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Nicola Brown and Yasmin Bowmer

Women become increasingly sedentary with age, therefore it is important to understand women’s barriers and motivators to physical activity (PA) at different ages to optimize PA interventions. However, limited studies have examined differences in perceived barriers to PA between young and middle-aged adult females. This study investigated barriers and motivators to PA in young (18–35 years, n = 94) and middle-aged (36–55 years, n = 77) women in England, using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and the Exercise Benefits Barrier Scale, administered online. Mean scores for total, subscale and individual barrier and motivation items were reported for each age group. Independent t-tests assessed age group differences in total scores. A MANOVA explored age group differences in subscale scores. Total barrier and motivator scores for the whole group were M = 2.04, SD = 0.45 and M = 3.20, SD = 0.44, respectively. No age group differences were observed in total scores (p > .05). The leading barrier to PA in both groups was physical exertion, which was rated significantly higher by the young cohort (M = 2.70, SD = 0.59), compared to the middle-aged cohort (M = 2.43, SD = 0.60). Motivator subscales were ranked in the same order for both groups (physical performance, psychological outlook, preventive health, life enhancement, and social interaction), with no age group differences in scores. PA promotion strategies for young and middle-aged women should focus on improving multiple aspects of physical performance and support the development of self-regulatory skills such as strategic planning, goal setting, self-monitoring, and time-management.

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Geeske Peeters, Wendy Brown and Nicola Burton

Background:

Patient-group specific preferences can be used to design physical activity programs. This study compared physical activity context preferences between (1) people with musculoskeletal conditions (ie, arthritis and/or osteoporosis) and people without these conditions, and (2) people with arthritis only and people with osteoporosis only.

Methods:

Data were from 1684 participants (57.2 ± 6.6 years) with self-reported arthritis and/or osteoporosis and 4550 participants (52.9 ± 6.9 years) without these conditions. Participants indicated the extent to which they disagreed/agreed with a preference for each of 14 contexts. Marginal means and 95% confidence intervals are presented, differences were tested with ANCOVA.

Results:

Compared with participants without musculoskeletal conditions, those with arthritis and/or osteoporosis indicated a slightly stronger preference for activities that are not just about exercise [3.55 (3.51–3.59) vs. 3.49 (3.46–3.52), P = .02], and a weaker preference for vigorous activities [3.02 (2.97–3.06) vs. 3.08 (3.06–3.11), P = .02], and activities with a set routine or format [3.29 (3.24–3.33) vs. 3.35 (3.32–3.38), P = .02]. Participants with arthritis only [n = 1063, 2.64, (2.59–2.70)] had a stronger preference against supervision than those with osteoporosis only [n = 146, 2.84 (2.69–2.99); P = .02].

Conclusions:

Only small differences were found in the activity context preferences between people with and without musculoskeletal conditions, and between people with osteoporosis and people with arthritis. The context of physical activity interventions for people with arthritis and/or osteoporosis does not have to be different from those for people without these conditions.

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Helen Elizabeth Brown, Nicola Burton, Nicholas David Gilson and Wendy Brown

Background:

An emerging area of interest in workplace health is presenteeism; the measurable extent to which physical or psychosocial symptoms, conditions and disease adversely affect the work productivity of those who choose to remain at work. Given established links between presenteeism and health, and health and physical activity, presenteeism could be an important outcome in workplace physical activity research. This study provides a narrative review of questionnaires for use in such research.

Methods:

Eight self-report measures of presenteeism were identified. Information regarding development, constructs measured and psychometric properties was extracted from relevant articles.

Results:

Questionnaires were largely self-administered, had 4–44 items, and recall periods ranging from 1 week to 1 year. Items were identified as assessing work performance, physical tolerance, psychological well-being and social or role functioning. Samples used to test questionnaires were predominantly American male employees, with an age range of 30–59 years. All instruments had undergone psychometric assessment, most commonly discriminant and construct validity.

Conclusion:

Based on instrument characteristics, the range of conceptual foci covered and acceptable measurement properties, the Health and Work Questionnaire, Work Ability Index, and Work Limitations Questionnaire are suggested as most suitable for further exploring the relationship between physical activity and presenteeism.

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Toby G. Pavey, Nicola W. Burton and Wendy J Brown

Background:

There is growing evidence that regular physical activity (PA) reduces the risk of poor mental health. Less research has focused on the relationship between PA and positive wellbeing. The study aims were to assess the prospective associations between PA and optimism, in both young and mid-aged women.

