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Eric E. Wickel, Johann Issartel and Sarahjane Belton

Background:

Relatively little is known regarding after-school behavior. This study examined after-school active and sedentary behaviors among youth participating in the Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

Methods:

An interview guided time-use approach was used to obtain detailed longitudinal information about after-school (3−6 PM) behavior of a mixed gender cohort (n = 886) at ages 9 and 11 yrs. Responses obtained in 15-min intervals were coded into 29 exclusive behaviors and separated into 3 main categories [moderate-and vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA), light-intensity physical activity, and sedentary]. Sedentary category was further divided into screen and nonscreen categories. A mixed ANOVA design was used to examine gender and age-related differences in MVPA, light-intensity physical activity, sedentary, screen, and nonscreen.

Results:

MVPA was higher among boys compared with girls (P < .001) and decreased from 9 to 11 yrs (P < .001). Overall, total sedentary time was comparable between boys and girls despite a difference in reported screen time (boys > girls; P < .001) and nonscreen time (boys < girls; P < .001). Total sedentary time increased from 9 to 11 yrs (P < .001).

Conclusion:

Engagement in after-school behavior appears to change during preadolescence. Additional research is needed to understand factors associated with the selection of active and sedentary behavior over time.

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Sarahjane Belton, Wesley O’Brien, Eric E. Wickel and Johann Issartel

Background:

The primary purpose of this study was to investigate patterns of noncompliance in an adolescent field based accelerometer study. A further purpose was to investigate the effect of a cost efficient strategy (SMS reminder message) on the compliance of adolescents

Method:

The research carried out in 2010 involved 117 second level students (12.41 ± .53 yrs) from 4 schools in a rural Irish town. The Actigraph accelerometer data were processed over 7 days to determine compliance level.

Results:

Students were more likely to remove their monitor in the evening period than at any other time, however if students removed their monitor after school it remained unworn for a significantly longer duration than in any other time period. Students who received a SMS message were significantly more likely (P = .008) to wear their monitor in the morning than those that did not.

Conclusions:

Sending an SMS message each morning is effective for improving the number of students wearing monitors to school. The after school period is a critical period for nonwear time and should be targeted in future studies wishing to improve compliance.

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Bronagh McGrane, Danielle Powell, Sarahjane Belton and Johann Issartel

Objectives: To explore the relationship between fundamental movement skill (FMS) competence, perceived FMS competence, and physical activity (PA) in adolescents. Methods: The Test of Gross Motor Development (TGMD), the TGMD 2nd Edition (TGMD-2), and the Victorian Skills manual were used to assess FMS competence (locomotor, object control, and stability). The Physical Self Confidence scale was used to assess perceived FMS competence (locomotor, object control, and stability). Moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA) was measured via accelerometry. Multi-level modelling analyses was used to examine (i) actual FMS as the predictor and perceived FMS as the outcome, (ii) perceived FMS as the predictor and MVPA as the outcome, and (iii) actual FMS as the predictor and MVPA as the outcome. All analyses were completed for each subtest of FMS (locomotor, object control, and stability). Results: A total of 584 adolescents (boys n = 278) aged 12.82–15.25 years (M = 13.78, SD = .42) participated in this study. Actual stability was associated with perceived stability (p < .01) and MVPA (p < .05) in boys. This was not found true for girls; however, actual locomotor skills were associated with MVPA (p ≤ .05). Boys scored significantly higher than girls for FMS proficiency, perceived FMS, and MVPA (p < .05). Discussion: Gender differences may exist due to cultural gender differences in sport participation norms. Considering the magnitude of physical and psychological changes occurring during adolescence, it is recommended to track young people over time to better understand the relationship between perceived and actual FMS, as well as PA participation.

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Orlagh Farmer, Donna Duffy, Kevin Cahill, Diarmuid Lester, Sarahjane Belton and Wesley O’Brien

The purpose of the current research was to gather baseline data on female youth to inform the development of a targeted physical activity (PA) and sports-based intervention, specifically identified as “Gaelic4Girls”. Cross-sectional data on PA levels, psychological correlates of PA, anthropometric characteristics, and the fundamental movement skill (FMS) proficiency of female youth (n = 331; M age 10.92±1.22) were collected. A subsample (n = 37) participated in focus group (FG) interviews exploring perceptions of health/sport, and identifying barriers/motivators to participation. PA levels were assessed using self-report (PA Questionnaire for Older Children) and classified as low, moderate, and high active. One- and two-way ANOVAs (post hoc Tukey honest significant difference [HSD]) were used to analyze the data. The FGs were transcribed verbatim, coded, and thematically analyzed. Findings indicated that the majority of youth (71.8%) were not meeting the minimum daily PA recommendations for health, and that 98.1% did not achieve the FMS proficiency expected for their age. Low, moderately, and highly active participants differ significantly in terms of overall FMS (p = .03), and locomotor control scores (p = .03). FG findings report fun and friendship as key PA motivators, too much competitiveness as barriers, and positive outside encouragement from family/friends/coaches as facilitators encouraging PA engagement. Findings highlight the need for targeting low levels of PA, FMS proficiency in female youth sport interventions, through addressing self-efficacy levels, inclusive of fun, and socially-stimulating PA environments.

