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Scherezade K. Mama, Lorna H. McNeill, Erica G. Soltero, Raul Orlando Edwards and Rebecca E. Lee

Culturally appropriate, innovative strategies to increase physical activity (PA) in women of color are needed. This study examined whether participation in SALSA, an 8-week randomized, crossover pilot study to promote PA, led to improved psychosocial outcomes and whether these changes were associated with changes in PA over time. Women of color (N = 50) completed Internet-based questionnaires on PA, exercise self-efficacy, motivational readiness, stress, and social support at three time points. Women reported high socioeconomic status, decreases in exercise self-efficacy, and increases in motivational readiness for exercise and a number of stressful events (p < .05); changes in motivational readiness for exercise varied by group (p = .043). Changes in psychosocial factors were associated with increases in PA. Latin dance improved motivational readiness for PA. Future studies are needed to determine whether Latin dance improves other psychological measures and quality of life in women of color in an effort to increase PA and reduce health disparities.

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Rebecca E. Lee, Scherezade K. Mama, Kristen P. McAlexander, Heather Adamus and Ashley V. Medina

Background:

In the US, public housing developments are typically located in lower socioeconomic status neighborhoods that may have poorer quality street level conditions, placing residents in neighborhoods that are less supportive for physical activity (PA). This study investigated the relationship of detailed, objectively assessed street-level pedestrian features with self-reported and measured PA in African American public housing residents.

Methods:

Every street segment (N = 2093) within an 800 m radius surrounding each housing development (N = 12) was systematically assessed using the Pedestrian Environment Data Scan (PEDS). Participants completed an interviewer administered International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) Short Form and wore a pedometer for 1 week.

Results:

Women reported significantly less vigorous (mean = 1955 vs. 2896 METs), moderate (mean = 733 vs. 1309 mets), walking (mean = 1080 vs. 1376 METs), and total (mean = 3768 vs. 5581 METs) PA on the IPAQ compared with men (all P <.05). Women took fewer pedometer steps per day (M = 3753 vs. 4589) compared with men, but this was not statistically significant. Regression analyses showed that for women, lower speed limits were associated with vigorous; higher street segment density was associated with more moderate PA; lower speed limits, fewer crossing aids, and more lanes were associated with more walking; and, fewer lanes was associated with more overall PA. For men, fewer sidewalk connections were associated with more moderate PA; lower speed limits were associated with more walking; and, lower speed limits was associated with more overall PA.

Conclusions:

Neighborhood factors influence physical activity; in particular, lower speed limits appear most commonly linked with increased physical activity in both men and women.

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Kelley K. Pettee Gabriel, Rebecca L. Rankin, Chong Lee, Mary E. Charlton, Pamela D. Swan and Barbara E. Ainsworth

Background:

The 400 m walk test has been used in older adults; however, the applicability in middle-aged populations is unknown.

Methods:

Data were obtained from the Evaluation of Physical Activity Measures in Middle-Aged Women (PAW) Study and included 66 women (52.6 ± 5.4 years). Participants were instructed to walk at a brisk, maintainable pace; time taken to complete the 400 m was recorded in seconds. Intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) were used to assess test-retest reliability. Spearman rank order correlation coefficients were used to examine the concurrent validity of the walk test with cardiorespiratory fitness and associations with physical activity, body composition, flexibility, static balance, and muscular fitness, adjusted for age and body mass index.

Results:

Participants completed the walk at visits 4 and 5 in 248.0 and 245.0 seconds, respectively. The walk test had excellent reproducibility [ICC = 0.95 (95% CI: 0.92, 0.97)] and was significantly associated with estimated (ρ = −0.43; P < 0.0001) and measured (ρ = −0.56; P < 0.001) VO2max. The walk test was also significantly related to physical activity, body composition, flexibility, and balance.

Conclusions:

These findings support the utility of the 400 m walk test to estimate cardiorespiratory fitness and reflect free-living physical activity in healthy, middle-aged women.

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Nathan Parker, Darran Atrooshi, Lucie Lévesque, Edtna Jauregui, Simón Barquera, Juan Lopez y Taylor and Rebecca E. Lee

Background:

Obesity is a critical problem among Mexican youth, but few studies have investigated associations among physical activity (PA) modes and anthropometrics in this population. This study examined associations among active commuting to school (ACS), sports or other organized PA, outdoor play, and body mass index (BMI) percentile and waist circumference (WC) among Mexican youth.

Methods:

Parents of school children (N = 1996, ages 6 to 14 years, 53.1% female) in 3 Mexican cities reported PA participation using the (modified) fourth grade School Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey. Trained assessors measured BMI percentile and WC in person.

Results:

Parents reported that 52.3% of children engaged in ACS, 57.3% participated in sports or organized PA, and a median of 2 days in the previous week with at least 30 minutes of outdoor play. In complete case analyses (n = 857), ACS was negatively associated with BMI percentile, and outdoor play was negatively associated with WC after adjusting for school, age, sex, and income. In analyses incorporating data from multiple imputation (N = 1996), outdoor play was negatively associated with WC (all Ps < . 05).

Conclusions:

ACS and outdoor play are favorably associated with anthropometrics and may help prevent childhood obesity in Mexico. ACS and outdoor play should be priorities for increasing youth PA in Mexico.

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Nathan H. Parker, Rebecca E. Lee, Daniel P. O’Connor, An Ngo-Huang, Maria Q.B. Petzel, Keri Schadler, Xuemei Wang, Lianchun Xiao, David Fogelman, Richard Simpson, Jason B. Fleming, Jeffrey E. Lee, Ching-Wei D. Tzeng, Sunil K. Sahai, Karen Basen-Engquist and Matthew H.G. Katz

Background: Physical activity and exercise appear to benefit patients receiving preoperative treatment for cancer. Supports and barriers must be considered to increase compliance with home-based exercise prescriptions in this setting. Such influences have not been previously examined. Methods: The authors used quantitative and qualitative methods to examine potential physical activity influences among patients who were prescribed home-based aerobic and strengthening exercises concurrent with preoperative chemotherapy or chemoradiation for pancreatic cancer. Physical activity was measured using exercise logs and accelerometers. Social support for exercise and perceived neighborhood walkability were measured using validated surveys. Relationships between influences and physical activity were evaluated using linear regression analyses and qualitative interviews. Results: Fifty patients received treatment for a mean of 16 (9) weeks prior to planned surgical resection. Social support from friends and neighborhood esthetics were positively associated with physical activity (P < .05). In interviews, patients confirmed the importance of these influences and cited encouragement from health care providers and desire to complete and recover from treatment as additional motivators. Conclusions: Interpersonal and environmental motivators of exercise and physical activity must be considered in the design of future home-based exercise interventions designed for patients receiving preoperative therapy for cancer.