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Yang Liu and Senlin Chen

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to capture students’ essential knowledge and behaviors concerning active living. Methods: Students (N = 1,079) from elementary, middle, and high schools in the United States reported their knowledge of physical activity and fitness (PAF knowledge), and physical activity and sedentary behavior using grade-specific PE Metrics tests and Youth Activity Profile, respectively. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses were used to address the research purposes. Results: The total PAF knowledge scores and scores in subareas varied by gender and school level. A declining trend for physical activity and an increasing trend for sedentary behavior were observed. PAF knowledge positively predicted physical activity in elementary school boys and middle school girls and negatively predicted sedentary behavior in middle school students and high school boys. Certain PAF knowledge subareas (e.g., elementary school PD#3: knowledge about the characteristics of health-enhancing physical activity; middle school PD#1: knowledge of physical activity participation as part of a healthful lifestyle; high school PD#4: monitoring and adjusting physical activity to meet fitness needs) also significantly predicted behaviors. Conclusion: The findings may guide teachers’ curricular and instructional actions to enhance students’ PAF knowledge through physical education.

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Yang Liu, Senlin Chen, and Xiangli Gu

Purpose: The study purpose was to examine performance differences in physical education among learners from two middle schools from two different states. Methods: Performance in physical education was represented by attitude toward physical education, knowledge of physical activity and fitness, and active living behaviors (i.e., physical activity and sedentary behavior). The sixth, seventh, and eighth graders of a midwestern state school (n = 397) and a deep southern state school (n = 350) completed the surveys (N = 747). Results: The authors observed statistically significant school differences in physical activity and fitness knowledge and physical activity behavior (favoring the deep southern state school), and in attitude and sedentary behavior (favoring the midwestern state school). The authors also found stronger associations between attitude and physical activity (but weaker associations between attitude and sedentary behavior) among the deep southern state school students than the midwestern state school students. Conclusion: These observed performance differences and their pedagogical ramifications are discussed in relation to sociodemographic and environmental factors.

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Senlin Chen, Yang Liu, and Jodee Schaben

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to examine physical activity (PA)/fitness knowledge and its association with PA and sedentary behavior in youth.

Method:

Eighth grade students from five schools (N = 660) in a midwestern state completed a PE Metrics written test and the Youth Activity Profile to assess PA/fitness knowledge, PA (at school and after school) and sedentary behavior, respectively.

Results:

Participants were clustered into high, medium, and low knowledge groups. Students in the high knowledge group reported higher level of PA after school (p < .05, d = .28) but lower level of sedentary behavior than the low knowledge group (p = .001, d = -.45). The low knowledge group also reported higher PA at school (p < .05, d = .25). PA/Fitness knowledge significantly predicted sedentary behavior, particularly in the low knowledge group (β = -.32, t = -2.46, p < .05, R 2 = .105), after controlling for gender and race/ethnicity.

Conclusion:

Physical education focused on conveying PA/fitness knowledge is warranted to educate youth to move more and sit less.

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Senlin Chen, Yang Liu, Jared Androzzi, Baofu Wang, and Xiangli Gu

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the limited efficacy of a high-intensity interval training (HIIT)-based fitness education unit in middle school physical education (PE). Method: The study took place in six PE classes at one middle school located in the southern United States. The authors conveniently assigned the classes to treatment (n = 3 classes; 113 students) or control (n = 3 classes; 119 students) groups. Two trained PE specialists implemented the HIIT lessons two to three times per week for 8 weeks. The authors collected mixed methods data at the student, class, and teacher levels for the evaluation. Results: The focus group teacher interview with the teachers, field observations, and accelerometer-determined in-class physical activity data revealed sound implementation fidelity. The HIIT-based fitness education condition also showed greater improvement in physical activity and fitness knowledge and attenuated decline in curl-up scores compared with the control. Conclusion: The findings support the limited efficacy of implementing HIIT for fitness education in middle school PE programs.

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Ya-Chen Liu, Wen-Wen Yang, I-Yao Fang, Hope Li-Ling Pan, Wei-Han Chen, and Chiang Liu

Outdoor fitness equipment (OFE) is installed in parks to promote health, particularly among seniors. However, no quantitative study has investigated its effectiveness. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the effectiveness of 12 weeks of OFE training on functional fitness in seniors. Forty-two active seniors were recruited and randomly assigned into OFE and control groups. The OFE group underwent 12 weeks of training using popular OFE for cardiorespiratory function, flexibility, and strength, whereas participants in the control group were asked to maintain their previous lifestyles. The senior fitness test was assessed before and after the 12-week period. Unexpectedly, the results showed no significant improvement within or between the groups after the 12-week training in all parameters (p > .05). In conclusion, the 12-week OFE training failed to enhance functional fitness among active seniors. Potential reasons for the limited training effects might be lack of resistance components and diversity of the OFE design and installation.

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Yang Liu, Yan Tang, Zhen-Bo Cao, Pei-Jie Chen, Jia-Lin Zhang, Zheng Zhu, Jie Zhuang, Yang Yang, and Yue-Ying Hu

Background:

Internationally comparable evidence is important to advocate for young people’s physical activity. The aim of this article is to present the inaugural Shanghai (China) Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.

Methods:

Since no national data are available, the working group developed the survey questionnaire and carried out the school surveys for students (n = 71,404), parents (n = 70,346), and school administrators and teachers (n = 1398). The grades of 9 report card indicators were assigned in accordance with the survey results against a defined benchmark: A is 81% to 100%; B is 61% to 80%; C is 41% to 60%, D is 21% to 40%; F is 0% to 20%.

