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Rute Santos, Maria Paula Santos, José Carlos Ribeiro and Jorge Mota

Background:

The aims of this study were to describe physical activity (PA) prevalence and compare it with other countries and to investigate possible associations between PA and other lifestyle behaviors in Azorean adults.

Methods:

9991 adults (5723 women), aged 37.8 ± 9.5 years, of the 2004 Azorean Physical Activity and Health Study. IPAQ assessed PA. All other lifestyle behaviors (age, gender, education level, income, employment, marital status, number of children, meal frequency, sleep time, sitting time, body mass index and alcohol and tobacco consumptions) were also self-reported.

Results:

57.1% of the participants met current PA recommendations and 32.2% were categorized as Health Enhancing PA (HEPA). Women were less likely to achieve PA recommendations, as well as the HEPA level. In both genders, higher education level, employment status, higher income, and sitting for more than 3h/day were negative predictors of HEPA; and, having at least 5 meals/day was positive predictor for the same PA level.

Conclusions:

There is a significant proportion of Azoreans, particularly women, that does not do enough PA. Targeted programs for Azoreans aimed to increase PA levels should pay special attention on women, and consider a multifactorial approach, once several lifestyle behaviors seem to interact with PA levels, in this population.

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Luisa Aires, Michael Pratt, Felipe Lobelo, Rute Marina Santos, Maria Paula Santos and Jorge Mota

Background:

The objective of this study was to analyze associations of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) with physical activity, time spent watching television and using computer, mode of commuting to school (CS), and adiposity, by gender.

Methods:

Participants were 1708 students (53.8% girls), aged 11 to 19 years. CRF was evaluated with a 20-meter shuttle-run test using VO2max by previously published equation. Maturation stages determined by Tanner’s criteria, body mass index, and skinfolds were measured, and a questionnaire used to assess socioeconomic status, PA, television and computer time, and mode of CS. We conducted a regression analysis using CRF as the dependent variable.

Results:

CRF was independent and positively associated with physical activity [β = 0.338 (95% CI = 0.119; 0.188); P < .001] and with maturation [β = −0.876 (95% CI = 0.666; 1.087); P < .001]; independent and negatively associated with television time [β = −0.003 (95% CI = −0.005; −0.002); P < .001] and adiposity [β = −0.068 (95% CI = −0.076; −0.060); P < .001]. CRF was positively associated with CS [β = 0.337; (95% CI = 0.014; 0.741); P = .014]. No associations were found for computer time.

Conclusions:

These findings suggest that increasing overall physical activity levels through interventions in different domains such as active CS, reducing sedentary activities, such as television time, might be effective strategies for improving CRF in youth.

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Jorge Mota, Marta Almeida, Rute Santos, José Carlos Ribeiro and Maria Paula Santos

Specific behavior context such as type of PA (organized vs. nonorganized) might be associated with different environmental correlates. The main goal of this cross-sectional survey was to examine perceived environmental associations with type of adolescents’ physical activity (PA) choices (organized and nonorganized). A sample of this study comprised 425 girls with mean age of 14.5 years-old. Environmental variables and PA were assessed by questionnaire, which allowed to define the type (organized or nonorganized) of PA. No associations were found between environmental perceptions and the participation in organized activities. However, different dimensions of environmental variables such as accessibilities to facilities (p ≤ .05) aesthetics (p ≤ .05) and social environment (p ≤ .05) were associated to girls’ PA participation in nonorganized activities (NOPA). Our findings suggested that some environmental characteristics might play an important role in girls’ NOPA participation.

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Elisa A. Marques, Fátima Baptista, Rute Santos, Susana Vale, Diana A. Santos, Analiza M. Silva, Jorge Mota and Luís B. Sardinha

This cross-sectional study was designed to develop normative functional fitness standards for the Portuguese older adults, to analyze age and gender patterns of decline, to compare the fitness level of Portuguese older adults with that of older adults in other countries, and to evaluate the fitness level of Portuguese older adults relative to recently published criterion fitness standards associated with maintaining physical independence. A sample of 4,712 independent-living older adults, age 65–103 yr, was evaluated using the Senior Fitness Test battery. Age-group normative fitness scores are reported for the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles. Results indicate that both women and men experience age-related losses in all components of functional fitness, with their rate of decline being greater than that observed in other populations, a trend which may cause Portuguese older adults to be at greater risk for loss of independence in later years. These newly established normative standards make it possible to assess individual fitness level and provide a basis for implementing population-wide health strategies to counteract early loss of independence.

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César Agostinis-Sobrinho, Carla Moreira, Sandra Abreu, Luís Lopes, José Oliveira-Santos, Jostein Steene-Johannessen, Jorge Mota and Rute Santos

Purpose:

This study examined the independent associations between cardiorespiratory fitness and circulating adiponectin concentration in adolescents, controlling for several potential covariates.

Methods:

This is a cross-sectional study in Portuguese adolescents. A sample of 529 (267 girls) aged 12–18 years were included and categorized as overweight and nonoverweight. Cardiorespiratory fitness was assessed by 20 meters shuttle run test. We measured serum adiponectin, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, fasting glucose, insulin and HDL-cholesterol.

Results:

After adjustment for age, sex, pubertal stage, adherence to the Mediterranean diet, socioeconomic status, body fat percentage, insulin resistance, HDL-cholesterol and C-reactive protein, regression analysis showed a significant inverse association between adiponectin and cardiorespiratory fitness in nonoverweight participants (B=-0.359; p < .042). Analysis of covariance showed a significant difference between the highest cardiorespiratory fitness Healthy zone (above healthy zone) and the Under and the Healthy cardiorespiratory fitness zones in nonoverweight adolescents (p = .03) (F (2, 339) = 3.156, p < .001).

