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Mikael Fogelholm, Jaana Suni, Marjo Rinne, Pekka Oja and Ilkka Vuori

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Sylvia Titze, Willibald J. Stronegger, Susanne Janschitz and Pekka Oja

Objective:

To examine the association between environmental, social, and personal factors and cycling for transportation among university students.

Methods:

Five hundred and thirty-eight university students participated in the questionnaire study. Multi-nominal regression analysis was applied to identify associations between independent variables and cycling behavior.

Results:

Forty-one percent of the students were regular cyclists and 15% irregular cyclists. Regular cycling was negatively associated with the perception of traffic safety and positively associated with high safety from bicycle theft, many friends cycling to the university, high emotional satisfaction, little physiological effort, and high mobility. Irregular cycling was positively related with environmental attractiveness and little physiological effort.

Conclusions:

Improving bicycle parking security and promoting peer support for and positive psychological experiences and convenient mobility of cycling may increase this transport mode among university students.

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Sonja Kahlmeier, Francesca Racioppi, Nick Cavill, Harry Rutter and Pekka Oja

Background:

There is growing interest in “Health in All Policies” approaches, aiming at promoting health through policies which are under the control of nonhealth sectors. While economic appraisal is an established practice in transport planning, health effects are rarely taken into account. An international project was carried out to develop guidance and tools for practitioners for quantifying the health effects of cycling and walking, supporting their full appraisal.

Development Process:

A systematic review of existing approaches was carried out. Then, the products were developed with an international expert panel through an extensive consensus finding process.

Products and Applications:

Methodological guidance was developed which addresses the main challenges practitioners encounter in the quantification of health effects from cycling and walking. A “Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for cycling” was developed which is being used in several countries.

Conclusions:

There is a need for a more consistent approach to the quantification of health benefits from cycling and walking. This project is providing guidance and an illustrative tool for cycling for practical application. Results show that substantial savings can be expected. Such tools illustrate the importance of considering health in transport policy and infrastructure planning, putting “Health in All Policies” into practice.

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Maria Hagstromer, Barbara E. Ainsworth, Pekka Oja and Michael Sjostrom

Background:

The aim of this study was to compare physical activity components in the long, self-administrated version of IPAQ with an accelerometer in a population sample.

Methods:

In total 980 subjects (18-65 years) wore an accelerometer (Actigraph) for 7 consecutive days and thereafter filled in the IPAQ. Measures of total physical activity, time spent in moderate and in vigorous activity as well as time spent sitting as assessed by the IPAQ and the Actigraph were compared.

Results:

The results showed significant low to moderate correlations (Rs = 0.07−0.36) between the 2 instruments and significantly (P < .001) higher values for sitting and vigorous intensity physical activity from the IPAQ compared with the Actigraph. The higher the values reported by the IPAQ the bigger differences were seen between the instruments. Comparison between the tertiles of total physical activity by the 2 instruments showed significant overall association with consistent agreement in the low and the high tertiles.

Conclusion:

The long form of IPAQ is a valid measure of physical activity in population research. However, the IPAQ likely overestimates actual physical activity as shown by its limited ability to classify adults into low and high categories of physical activity based on accelerometer data.

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Signe B. Daugbjerg, Sonja Kahlmeier, Francesca Racioppi, Eva Martin-Diener, Brian Martin, Pekka Oja and Fiona Bull

Background:

Over the past years there has been increasing interest in physical activity promotion and the development of appropriate policy. So far, there has been no comprehensive overview of the activities taking place in Europe in this area of public health policy.

Methods:

Using different search methods, 49 national policy documents on physical activity promotion were identified. An analysis grid covering key features was developed for the analysis of the 27 documents published in English.

Results:

Analysis showed that many general recommendations for policy developments are being followed, for example: general goals were formulated, an implementation plan was included, a timeframe and a responsible body for the implementation was often specified. However, limited evidence for intersectoral collaboration was found. Quantified goals for physical activity were the exception. Population groups most in need such as people with low levels of physical activity were rarely specifically targeted. Most policies emphasized the importance of an evaluation. However, only about half of them indicated a related intention or requirement.

Conclusion:

In recent years there has been a noticeable development of national policy documents on physical activity promotion. Following principles for policy development more closely could increase the effectiveness of their preparation and implementation further.

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Jarmo J. Malmberg, Seppo I. Miilunpalo, Matti E. Pasanen, Ilkka M. Vuori and Pekka Oja

The authors investigated the associations of the amount, frequency and intensity, and type of leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) with the risk of self-reported difficulty in walking (WD) and stair climbing (SCD) over 16 years in a population-based cohort age 40–64 years at the onset of the study. Their results indicated that the risk for SCD was highest among men and women with a low amount of weekly LTPA. The risk was high also among women with weekly light LTPA compared with women with weekly vigorous LTPA. The risk for WD was highest among men who engaged in fitness activity once a week compared with men who engaged in fitness activity at least three times a week. A low amount of weekly LTPA, light LTPA twice or more a week, and LTPA for keeping fit and healthy less than three times a week are associated with future risk of mobility difficulties among middle-aged and older adults.