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Steven P. Hooker

The mission of the California Active Aging Project is to enable and encourage Californians over 50 years of age to lead healthier lives by promoting physical activity and creating social and physical environments that support active aging. The article briefly describes the approaches the California Department of Health Services is taking to promote physical activity to older adults. Integral to the selected approaches is the translation of research into practice, engagement of diverse agencies and organizations as partners, and strengthening of community capacity to promote physical activity.

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Christine L. Wells and Steven P. Hooker

Physiological variables identified as important factors in athletic performance are discussed in relation to the spinal cord injured (SCI) athlete. These include body composition, pulmonary function, cardiorespiratory efficiency, muscular strength and endurance, and anaerobic power. SCI athletes are less fat and have a larger lean body mass than nonathletes, and male SCI are less fat than female SCI. Static lung volumes are usually below normal values in SCI subjects, but athletic SCI subjects tend to have higher values than sedentary SCI. Sedentary SCI subjects have lower aerobic power (O2max) than the general able-bodied (AB) sedentary population on tests of arm cranking or wheelchair ergometry. Low-lesion paraplegics generally achieve O2max values comparable to AB subjects. O2max is inversely related to level of injury, that is, the higher the SCI, the lower the O2max. However, elite SCI athletes are capable of achieving very high levels of O2max during arm exercise. SCI subjects respond well to strength and muscular endurance training. Paraplegic subjects achieve higher anaerobic power scores than quadriplegic subjects. Increases in O2max occur at about the same magnitude as in AB subjects. The required intensity level appears to be about 70–80% of maximal heart rate reserve.

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Barbara E. Ainsworth and Steven P. Hooker

The health-enhancing benefits of regular physical activity have been theorized for thousands of years. Within the past 25 years, public health agencies, health-related organizations, and health-focused foundations have recognized regular physical activity as a major factor in preventing premature morbidity and mortality. Colleges and universities have experienced a paradigm shift in applying public health strategies to prepare graduates in understanding how to reduce the impact of sedentary lifestyles on health outcomes. For nearly 20 years, some kinesiology departments have expanded from traditional curricula to new courses and degrees in promoting physical activity in the community, the application of epidemiology concepts to physical activity, and the study of policy and environmental approaches to promoting physical activity. Given the high prevalence of physical activity insufficient to prevent premature morbidity and mortality, continuing educational efforts are needed to assure kinesiology students have the skills and information needed to promote physical activity in communities to people of all ages and abilities.

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Steven P. Hooker, Janet Fulton and Lanay M. Mudd

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Julian A. Reed, Steven P. Hooker, Suresh Muthukrishnan and Brent Hutto

Background:

To examine demographic characteristics and physical activity (PA) behaviors of trail users on a newly constructed 2-mile urban rail/trail (ie, abandoned rail line converted to a recreational trail).

Methods:

A systematic evaluation process was initiated to monitor PA behaviors using the System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities (SOPARC).

Results:

Slightly more males (n = 2578, 54%) than females (n = 2198, 46%) were observed using the rail/trail since its inception. A significant age group difference (F = 16.68, P < .001) was observed among users with the vast majority being adults (n = 3317, 69%). Women were 2.2 times more likely than men (95% CI 1.7−3.0) to be sedentary rather than vigorously active adjusted for age and race. Whites were 2.8 times more likely than nonwhites (95% CI 2.4−3.2) to engage in vigorous activity rather than walking, adjusted for age and gender. Rail/trail users resided on average 2.89 miles from the trail.

Discussion:

The most frequent users of the rail/trail were male, white adults, and observed PA varied for gender and age. More research is needed to better understand differences in patterns of trail use by various population groups.

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Julian A. Reed, Gilles Einstein, Erin Hahn, Steven P. Hooker, Virginia P. Gross and Jen Kravitz

Purpose:

To examine the impact of integrating physical activity with elementary curricula on fluid intelligence and academic achievement.

Methods:

A random sample of 3rd grade teachers integrated physical activity into their core curricula approximately 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week from January 2008 to April 2008. Noninvasive fluid intelligence cognitive measures were used along with State-mandated academic achievement tests.

Results:

Experimental Group children averaged close to 1200 pedometer steps per integration day, thus averaging 3600 steps per week. Children in the Experimental Group performed significantly better on the SPM Fluid Intelligence Test. Children in the Experimental Group also performed significantly better on the Social Studies State mandated academic achievement test. Experimental Group children also received higher scores on the English/Language Arts, Math and Science achievements tests, but were not statistically significant compared with Control Group children. Children classified in Fitnessgram’s Healthy Fitness Zone for BMI earned lower scores on many of the SPM Fluid Intelligence components.

