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Morgan N. Clennin and Russell R. Pate

Background: Growing evidence suggests that the broader neighborhood socioeconomic environment is independently associated with cardiometabolic health. However, few studies have examined this relationship among younger populations. Purpose: The purpose of the study was to (1) investigate the association between neighborhood socioeconomic deprivation (SED) and cardiorespiratory fitness and (2) determine the extent to which physical activity mediates this relationship. Methods: Data from 312 youth (aged 12–15 y) were obtained from the 2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey National Youth Fitness Survey. Cardiorespiratory fitness was measured using a standard submaximal treadmill test, and maximal oxygen consumption was estimated. Physical activity was self-reported time spent in moderate to vigorous activity. Neighborhood SED was measured by a composite index score at the census tract of residence. Logistic regression analyses examined relationships between neighborhood SED, physical activity, and cardiorespiratory fitness, adjusting for individual-level characteristics and the complex sampling design. Results: Neighborhood SED was not significantly associated with cardiorespiratory fitness or physical activity among youth in the study sample. Conclusions: While not significant, cardiorespiratory fitness levels were observed to decrease as neighborhood SED increased. Future research is needed to better understand this relationship and to identify underlying mechanisms beyond fitness or physical activity that may drive the relationship between neighborhood SED and health.

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Jennifer R. O’Neill, Russell R. Pate and Michael W. Beets

Background:

The aims of this study were to describe the physical activity levels of girls during dance classes and to identify factors associated with moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in those classes.

Methods:

Participants were 137 girls (11 to 18 years-old) enrolled in ballet, jazz, or tap dance classes from 11 dance studios. Participants wore an accelerometer during the selected dance class on 2 separate days. Factors hypothesized to be associated with MVPA were dance style, instructional level, instructor’s experience, percent of class time spent in choreography, and participants’ age, race/ethnicity, BMI-for-age percentile, and years of dance training. Data were analyzed using generalized linear mixed models.

Results:

Girls engaged in 9.8 minutes of MVPA, 6.0 minutes of moderate, 3.8 minutes of vigorous, 39.3 minutes of light, and 10.9 minutes of sedentary behavior per hour of dance class participation. Jazz/tap classes provided more MVPA than ballet classes, and intermediate level classes provided more MVPA than advanced level classes. Girls with more dance training obtained more MVPA than girls with less dance training.

Conclusion:

Dance classes provide valuable opportunities for adolescent girls to be physically active.

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Russell R. Pate, Barbara J. Long and Greg Heath

This paper reviews the descriptive epidemiology of physical activity in adolescents. Large population-based studies were reviewed, along with smaller studies using objective monitoring of physical activity. Estimates showed that adolescents engage in physical activity of any intensity for a mean of one hour per day. Approximately two thirds of males and one quarter of females participate in moderate to vigorous activity for 20 min 3 or more days per week. Activity levels decline with increasing age across adolescence, and this decrease is more marked in females than in males. Comparison of these data to physical activity guidelines for adolescents suggests the vast majority are meeting the guideline of accumulating physical activity. However, a substantial number of males, and the majority of females, are not meeting the guideline for moderate to vigorous physical activity.

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Philip J. Troped, Ruth P. Saunders and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Physical activity research on trails is limited. We compared rail-trail users and nonusers on demographics, physical activity, and barriers/concerns about trail use; and described use among men and women.

Methods:

Four hundred thirteen adults completed a physical activity survey during fall 1998. Chi-square statistics and t-tests were used to compare trail users to nonusers, and men and women on trail use.

Results:

More trail users (79%) performed recreational physical activity ≥ 3 d/wk, compared to nonusers (47%). Walking was the most common activity for trail users and nonusers. Both groups shared concerns about safe access to the trail and certain trail conditions. A higher percentage of female versus male users traveled to the trail by walking, walked on the trail, used the trail with a friend, and perceived that if the trail were not available their activity would decrease.

Conclusions:

Trail users perform more recreational physical activity than nonusers. Gender differences in trail use patterns should be considered in the design and promotion of trails.

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Jeffrey A. Woods, Russell R. Pate and Maria L. Burgess

Field tests of upper body muscular strength and endurance (UBMSE) are often administered to children, but little is known about the determinants of performance on these tests. Therefore the purpose of this investigation was to examine potential determinants of performance on several common field tests of UBMSE including pull-ups, flexed-arm hang, push-ups, and two types of modified pull-ups. Subjects were 56 girls and 38 boys, ages 9 to 11 years. Potential determinants assessed were age, height, weight, gender, % fat, physical activity, and laboratory measures of muscular strength and endurance. Multiple regression analysis revealed that the laboratory measures of UBMSE failed to account for significant fractions of variance in performance on four of the five tests. However, % fat was significantly associated with performance on four of five tests. These results indicate that factors other than muscular strength and endurance account for most of the variance in performance, and that % fat appears to be a particularly important determinant of performance.

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Felipe Lobelo, Marsha Dowda, Karin A. Pfeiffer and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Few investigations have assessed in adolescent girls the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between elevated exposure to electronic media (EM) and activity-related outcomes such as compliance with physical activity (PA) standards or cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF).

Methods:

Four-hundred thirty-seven white and African American girls were assessed at the 8th, 9th, and 12th grades. PA and EM (TV/video watching, electronic games, Internet use) were self-reported, and CRF was estimated using a cycle-ergometer test. Hi EM exposure was defined as ≥four 30-minute blocks/d.

Results:

8th-, 9th-, and 12th-grade girls in the Hi EM group showed lower compliance with PA standards and had lower CRF than the Low EM group (P ≤ .03). Girls reporting Hi EM exposure at 8th and 9th grades had lower vigorous PA and CRF levels at 12th grade than girls reporting less EM exposure (P ≤ .03).

Conclusion:

Girls reporting exposure to EM for 2 or more hours per day are more likely to exhibit and maintain low PA and CRF levels throughout adolescence. These results enhance the scientific basis for current public health recommendations to limit adolescent girls’ daily exposure to television, electronic games, and Internet use to a combined maximum of 2 hours.

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Daniel Benjamin Bornstein, Russell R. Pate and Michael Pratt

Background:

Architects of the United States national physical activity plan can benefit from a thorough understanding of national physical activity plans from other nations. The purpose of this paper was to search for and analyze comprehensive national physical activity plan documents that can best inform the development of the U.S. plan.

Methods:

Electronic databases were searched for national physical activity plan documents, yielding 252 documents from 56 countries. After eliminating documents that were not written in English, did not address physical activity primarily, and did not meet our definition of a national physical activity plan, we were left with physical activity plans from 6 countries—Australia, United Kingdom, Scotland, Sweden, Northern Ireland, and Norway.

Key recommendations:

Architects of the U.S. plan can learn as much from what was present in many documents as from what was absent. Examples of recommended components of national plans have been identified and highlighted for each of the 6 countries. Missing from all but 1 national plan document was a detailed process for accountability. Providing a clear path and detailed process of accountability will assist greatly in measuring short- and long-term success of the U.S. plan.