Methods:

9688 young women (born 1973–1978) completed self-report surveys in 2000 (age 22 to 27), 2003, 2006, and 2009; and 11,226 mid-aged women (born 1946–1951) completed surveys in 2001 (age 50–55) 2004, 2007, and 2010, as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Generalized estimating equation models (with 3-year time lag) were used to examine the relationship between PA and optimism in both cohorts.

Results:

In both cohorts, women reporting higher levels of PA had greater odds of reporting higher optimism over the 9-year period, (young, OR = 5.04, 95% CI: 3.85–6.59; mid-age, OR = 5.77, 95% CI: 4.76–7.00) than women who reported no PA. Odds were attenuated in adjusted models, with depression accounting for a large amount of this attenuation (young, OR = 2.00, 95% CI: 1.57–2.55; mid-age, OR = 1.64 95% CI: 1.38–1.94).

Conclusions:

Physical activity can promote optimism in young and mid-aged women over time, even after accounting for the negative effects of other psychosocial indicators such as depression.

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Sarah J. Fraser, Justin J. Chapman, Wendy J. Brown, Harvey A. Whiteford and Nicola W. Burton

Background:

The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of using questionnaires and accelerometers to measure physical activity and sedentary behavior among inpatient adults with mental illness.

Methods:

Participants completed a physical activity and sitting time questionnaire and wore an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days. Feasibility was assessed in terms of participant engagement, self-reported ease/difficulty of completing study components, extreme self-report data values and adherence to accelerometer wear time criteria. Ease/difficulty ratings were examined by level of distress.

Results:

177 inpatients were invited to the study, 101 completed the questionnaires and 36 provided valid accelerometry data. Participants found it more difficult to complete sitting time and physical activity questionnaires than to wear the accelerometer during waking hours (z = 3.787, P < .001; z = 2.824, P = .005 respectively). No significant differences were found in ease/difficulty ratings by level of distress for any of the study components. Extreme values for self-reported sitting time were identified in 27% of participants.

Conclusion:

Inpatient adults with mental illness can engage with self-report and objective methods of measuring physical activity and sedentary behavior. They were initially less willing to participate in objective measurement, which may however be more feasible than self-report measures.

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Nicola D. Ridgers, Karen E. Lamb, Anna Timperio, Helen Brown and Jo Salmon

Background: Little is known about whether physical activity compensation occurs. This study experimentally explored the activitystat hypothesis by investigating children’s short-term responses to imposed or restricted physical activity. Methods: A total of 156 children (46 boys; mean age = 11.3 y) from 9 schools wore an ActiGraph accelerometer for 5 days (Monday–Friday) across 2 consecutive weeks. In addition, 145 children (49% boys) simultaneously wore a SenseWear Armband. Schools were randomized to participate in 1 of the 3 experimental conditions that took place on 1 occasion: additional moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (3 schools), additional light-intensity physical activity (3 schools), or restriction of light-intensity physical activity and moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (3 schools). Multilevel linear regression models were conducted to examine associations between the day the condition took place and the following day and week (baseline and experiment) for each condition. Results: There was no evidence of a difference between children’s activity levels on the day after the experiment condition compared with their usual activity for that day. Conclusion: The findings suggest that children do not compensate their sedentary time and/or physical activity levels following imposed or restricted physical activity in the short term.

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Nicolas Aguilar-Farias, Wendy J. Brown, Tina L. Skinner and G.M.E.E. (Geeske) Peeters

Background: The purpose was to assess metabolic equivalent (MET) values of common daily activities in middle-age and older adults in free-living environments and compare these with MET values listed in the compendium of physical activities (CPA). Methods: Sixty participants (mean age = 71.5, SD = 10.8) completed a semistructured protocol of sitting, lying, self-paced walking, and 4 self-selected activities in their residences. Oxygen consumption was measured using portable indirect calorimetry, to assess METs for each activity relative to VO2 at rest (VO2 during activity/VO2 at rest). Measured MET values for 20 different activities were compared with those in the CPA, for the total sample and for participants aged 55–64, 65–74, and 75–99 years. Results: Measured METs for sitting, walking, sweeping, trimming, and laundry were significantly different from the CPA values. Measured MET values for sedentary activities were lower in all age groups, and those for walking and household activities were higher in the youngest age group, than the CPA values. For gardening activities, there was a significant decline in measured METs with age. Conclusions: Some measured MET values in older people differed from those in the CPA. The values reported here may be useful for future research with younger, middle-age, and older-old people.