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Pauliina Husu and Jaana Suni

Background:

Back pain and related disability seem to be increasing among older adults. Health-related fitness tests have been developed to identify individuals at risk for mobility difficulties. However, poor fitness as a risk factor for back problems has seldom been studied. The purpose of the current study was to investigate whether performance in fitness tests predicts back pain and related disability during 6 years of follow-up.

Methods:

Study population consisted of community-dwelling men and women, born 1927 to 1941, who participated in assessment of health-related fitness and reported no long-term back pain or related disability at baseline (n = 517). The assessment included measurements of body mass index (BMI), one-leg stand, backward tandem walk, trunk side-bending, dynamic back extension, forward squat, 6.1-m walking speed and 1-km walk time.

Results:

Prospective analyses indicated that poor fitness (poorest-third) in one-leg stand and trunk side-bending tests were the most powerful predictors of back pain. Regarding disability, poor fitness in dynamic back extension and overweight in terms of BMI ≥ 27 increased the risk.

Conclusions:

Tests of balance, trunk flexibility and trunk muscle endurance, as well as BMI can be implemented as screening tools for identifying persons with increased risk of back pain and related disability.

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Pauliina Husu, Jaana Suni, Matti Pasanen and Seppo Miilunpalo

Background:

Low levels of physical activity (PA) and poor fitness tend to predict a decline in mobility. The current study investigated whether PA modifies the predictive value of health-related fitness (HRF) tests on difficulty in walking 2 km (WD).

Methods:

PA was assessed by self-reported questionnaires in 1990 and 1996. Subjects age 55 to 69 years and free of self-reported WD participated in assessment of HRF in 1996. Occurrence of WD was assessed by questionnaire in 2002 (n = 537).

Results:

There were no statistically significant interactions between PA and HRF tests; thus, PA and HRF were both independent predictors of WD. Regardless of the PA level, the subjects in the poorest performing third in each HRF test had higher risk of WD than the subjects in the best performing third.

Conclusions:

PA and HRF seemed to be independent predictors of WD, although the association of PA with WD was weaker than the association of HRF. Thus, PA did not modify the predictive value of HRF on WD.

Open access

Katariina Kämppi, Annaleena Aira, Nina Halme, Pauliina Husu, Virpi Inkinen, Laura Joensuu, Sami Kokko, Kaarlo Laine, Kaisu Mononen, Sanna Palomäki, Timo Ståhl, Arja Sääkslahti and Tuija Tammelin

Open access

Tuija H. Tammelin, Annaleena Aira, Matti Hakamäki, Pauliina Husu, Jouni Kallio, Sami Kokko, Kaarlo Laine, Kati Lehtonen, Kaisu Mononen, Sanna Palomäki, Timo Ståhl, Arja Sääkslahti, Jorma Tynjälä and Katariina Kämppi

Background:

Finland’s 2016 Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth gathers and translates research results and assesses the status and promotion of physical activity (PA) among Finnish children and youth less than 18 years of age. This article summarizes the results and provides grades for 9 indicators.

Methods:

The working group evaluated the evidence and assigned grades of A (highest, 81% to 100%), B, C, D, or F (lowest, 0% to 20%) for 9 PA indicators using the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card development process.

Results:

The grades varied in Finland as follows: 1) Overall PA/fulfillment of recommendations = D, 2) Organized Sport Participation = C, 3) Active Play = C, 4) Active Transportation = B, 5) Sedentary Behaviors = D, 6) Family and Peers = C, 7) School = B, 8) Community and the Built Environment = B, 9) Government = B.

Conclusions:

Despite good policies and programs to promote PA in Finland, children and youth overall PA levels are low, whereas their time spent sedentary is high. More effective interventions, operation models, concrete tools as well as environmental solutions are needed to support the work toward more physically active childhood and youth.