Conclusion:

Paradoxically, serum adiponectin levels are inversely associated with cardiorespiratory fitness in nonoverweight, but not in overweight adolescents. In nonoverweight adolescents, those with highest levels of cardiorespiratory fitness (above healthy zone) presented lower levels of adiponectin compared with those in Under and Healthy cardiorespiratory fitness zones.

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André Oliveira, Jorge Mota, Carla Moreira, Susana Vale, Sandra Abreu, Pedro Moreira and Rute Marina Santos

Background:

The aim of the current study was to verify if physical activity (PA) behavior (steps/day) was associated with environmental features that may be able to promote PA and walking in a sample of Portuguese adolescents living in the Azorean Archipelago.

Methods:

The sample comprised 948 adolescents aged 15–18 years (543 girls) from the Azorean Physical Activity Health Study II. PA was objectively measured with pedometers. Participants were classified as active if they belong to percentile 75th (by age and gender) or more. Environmental perceptions were assessed with a questionnaire. Binary logistic regression analyzed relationships between PA and environmental perceptions controlling for age, body mass index, gender and socioeconomic status.

Results:

Regression analysis showed that participants with a positive overall perception in the transportation dimension were 44.2% (OR = 1.442, P = .025) more likely to be classified as active than those with a negative overall perception. No significant results were found for safety, aesthetics and facilities dimensions.

Conclusions:

A positive overall perception of the transportation dimension was positively associated with PA in Azorean Adolescents. Future health promotion strategies aimed to increase PA in this population should consider the environmental features that are associated with PA levels.

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Zhiguang Zhang, Eduarda Sousa-Sá, João R. Pereira, Anthony D. Okely, Xiaoqi Feng and Rute Santos

Background: This study examined the associations between environmental characteristics of early childhood education and care (ECEC) centers and 1-year change in toddlers’ physical activity and sedentary behavior while at the centers. Methods: Data from 292 toddlers from the GET-UP! study were analyzed. Environmental characteristics of ECEC centers were rated using the Infant/Toddler Environment Rating Scale-revised edition at baseline. Children’s physical activity and sedentary behavior in the centers were assessed using activPAL devices, at baseline and at 1-year follow-up. Linear mixed models were performed to examine the associations between the environmental characteristics and change in the proportion of time spent in physical activity and sedentary behavior. Results: Compared with baseline, children spent a higher proportion of time in sedentary behavior (sitting) but a lower proportion of time in standing and physical activity (stepping) while at ECEC centers, at 1-year follow-up. The environmental characteristics “interaction” (B = −1.39; P = .01) and “program structure” (B = −1.15; P = .04) were negatively associated with change in the proportion of time spent in physical activity. Conclusion: Better “interaction” and “program structure” may preclude children’s physical activity from declining over time and may be considered important features to target in future interventions in ECEC centers aiming at promoting active lifestyles.

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Jorge Mota, Rute Santos, Manuel João Coelho-e-Silva, Armando M. Raimundo and Luís B. Sardinha

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Jorge Mota, Rute M. Santos, Pedro Silva, Luisa Aires, Clarice Martins and Susana Vale

Background:

The main goal of this study was to analyze the associations between cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) and body mass index (BMI) with self-rated health (SRH) of adolescent girls.

Methods:

This was a cross-sectional study of 533 adolescents girls, aged from 10 to 18 years old. CRF was predicted by maximal multistage 20-m shuttle-run test according to procedures described from FITNESSGRAM. Girls’ obesity status was classified according to International Obesity Task Force and Self-rated health (SRH) was assessed by questionnaire.

Results:

The findings showed that among adolescent girls 23.2% had negative SRH. Girls who were classified as unfit were more likely to report negative SRH in both univariate logistic (OR: 3.05; CI: 1.91−4.87; P < .05) and multivariate (OR: 2.93; CI: 1.82−4.72; P < .05) regression analyses compared with their fit peers. Obese girls were more likely to report negative SRH (OR: 2.30; CI: 1.14−4.62; P < .05) compared with their normal-weight counterparts. However such association was lost in multivariate analyses suggesting an effect of CRF.

Conclusions:

Negative perception of health was associated with lower CRF and weight status although such association it is mediated by CRF condition.

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Pedro Silva, Luisa Aires, Rute Marina Santos, Susana Vale, Greg Welk and Jorge Mota

Background:

The purpose of the study is to evaluate age and gender differences in objectively measured levels of physical activity (PA) in a large and diverse sample of residents from an urban area in Porto, Portugal.

Methods:

Participants included 822 residents, 334 males (41%), and 488 females (59%), aged 6 to 90 years. GT1M accelerometer was used to assess daily PA over 7 consecutive days, and the measurement was from October (2007) to June (2008).

Results:

Males were more active than females. This difference was attenuated in the 2 oldest age groups (40−59 and 60+ yrs). An accentuated declined in all PA variables occurred between the youngster group (6−11 yrs) and adolescents group (12−19 yrs). Surprisingly, young adults (20−39 yrs) engaged in more moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) than adolescents. Further, females also had higher MVPA in the fourth group (40−59 yrs) compared with the second group (12−19 yrs). Males had higher compliance rates of PA guidelines than females regardless the age group considered. Adolescents had very low compliance rates (females = 18.18%; males = 33.50%).

Conclusions:

Porto metropolitan area residents had low rates of compliance with current PA guidelines. A low level of PA in Porto adolescents is a matter of concern and suggests that interventions are needed.