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Niamh M. Murphy and Adrian Bauman

Background:

Large-scale, one-off sporting or physical activity (PA) events are often thought to impact population PA levels. This article reviews the evidence and explores the nature of the effect.

Methods:

A search of the published and grey literature was conducted to July 2005 using relevant databases, web sources, and personal contacts. Impacts are described at the individual, societal and community, and environmental levels.

Results:

Few quality evaluations have been conducted. While mass sporting events appear to influence PA-related infrastructure, there is scant evidence of impact on individual participation at the population level. There is some evidence that events promoting active transport can positively affect PA.

Conclusions:

The public health potential of major sporting and PA events is often cited, but evidence for public health benefit is lacking. An evaluation framework is proposed.

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Aoife Lane, Michael Harrison and Niamh Murphy

Background:

Independent associations between screen time (ST)/physical activity (PA) and overweight (OW)/obesity have been demonstrated but little research exists on the role of ST among sufficiently active children.

Purpose:

To examine the combined influence of ST and PA on risk of OW/obesity in a nationally representative sample of 9-year-old Irish children.

Methods:

The sample in this cross sectional analysis contained 8568 children. Self-report parent data were used to group children into ST and PA categories and related to OW/obesity using forced entry logistic regression.

Results:

High ST (> 3 hours/day), bedroom TV and mobile phone ownership increased risk of OW/obesity in high and low active children (P < .05). Low PA (<9 bouts fortnightly) was also associated with OW/obesity. In combined analyses, OW/obesity was lowest in the reference low ST/high PA group with ORs of 1.38, 1.63, and 2.07, respectively, in the low ST/low PA, high ST/high PA, and high ST/low PA groups. Access to electronic media, low socioeconomic status, parental obesity, and not engaging in sports were all related to high ST (P < .05).

Conclusion:

This study supports findings that ST is associated with OW/Obesity demonstrating this separately in high and low active children.

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Adrian E. Bauman, Niamh Murphy and Victor Matsudo

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Barry Lambe, Niamh Murphy and Adrian Bauman

Background:

There is a paucity of intervention studies assessing active travel to school as a mechanism to increase physical activity. This paper describes the impact of a community-wide intervention on active travel to primary schools in 2 Irish towns.

Methods:

This was a repeat cross-sectional study of a natural experiment. Self-report questionnaires were completed by 5th and 6th grade students in 3 towns (n = 1038 students in 2 intervention towns; n = 419 students in 1 control town) at baseline and by a new group of students 2 years later at follow-up. The absolute change in the proportion of children walking and cycling to school (difference in differences) was calculated.

Results:

There was no overall intervention effect detected for active travel to or from school. This is despite an absolute increase of 14.7% (1.6, 27.9) in the proportion of children that indicated a preference for active travel to school in the town with the most intensive intervention (town 2).

Conclusions:

Interventions designed to increase active travel to school hold some promise but should have a high-intensity mix of infrastructural and behavioral measures, be gender-specific, address car dependency and focus on travel home from school initially.

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Joseph J. Murphy, Ciaran MacDonncha, Marie H. Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Alan M. Nevill and Catherine B. Woods

Background: Although levels of physical activity (PA) have been researched, no information on how university students organize their PA across different life domains is available. The purpose of this study is to explore if and how students organize their PA across transport and recreational domains, and to identify the psychosocial factors related to these patterns. Methods: Students from 31 Irish universities completed a supervised online survey measuring participant characteristics, psychosocial factors, and PA. Two-step cluster analysis was used to identify specific PA patterns in students. Binary logistic regressions identified factors associated with cluster membership while controlling for age, sex, household income, and perceived travel time to a university. Results: Analysis was performed on 6951 students (50.7% male; 21.51 [5.55] y). One Low Active cluster emerged. Four clusters containing a form of PA emerged including Active Commuters, Active in University, Active Outside University, and High Active. Increases in motivation and planning improved the likelihood of students being categorized in a cluster containing PA. Conclusion: One size does not fit all when it comes to students PA engagement, with 5 patterns identified. Health professionals are advised to incorporate strategies for increasing students’ motivation, action planning, and coping planning into future PA promotion efforts.

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Chris Riddoch, Craig Mahoney, Niamh Murphy, Colin Boreham and Gordon Cran

The aim of this study was to provide objective data on the cardiopulmonary fitness and physical activity patterns of Northern Irish postprimary schoolchildren. Forty-five children (23 boys, 22 girls), ages 11-16 years, took part in this study. Each child performed a laboratory test of peak aerobic power (PVO2) and had his/her heart rate monitored for up to 4 school days. The mean values of PVO2 in both boys and girls were in keeping with previous literature. No significant difference was observed between boys and girls in terms of total activity (>50% PVO2), but boys engaged in significantly more vigorous activity (>70% PVO2 than girls did (p<0.05). Younger boys engaged in significantly more vigorous activity than both older boys (p<0.01) and younger girls (p<0.05). A significant negative correlation was found between age and total activity for boys (r= −0.476, p<0.05), but not for girls (r= -0.173, n.s.). The surprisingly low levels of physical activity on the part of older children of both sexes are a cause for concern.

