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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.

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Susana Vale, Rute Santos, Pedro Silva, Luísa Soares-Miranda and Jorge Mota

The purpose of this study was twofold: first to document the gender differences in Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) according to two epoch systems (5 vs. 60 s) in preschoolers, and, second to document the differences in physical activity (PA) patterns according to two different epoch choices. The sample comprised 59 preschoolers (31 girls) aged 2–5 years old. PA was assessed by accelerometer during school hours. The time spent in MVPA was significantly higher (p < .001) when a 5-s epoch was considered compared to the 60-s epoch, regardless gender. Further, it was found a difference of ?17 min difference between the 2 epoch systems for MVPA. Different epoch times might affect the time spent in MVPA among preschool children.

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Sandra Silva-Santos, Amanda Santos, Michael Duncan, Susana Vale and Jorge Mota

Introduction: Adequate gross motor coordination is essential for children participating in age-related physical activities and has an important role in maintaining sufficient physical activity levels during the life course. Aim: To examine the association between moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and gross motor coordination during sedentary behavior in early childhood (ages 3–6 y). Methods: The sample comprised 209 children aged 3–6 y. Gross motor coordination was assessed according to the Movement Assessment Battery for Children (MABC-2). The battery to assess gross motor coordination comprised the aiming and catching, and balance components. MVPA was measured by accelerometry worn for 7 consecutive days (Monday to Sunday). Results: Our data indicated that 31.5% of the sample had low, 32.5% medium, and 36.0% high gross motor coordination. Multiple linear regression analysis showed that MVPA was positively associated with gross motor coordination, adjusted for gender and sedentary behavior. Conclusions: Preschoolers with high gross motor coordination spend more time in MVPA. Gross motor coordination development should therefore be a key strategy in childhood interventions aiming to promote physical activity.

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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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Amanda Santos, Sandra Silva-Santos, Michael Duncan, Maria João Lagoa, Susana Vale and Jorge Mota

Purposes: To examine the association between sedentary time (ST) and light physical activity (LPA), moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA), and body mass index (BMI), and to track these behaviors over a 3-year follow-up in young schoolchildren. Methods: The final sample was 64 children (female: n = 36 or 56.3%), enrolled in schools in Porto, Portugal. Height and mass of children were measured by standard methods, and BMI was then calculated. ST, LPA, and MVPA were measured by accelerometer. Changes (Δ) and relative changes (Δ%) between 2009/2010 and 2012/2013 of ST, LPA, MVPA, and BMI were computed. Multiple linear regression analyses were fit to predict Δ%ST (outcome variable), by Δ%LPA, Δ%MVPA, and Δ%BMI (exposure variables). Results: ST increased and LPA decreased significantly for whole sample (both Ps < .05). No statistically significant difference was found for MVPA over time. There were no differences for ΔST, ΔLPA, ΔMVPA, and ΔBMI between boys and girls. The Δ%LPA and Δ%MVPA were negatively associated with Δ%ST, whereas Δ%BMI was positively associated. Tracking coefficients varied from moderate to strong. Conclusions: Time spent in ST increases due to displacement of time in LPA. This reinforces public health measures and suggests the need for interventions focusing on offsetting the decline ST and increasing MVPA during childhood.

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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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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.