Background: The role of muscle fitness in controlling cardiometabolic risk factors during childhood is incompletely understood. Methods: A prospective observational design including 6- to 11-year-old children (n = 512) was used to study associations between 1.5-year changes in handgrip strength, standing vertical jump displacement, the short shuttle run, and a composite of these with changes in composite and single cardiometabolic risk markers. The authors modeled sequential mixed linear regressions controlling for changes in cardiorespiratory fitness, waist circumference, and other putative confounding variables. Results: Statistically significant associations, standardized beta (95% confidence intervals), were observed between changes in composite muscle fitness −0.19 (−0.30 to −0.07), muscular strength −0.15 (−0.25 to −0.06), and agility 0.14 (0.04 to 0.23), but not muscular power −0.06 (−0.14 to 0.03) with changes in the composite risk score. In sex-stratified analysis, associations were robust in girls, but not in boys. Control for changes in cardiorespiratory fitness and waist circumference greatly attenuated associations. Changes in muscle fitness were strongly associated with changes in waist circumference in both girls −0.21 (−0.37 to −0.05) and boys −0.23 (−0.35 to −0.11) after controlling for cardiorespiratory fitness. Conclusions: Our data support a unique role of muscle fitness in the promotion of metabolic health and prevention of excess adipose tissue accumulation in children.
Jakob Tarp, Anna Bugge, Niels Christian Møller, Heidi Klakk, Christina Trifonov Rexen, Anders Grøntved and Niels Wedderkopp
Lars Bo Andersen, Niels Wedderkopp, Peter Kristensen, Niels Christian Moller, Karsten Froberg and Ashley R. Cooper
Cycling to school may potentially increase physical activity level in sedentary children. Transport to school occur twice a day and could improve cardiovascular health in children. Commuter cycling is associated with lower mortality and cardiovascular disease rate in adults, but limited evidence exists in children.
Participants were 334 children (age 9.7 ± 0.5 years) who were followed up 6 years later. Mode of travel to school was investigated by questionnaire. Cardiovascular (CVD) risk factors were compared by mode of travel to school both at baseline and at follow up and for subjects who changed mode of transportation. No difference was found between walkers and passive travelers, and these groups were merged in the analysis.
A consistent pattern of better CVD risk factor profile in commuter cyclists compared with children using other means of transport was found. Participants, who did not cycle to school at baseline, and who had changed to cycling at follow up, were fitter, had better cholesterol/HDL ratio, better glucose metabolism, and a lower composite CVD risk factor score than those who did not cycle at either time point.
Cycling to school may contribute to a better cardiovascular risk factor profile in young people.
Rodrigo Antunes Lima, Karin A. Pfeiffer, Niels Christian Møller, Lars Bo Andersen and Anna Bugge
Background: To analyze the longitudinal association between academic performance and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), vigorous physical activity (VPA), and sedentary (SED) in a 3-year longitudinal study. A secondary aim was to determine whether MVPA and VPA were indirectly related with academic performance via waist circumference (WC). Methods: Physical activity (PA) and SED were measured by accelerometers. Academic performance was assessed by national tests in Danish and Math. Structural equation modeling was performed to evaluate whether MVPA, VPA, and SED were associated with academic performance and the potential PA–academic performance indirect relationship via WC. Results: MVPA and VPA were associated with academic performance, mediated via WC (β = 0.036; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.002 to 0.070 and β = 0.096; 95% CI, 0.027 to 0.164, respectively). SED was directly associated with academic performance (β = 0.124; 95% CI, 0.030 to 0.217, MVPA model and β = 0.132; 95% CI, 0.044 to 0.221, VPA model). WC was negatively associated with academic performance. Conclusions: Both PA and SED time were positively associated with academic performance. Based on this, PA should be encouraged in children and youth not only to promote physical health but also to promote academic performance. Future studies should distinguish between school-related SED and other SED activities and their relationship with academic performance.
Anders Grøntved, Grete Skøtt Pedersen, Lars Bo Andersen, Peter Lund Kristensen, Niels Christian Møller and Karsten Froberg
Independent associations between personal- and demographic characteristics and physical activity in 3–6 year old children attending preschool were identified in this study. Boys spent a larger proportion of the time on moderate-and-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; p < .001) and had a higher total physical activity level compared with girls (p < .001). The 3–4 year old children spent less time on MVPA and had a lower total physical activity level compared with both 4–5 (p < .01) and 5–6 year old children (p < .001). The individual preschool, gender and age of preschool children were strong predictors of physical activity (R2-total model=(0.36−0.39)) during preschool attendance.
Lisbeth Runge Larsen, Jens Troelsen, Kasper Lund Kirkegaard, Søren Riiskjær, Rikke Krølner, Lars Østergaard, Peter Lund Kristensen, Niels Christian Møller, Bjørn Friis Neerfeldt Christensen, Jens-Ole Jensen, Charlotte Østergård and Thomas Skovgaard
The first Danish Report Card on Physical Activity (PA) for Children and Youth describes Denmark’s efforts in promoting and facilitating PA and PA opportunities for children and youth.
The report card relies primarily on a synthesis of the best available research and policy strategies identified by the Report Card Research Committee consisting of a wide presentation of researchers and experts within PA health behaviors and policy development. The work was coordinated by Research and Innovation Centre for Human Movement and Learning situated at the University of Southern Denmark and the University College Lillebaelt. Nine PA indicators were graded using the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card development process.
Grades from A (highest) to F (lowest) varied in Denmark as follows: 1) Overall Physical Activity (D+), 2) Organized Sport Participation (A), 3) Active Play (INC; incomplete), 4) Active Transportation (B), 5) Sedentary Behaviors (INC), 6) Family and Peers (INC), 7) School (B), 8) Community and the Built Environment (B+), and 9) Government strategies and investments (A-).
A large proportion of children in Denmark do not meet the recommendations for PA despite the favorable investments and intensions from the government to create good facilities and promote PA.