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Bronagh McGrane, Sarahjane Belton, Stuart J. Fairclough, Danielle Powell and Johann Issartel

Background: Multicomponent, school-based interventions are considered to be an effective method for improving fundamental movement skill (FMS) proficiency levels and physical activity (PA) among youth. This study aimed to evaluate if the youth-physical activity toward health intervention can improve FMS proficiency in a randomized controlled trial among adolescents. Methods: Participants were 482 adolescents aged 12–13 years from 20 schools. For an academic year, participants in 10 schools received the youth-physical activity toward health intervention. The remaining 10 schools received their regular weekly physical education lessons. Fifteen FMS were assessed using validated tools; their PA was assessed using accelerometers; their height, weight, and cardiorespiratory fitness were also recorded. Outcomes were assessed at baseline, postintervention, and 3 months later at retention. Multilevel analysis was performed using MLwiN 2.35 software. Results: Significant intervention effects across time were observed for total object control (P < .0001; β = 2.04; 95% confidence interval, 1.16 to 2.92) and total locomotor (P < .0001; β = 2.13; 95% confidence interval, 1.44 to 2.82), with the greatest improvements evident for total FMS score (P < .0001; β = 4.04; 95% confidence interval, 2.39 to 5.69). The effects of the intervention were significant and positive for all children in the intervention group regardless of gender, weight status, or PA level (P = .03 to < .0001). Conclusions: Youth-physical activity toward health has the potential to improve FMS proficiency among adolescents regardless of gender, weight status, and activity levels.

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Deirdre M. Harrington, Marie Murphy, Angela Carlin, Tara Coppinger, Alan Donnelly, Kieran P. Dowd, Teresa Keating, Niamh Murphy, Elaine Murtagh, Wesley O’Brien, Catherine Woods and Sarahjane Belton

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is a key performance indicator for policy documents in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Building on baseline grades set in 2014, Ireland’s second Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth allows for continued surveillance of indicators related to PA in children and youth.

Methods:

Data and information were extracted and collated for 10 indicators and graded using an international standardized grading system.

Results:

Overall, 7 grades stayed the same, 2 increased, and 1 decreased. Grades were assigned as follows: Overall PA, D (an increase); Sedentary Behavior (TV), C-; Physical Education, D-; Active Play, Incomplete/Inconclusive (INC); Active Transportation, D; School, D (a decrease); Home (Family), INC; Community and the Built Environment, B+ (an increase); and Government, INC. Unlike 2014’s report card, different grades for the Republic (C-) and Northern Ireland (C+) were assigned for Organized Sport Participation.

Conclusions:

Although the grade for Overall PA levels increased to a D, this may reflect the increased quality and quantity of data available. The double burden of low PA and high sedentary levels are concerning and underscore the need for advocacy toward, and surveillance of, progress in achieving targets set by the new National Physical Activity Plan in the Republic and obesity and sport plans in the North.

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Sarahjane Belton, Gavin Breslin, Stephen Shannon, Wesley O’Brien, Ben Fitzpatrick, Tandy Haughey, Fiona Chambers, Danielle Powell, Darryl McCullagh and Deirdre Brennan

Background: The purpose of this study was to investigate daily physical activity (PA) patterns of 8- to 9-year-old Irish children from socially disadvantaged areas. Methods: Children (N = 408) were asked to wear an ActiGraph accelerometer for a minimum of 4 days. Based on mean daily moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA accumulation, participants were grouped into sex-specific quartiles (Q4, most active; Q1, least active). Principal component analysis was used to identify distinct time blocks for weekdays and weekend days. Results: Overall, 213 participants (8.7 [0.5] y) met accelerometer inclusion criteria. Of these, 56.7% met the 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA per day guidelines, with males statistically significantly more likely to do so than females (P < .01). Principal component analysis revealed 3 distinct time periods on weekdays and 4 distinct periods on weekends that children were active. The total difference in moderate- to vigorous-intensity PA accumulation between Q4 (most active) and Q1 (least active) was greatest in the after-school time period (male: 49 min and female: 33 min) on weekdays and in the evening time period on weekends (male: 33 min and female: 19 min). Conclusions: After-school and weekend evenings are critical “activity rich” time periods in terms of the gap between our most and least active disadvantaged children.

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Deirdre M. Harrington, Sarahjane Belton, Tara Coppinger, Muireann Cullen, Alan Donnelly, Kieran Dowd, Teresa Keating, Richard Layte, Marie Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Elaine Murtagh and Catherine Woods

Background:

Physical activity (PA) levels are a key performance indicator for policy documents in Ireland. The first Ireland Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth aims to set a robust baseline for future surveillance of indicators related to PA in children and youth.

Methods:

Data collected between 2003−2010 on more than 35,000 7- to 18-year-old children and youth were used and graded using a standardized grading system for 10 indicators.

Results:

Grades assigned for the indicators were as follows: overall physical activity levels, D-; sedentary behavior (TV viewing), C-; organized sport participation, C-: physical education, D-; active play, inconclusive (INC); active transportation, D; school, C-, community and the built environment, B; family, INC; and government, INC.

Conclusions:

PA recommendations exist in Ireland but this Report Card has shown that participation is still low. A number of promising policies, programs and services are in place but these require thorough evaluation and adequate resourcing. Agreement and implementation of a common framework for the systematic surveillance of indictors related to PA of children and youth is necessary to monitor change over time and ensure the impact of promising work is captured.