Discussion:

This investigation provides evidence that movement can influence fluid intelligence and should be considered to promote cognitive development of elementary-age children. Equally compelling were the differences in SPM Fluid Intelligence Test scores for children who were distinguished by Fitnessgram’s BMI cut points.

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Philip J. Troped, Heather A. Whitcomb, Brent Hutto, Julian A. Reed and Steven P. Hooker

Purpose:

This study assessed test-retest reliability of an interviewer-administered trail survey.

Methods:

An intercept survey was conducted with adults using 2 paved trails in Indiana and South Carolina (N = 295; mean age = 46.9 ± 18 y). The survey included items on frequency and duration of trail use for recreation and transportation, other patterns of trail use, and sociodemographic characteristics. Fifty-five adults completed the survey twice (2−16 d apart; mean = 7.4 ± 2.6 d). Test-retest reliability was assessed with Spearman rank correlation coefficients, Kappa coefficients, and percent agreement.

Results:

Kappa coefficients and percent agreement for 9 categorical items ranged from 0.65 to 0.96 and from 64.0% to 98.2%, respectively. Among these items, the lowest Kappas were found for perceived safety (0.65) and reported duration of visits for recreational purposes (0.67). Spearman rank correlation coefficients for travel distance to and on the trail and frequency of trail use during the past 7 days and past 4 weeks ranged from 0.62 to 0.93.

Conclusion:

Though further assessments of this survey with different populations and types of trails may be warranted, its overall high reliability indicates it can be used by researchers and practitioners in its current form.

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Anna Elizabeth Price, Julian A. Reed, Savannah Long, Andrea L. Maslow and Steven P. Hooker

Background:

Public health efforts to promote trail use among older adults could be an effective strategy for increasing physical activity among older adults. However, research is needed to better understand factors that influence older adults’ use of trails.

Purpose:

To examine the association between variations in natural elements (ie, season, weather, temperature) and older adults’ overall trail use and physical activity intensity during trail use.

Methods:

A rail-trail in South Carolina was systematically evaluated (2006–2009) using The System for Observing Play and Recreation in Communities.

Results:

The majority (74.2%) of the 1053 older trail users observed were walking; 25.9% were observed in vigorous activity. Older adults were most often observed using the trail in the spring (40.1%), sunny weather (76.8%), and moderate temperatures (56.2%). Significant differences in activity type by natural element variables were identified.

Conclusions:

When promoting trail use among older adults, natural elements should be considered.

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Steven P. Hooker, Anna Feeney, Brent Hutto, Karin A. Pfeiffer, Kerry McIver, Daniel P. Heil, John E. Vena, Michael J. LaMonte and Steven N. Blair

Purpose:

This study was designed to validate the Actical activity monitor in middle-aged and older adults of varying body composition to develop accelerometer thresholds to distinguish between light and moderate intensity physical activity (PA).

Methods:

Nonobese 45 to 64 yr (N = 29), obese 45 to 64 yr (N = 21), and ≥65 yr (N = 23; varying body composition) participants completed laboratory-based sitting, household, and locomotive activities while wearing an Actical monitor and a portable metabolic measurement system. Nonlinear regression analysis was used to identify activity count (AC) cut-points to differentiate between light intensity (<3 METs) and moderate intensity (≥3METs) PA.

Results:

Using group-specific algorithms, AC cut points for 3 METs were 1634, 1107, and 431 for the obese 45 to 64 yr group, nonobese 45 to 64 yr group, and ≥65 yr group, respectively. However, sensitivity and specificity analysis revealed that an AC cut-point of 1065 yielded similar accuracy for detecting an activity as less than or greater than 3 METs, regardless of age and body composition.

Conclusion:

For the Actical activity monitor, an AC cut-point of 1065 can be used to determine light and moderate intensity PA in people ≥45 years of age.

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Ann E. Vandenberg, Rebecca H. Hunter, Lynda A. Anderson, Lucinda L. Bryant, Steven P. Hooker and William A. Satariano

Background:

Research on walking and walkability has yet to focus on wayfinding, the interactive, problem-solving process by which people use environmental information to locate themselves and navigate through various settings.

Methods:

We reviewed the literature on outdoor pedestrian-oriented wayfinding to examine its relationship to walking and walkability, 2 areas of importance to physical activity promotion.

Results:

Our findings document that wayfinding is cognitively demanding and can compete with other functions, including walking itself. Moreover, features of the environment can either facilitate or impede wayfinding, just as environmental features can influence walking.

Conclusions:

Although there is still much to be learned about wayfinding and walking behaviors, our review helps frame the issues and lays out the importance of this area of research and practice.