survey, which were linked to records in the National Death Index (n = 68,706). Hazard ratios (HR) were computed to estimate the effect of meeting the physical activity guidelines on mortality. Results: Smokers who reported meeting the guidelines for physical activity had 29% lower risk of all-cause mortality (HR: 0.71; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.62–0.81), 46% lower risk of mortality from cardiovascular disease (HR: 0.54; 95% CI, 0.39–0.76), and 26% lower risk of mortality from cancer (HR: 0.74; 95% CI, 0.59–0.93), compared with those who reported meeting neither the aerobic nor the muscle-strengthening recommendations of the guidelines. Meeting the aerobic recommendation of the guidelines was associated with a 42% decline in that risk (HR: 0.58; 95% CI, 0.44–0.77). Conclusion: Smokers who adhere to physical activity guidelines show a significant reduction in mortality.