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William A. Sparrow, Rezaul K. Begg and Suzanne Parker

Visual reaction time (RT) was measured in 10 older men (mean age, 71.1 years) and gender-matched controls (mean age, 26.3 years) when standing (single task) and when walking on a motor-driven treadmill (dual task). There were 90 quasirandomly presented trials over 15 min in each condition. Longer mean and median RTs were observed in the dual task compared to the single task. Older males had significantly slower mean and median RTs (315 and 304 ms, respectively) than the younger group (273 and 266 ms, respectively) in both task conditions. There were no age or condition effects on within-subject variability. Both groups showed a trend of increasing RT over the 90 single task trials but when walking only the younger group slowed. These novel findings demonstrate high but sustained attention by older adults when walking. It is proposed that the motor task’s attentional demands might contribute to their slower preferred walking speed.

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Melody Oliver, Karl Parker, Karen Witten, Suzanne Mavoa, Hannah M. Badland, Phil Donovan, Moushumi Chaudhury and Robin Kearns

Background:

The study aim was to determine the association between children’s objectively assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and active trips (AT) and independently mobile trips (IM) during out-of-school hours.

Methods:

Children aged 9 to 13 years (n = 254) were recruited from 9 schools in Auckland, New Zealand between 2011 and 2012. Children completed travel diaries and wore accelerometers for 7 days. Parents provided demographic information. Geographic information systems-derived distance to school was calculated. Accelerometer data were extracted for out of school hours only. Percentage of time spent in MVPA (%MVPA), AT, and IM were calculated. Generalized estimating equations were used to determine the relationship between daily %MVPA and AT and between daily %MVPA and IM, accounting for age, sex, ethnicity, distance to school, day of the week, and numeric day of data collection.

Results:

A significant positive relationship was observed between %MVPA and both AT and IM. For every unit increase in the daily percentage of trips made that were AT or IM, we found an average increase of 1.28% (95% CI 0.87%, 1.70%) and 1.15% (95% CI 0.71%, 1.59%) time in MVPA, respectively.

Conclusion:

Children’s AT and IM are associated with increased MVPA during out-of-school hours.