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Nick Garrett, Philip J. Schluter and Grant Schofield

Background:

A minority of adults in developed countries engage in sufficient physical activity (PA) to achieve health benefits. This study aims to identify modifiable perceived resources and barriers to PA among New Zealand adults.

Methods:

Secondary analysis of a 2003 nationally representative cross-sectional mail survey, stratified by region, age, and ethnicity, and analyzed utilizing ordinal logistic regression.

Results:

Overall, n = 8038 adults responded to the survey, of whom 49% met updated guidelines for sufficient PA. Perceived accessibility of local resources was associated with PA; however, for some resources there was more awareness among individuals whose predominant activity was not commonly associated with that resource (eg, health clubs and walkers). Perceived local environmental barriers demonstrated negative (steep hills, crime, dogs) and positive (unmaintained footpaths) associations. The absence of perceived environmental barriers was strongly associated with increased activity, suggesting the number of barriers may be a critical factor.

Conclusion:

Complex relationships between perceptions of local environments and activity patterns among adults were found. Although complex, these results demonstrate positive associations between awareness of resources and perceived lack of barriers with being sufficiently physically active for health. Therefore, investments in provision and/or promotion of local resources have the potential to enable active healthy communities.

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Maea Hohepa, Grant Schofield, Gregory S. Kolt, Robert Scragg and Nick Garrett

Background:

Few studies have examined high school students’ physical activity habits using objective measures. The purpose of this study was to describe pedometer-determined habitual physical activity levels of youth.

Methods:

236 high school students (age 12–18 years) wore sealed pedometers for 5 consecutive days. Data were analyzed using generalizing estimating equations.

Results:

Mean steps/d (± SE) differed significantly by sex (males, 10,849 ± 381; females, 9652 ± 289), age (junior students [years 9–11], 11,079 ± 330; senior students [years 12 and 13], 9422 ± 334), time of week (weekday, 12,259 ± 287; weekend day, 8241 ± 329), and mode of transportation to and from school (walkers, 13,308 ± 483; car transit users, 10,986 ± 435). Only 14.5% of students achieved at least 10,000 steps on every day during the monitoring period.

Conclusion:

Daily step counts differed substantially by age, sex, time of week, and transportation mode to school.