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Aoife Lane, Niamh Murphy, Adrian Bauman and Tien Chey

Background:

To promote maintenance of sufficient physical activity (PA), better understanding of factors associated with behavioral relapse is needed.

Purpose:

To identify PA relapsers and predictors of this state in a large community sample of women who participated in 2 mass 10-km events in Ireland.

Methods:

Relapsers to ‘low active’ were identified at 3-month follow-up, and factors associated with relapse investigated.

Results:

11% of the sample decreased their participation by at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity PA per week and regressed to ‘insufficiently active.’ Adjusted analysis indicated relapse was associated with walking the event (OR = 1.40; 95% CI = 1.05−1.85) and not achieving tertiary education (OR = 1.49; 95% CI = 1.18−1.88). Normal-range BMI, training continuously, urban residence, and increases in self efficacy and positive perceptions of the physical environment were related to lower incidence of relapse.

Conclusion:

Education, living in an urban area, BMI, walking the event, training, and self efficacy are all associated with relapse and while mass events are a useful motivator for PA, strategies are required following events to maintain participation levels and generate a lasting public health impact.

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Marie H. Murphy, Angela Carlin, Catherine Woods, Alan Nevill, Ciaran MacDonncha, Kyle Ferguson and Niamh Murphy

Background: Time spent in university represents a period of transition and may be an appropriate time to promote physical activity among young adults. The aim of this study was to assess participation of university students in sport and physical activity in Ireland and to explore the association between physical activity and perceptions of overall health, mental health, and happiness. Methods: The Student Activity and Sport Study Ireland was a cross-sectional online survey among a representative sample (n = 8122) of university students in Ireland. Binary logistic regressions were performed to examine associations between self-reported physical activity and gender (predictor variables) and individual perceptions of overall health, mental health, and happiness (binary outcomes). Results: Only 64.3% of respondents met the recommended level of 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per week with males significantly more active than females (72.1% vs 57.8% meeting guidelines). Those meeting physical activity guidelines were more likely to report greater overall health and higher mental health and happiness scores compared with their inactive peers. Conclusions: Active students enjoy better health (overall and mental) and are happier than their inactive peers. This provides a clear rationale for providing students with opportunities to be active at university. The data provide a baseline to monitor changes in physical activity patterns.

Open access

Deirdre M. Harrington, Marie Murphy, Angela Carlin, Tara Coppinger, Alan Donnelly, Kieran P. Dowd, Teresa Keating, Niamh Murphy, Elaine Murtagh, Wesley O’Brien, Catherine Woods and Sarahjane Belton

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is a key performance indicator for policy documents in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Building on baseline grades set in 2014, Ireland’s second Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth allows for continued surveillance of indicators related to PA in children and youth.

Methods:

Data and information were extracted and collated for 10 indicators and graded using an international standardized grading system.

Results:

Overall, 7 grades stayed the same, 2 increased, and 1 decreased. Grades were assigned as follows: Overall PA, D (an increase); Sedentary Behavior (TV), C-; Physical Education, D-; Active Play, Incomplete/Inconclusive (INC); Active Transportation, D; School, D (a decrease); Home (Family), INC; Community and the Built Environment, B+ (an increase); and Government, INC. Unlike 2014’s report card, different grades for the Republic (C-) and Northern Ireland (C+) were assigned for Organized Sport Participation.

Conclusions:

Although the grade for Overall PA levels increased to a D, this may reflect the increased quality and quantity of data available. The double burden of low PA and high sedentary levels are concerning and underscore the need for advocacy toward, and surveillance of, progress in achieving targets set by the new National Physical Activity Plan in the Republic and obesity and sport plans in the North.

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Deirdre M. Harrington, Sarahjane Belton, Tara Coppinger, Muireann Cullen, Alan Donnelly, Kieran Dowd, Teresa Keating, Richard Layte, Marie Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Elaine Murtagh and Catherine Woods

Background:

Physical activity (PA) levels are a key performance indicator for policy documents in Ireland. The first Ireland Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth aims to set a robust baseline for future surveillance of indicators related to PA in children and youth.

Methods:

Data collected between 2003−2010 on more than 35,000 7- to 18-year-old children and youth were used and graded using a standardized grading system for 10 indicators.

Results:

Grades assigned for the indicators were as follows: overall physical activity levels, D-; sedentary behavior (TV viewing), C-; organized sport participation, C-: physical education, D-; active play, inconclusive (INC); active transportation, D; school, C-, community and the built environment, B; family, INC; and government, INC.

Conclusions:

PA recommendations exist in Ireland but this Report Card has shown that participation is still low. A number of promising policies, programs and services are in place but these require thorough evaluation and adequate resourcing. Agreement and implementation of a common framework for the systematic surveillance of indictors related to PA of children and youth is necessary to monitor change over time and ensure the impact of promising work is captured.