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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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Wesley O’Brien, Michael J. Duncan, Orlagh Farmer and Diarmuid Lester

Recent research has shown that post-primary Irish youth are insufficiently active and fail to reach a level of proficiency across basic fundamental movement skills. The purpose of the current research was to gather cross-sectional data on adolescent youth, differentiated by gender, specifically to inform the development of a targeted movement-oriented intervention. Data were collected on adolescents (N = 219; mean age : 14.45 ± 0.96 years), within two, mixed-gender schools. Data collection included actual and perceived movement measurements comprised of fundamental movement skills, the functional movement screen, perceived movement confidence, and perceived functional confidence. Overall, levels of actual mastery within fundamental and functional movement were low, with significant gender differences observed. Adolescent males scored higher in the overall fundamental movement skill domain (male mean score = 70.87 ± 7.05; female mean score = 65.53 ± 7.13), yet lower within the functional movement screen (male mean score = 13.58 ± 2.59), in comparison to their female counterparts (female mean score = 14.70 ± 2.16). There were high levels of perceived confidence reported within fundamental and functional movement scales. Future intervention strategies should combat the low levels of actual movement skill proficiency, while identifying the reasons for higher perceived movement confidence within adolescents.

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Christina Duff, Johann Issartel, Wesley O’ Brien and Sarahjane Belton

The aim of this study was to quantify levels of physical activity (PA) and fundamental movement skills (FMS) of children aged 3 to 5 years in Irish preschool services during care hours, and investigate the relationship between these two variables. Data were collected from 141 children (50.3% boys, age M = 3.9 ± 0.5 years) across 9 preschool services. Measurements included PA via accelerometry, and proficiency in four FMS (run, vertical jump, throw and catch). The recommended guideline of 15 minutes of PA per hour (min PA/hour) was met by 35% of children (M = 13.6 min PA/hour). Significant differences in mean PA per hour were found by gender, with boys (14.2 min PA/hour) more active than girls (13.0 min PA/ hour), and age, with younger children (14.2 min PA/hour) more active than older (12.6 minutes PA/hour). Percentage of children proficient in the run was high (88.4%), but low across the other skills (4.9%–18.5%). Significant differences were identified by gender for vertical jump with girls scoring higher than boys. No significant relationship was found between FMS and total PA. Low levels of PA and FMS proficiency highlight need for intervention in early years settings to ensure children develop skills to participate in PA.

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Gavin Breslin, Tandy Haughey, Wesley O’Brien, Laura Caulfield, Alexa Robertson and Martin Lawlor

The present study had three aims, to determine: (a) whether providing a curriculum-based mental health awareness program to athletes increased knowledge of mental health and intentions to offer support; (b) whether the program increased resilience and well-being compared to a control group; and (c) the feasibility of the program. A total of 100 participants (Mage = 20.78; SD = 2.91; male = 59) either attended the program or were part of a control group. Participants completed questionnaires pre-, post-, and 3-months post-intervention, although there was a low participant return rate for the 3-month follow-up (n = 15). Participants were invited to take part in a focus group to explore program relevance. Knowledge of mental health and intentions to offer support increased for the intervention group, compared to the control. The program with some modification could be integrated into university sport courses to promote mental health awareness.

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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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Lisa E. Bolger, Linda A. Bolger, Cian O’Neill, Edward Coughlan, Wesley O’Brien, Seán Lacey and Con Burns

This study examined the effectiveness of a physical activity (Year 1) and a multicomponent fundamental movement skill (FMS) (Year 2) intervention on primary school children’s FMS proficiency. Data were collected from 6- and 10-year-old cohorts from two intervention schools and age-matched groups from one control school, in south Ireland. In Year 1 (N = 187), intervention (n = 96) and control (n = 91) groups were children from senior infant (6-year-old cohort) and 4th class (10-year-old cohort). In Year 2 (N = 357), intervention (n = 195) and control (n = 162) groups were children from senior infant and 1st class (6-year-old cohort) and 4th and 5th classes (10-year-old cohort). FMS assessment was conducted across both academic years, using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2. Linear mixed models were used to investigate the effectiveness of each intervention, adjusting for age group. Following Year 1, the intervention group significantly improved locomotor proficiency (p < .05), with no changes in object-control or overall proficiency. No group-time interactions were found. Following Year 2, the intervention group significantly improved locomotor, object-control, and overall proficiency (p < .001). Group-time interaction effects were found for both subsets and overall FMS in favor of the intervention group (p < .001). FMS proficiency among primary school children was significantly greater following the multicomponent FMS intervention.

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Lisa E. Bolger, Linda A. Bolger, Cian O’ Neill, Edward Coughlan, Wesley O’Brien, Seán Lacey and Con Burns

The purpose of this study was to assess the fundamental movement skill (FMS) proficiency of Irish primary school children relative to age and sex. Data collected were baseline measures for Project Spraoi, a physical activity (PA) and nutrition-based intervention. Participants (N = 203) were senior infant (n = 102, M age: 6.0 ± 0.4 years) and fourth class (n = 101, M age: 9.9 ± 0.4 years) children from three primary schools in the south of Ireland. FMS testing was conducted using the Test of Gross Motor Development-2 (TGMD-2), assessing six locomotor and six object-control skills. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to assess age and sex related differences in FMS proficiency. Older children scored significantly higher than younger children in both locomotor (p < .05) and object-control score (p < .05). Boys scored significantly higher than girls in object-control score (p < .05), while girls scored significantly higher in locomotor score (p < .05). FMS levels among Irish primary school children are similar to children worldwide, with age and sex differences evident. Early interventions, aimed at improving FMS, are warranted among Irish primary school aged children as greater proficiency is related to greater PA participation and numerous health benefits.

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Lisa E. Bolger, Linda A. Bolger, Cian O’Neill, Edward Coughlan, Wesley O’Brien, Seán Lacey and Con Burns

Background: Perceived movement competence is important in the relationship between actual competence and physical activity (PA). This study examines the accuracy of children’s perceptions and investigates the relationship between perceived competence (PC) and PA. Methods: Data collected were part of Project Spraoi, a PA and nutrition-based intervention. Participants (N = 419) were senior infant/first class (n = 202, mean age: 6.5 [0.6] y) and fourth/fifth class (n = 217, mean age: 10.4 [0.6] y) children from 3 schools in Cork, Ireland. The Test of Gross Motor Development-2 and Pictorial Scale of Perceived Movement Skill Competence for Young Children assessed actual and PC in 6 locomotor and 6 object-control fundamental movement skills. Moderate to vigorous PA levels were measured by accelerometry. Wilcoxon signed-rank tests assessed the accuracy of PC. Hierarchical regression analysis investigated relationships between PC and both actual competence and moderate to vigorous PA. Results: Children had greater perceived overall and object-control competence than actual. Among younger children, there was no difference between perceived locomotor and actual, while older children had lower perceived locomotor competence than actual. PC did not predict actual competence. Perceived object-control and total PC were significant predictors of moderate to vigorous PA. Conclusions: Children have inflated perceptions of their overall and object-control movement skill competency. Perceived object-control and total FMS is associated with PA and thus, interventions aimed at increasing PA among children should target PC.

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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.