Results:

The 9 indicators were graded as follows: Overall Physical Activity Levels (F), Organized Sport Participation (F), Active Play (D-), Active Transportation (C-), Sedentary Behavior (F), Family and Peers (B), School (B+), Community and the Built Environment (D+), and Government (D).

Conclusions:

Levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior were low and below the respective recommended guidelines. Interventions and policies at the community level should be encouraged to promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior. Future national surveys should be encouraged to strengthen Shanghai’s Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth.

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Aaron P. Crombie, Pei-Yang Liu, Michael J. Ormsbee, and Jasminka Z. Ilich

Purpose:

To examine relationships between changes in body weight, body composition, and fitness level in male students of the general population and those in the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program during the freshman year of college.

Methods:

Thirty-seven (18.4 ± 0.7 yr) healthy, nonsmoking, first-semesterresident male students were divided into 3 groups: low active (LA), high active (HA), and ROTC. Baseline (beginning of freshman year) and 6-month follow-up measurements included anthropometry, body composition (by DXA), 3-day food records, and physical activity (PA) assessment.

Results:

Weight and body-mass index did not change significantly within or among groups. HA participants compared with LA and ROTC had a significant decrease in body fat (–1.6% ± 2.5% vs. 1.9% ± 1.2% and 0.8% ± 2.2%, respectively). They also had a significant increase in lean mass compared with LA and ROTC (1.8 ± 1.1 kg vs. –0.2 ± 2.0 kg and 0.2 ± 1.7 kg, respectively). All p values were <.05. ROTC and LA participants were similar in all measures of body composition and PA and had significantly lower PA levels than the HA group. No significant relationships were observed between dietary variables and body-composition changes.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that higher PA was the most powerful determinant in achieving favorable body-composition outcomes. In addition, current physical training conducted by ROTC at Florida State University (which seems to be a practice nationwide) might not be sufficient to offset gains in body fat.

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Laurel M. Wentz, Pei-Yang Liu, Jasminka Z. Ilich, and Emily M. Haymes

Background:

High rates of vitamin D deficiency have been reported in athletes. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the associations between vitamin D with bone health and parathyroid hormone (PTH) concentrations in female runners who trained at 30.4° degrees north.

Methods:

Serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH) D), PTH, body composition, and bone mineral density (BMD) were measured in 59 female runners, aged 18–40 years. Stress fracture history, training duration and frequency were evaluated by questionnaire. As per National Endocrine Society cut-offs, serum vitamin D ranges were: 25(OH)D < 50 nmol/L for deficient; 50–75 nmol/L for insufficient; and ≥ 75 nmol/L for sufficient status.

Results:

Mean serum 25(OH)D concentrations were 122.6 ± 63.9 nmol/L, with 18.6% of subjects in the deficient (5.1%) or insufficient (13.5%) range. No significant differences were observed between sufficient and deficient/insufficient subjects for BMD, PTH, history of stress fractures, or demographic data.

Conclusions:

The majority of distance runners maintained sufficient vitamin D status, suggesting that training outdoors in latitude where vitamin D synthesis occurs year-round reduces the risk for vitamin D deficiency. Data do not support the indiscriminate supplementation of outdoor athletes in southern latitudes without prior screening.

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Laurel Wentz, Pei-Yang Liu, Jasminka Z. Ilich, and Emily M. Haymes

Purpose:

To compare female runners with and without a history of stress fractures to determine possible predictors of such fractures.

Methods:

27 female runners (age 18–40 yr) who had had at least 1 stress fracture were matched to a control sample of 32 female runners without a history of stress fractures. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (iDXA). Subjects answered questionnaires on stress-fracture history, training, menstrual status, and diet.

Results:

No significant differences were found in menstrual characteristics, diet and dairy intake, or bone measurements. Weekly servings of milk during middle school significantly predicted BMD at the femur (p = .010), femoral neck (p = .002), Ward’s triangle (p = .014), and femoral shaft (p = .005). Number of menstrual cycles in the previous year predicted femoral-neck BMD (p = .004). Caffeine intake was negatively associated with BMD of the femur (p = .010), femoral neck (p = .003), trochanter (p = .038), and femoral shaft (p = .035). Weekly hours of training were negatively associated with total-body BMD (p = .021), total-body bone mineral content (p = .028), and lumbar-spine BMD (p = .011). Predictors for stress fractures included the number of years running, predominantly running on hard ground, irregular menstrual history, low total-body BMD, and low current dietary calcium intake when controlling for body-mass index (Nagelkerke R 2 = .364).

Conclusions:

Servings of milk during middle-school years were positively correlated with hip BMD, although current calcium intake, low BMD, irregular menstrual history, hard training surface, and long history of training duration were the most important predictors of stress fractures.

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Stacy Imagbe, Baofu Wang, Yang Liu, Jared Androzzi, Xiangli Gu, and Senlin Chen

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine the potential racial disparities in education for active living (i.e., regular participation in moderate to vigorous physical activity with mitigated and interrupted levels of sedentary behavior) between Black/African American and White students. Methods: The study took place in one public middle school located in the Southeastern region of the United States. A total of 167 Black and 168 White students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades completed a written test and a survey in physical education to assess active living knowledge and behaviors, respectively. Results: Multivariate analysis of covariance and tests of between-subjects effects showed significant race differences. Specifically, Black students scored significantly lower on the knowledge test and reported lower levels of physical activity out of school, and higher levels of sedentary behavior than White students, after controlling for grade and gender. Conclusion: The results identified racial disparities in knowledge and behaviors of active living. Tailored, culturally relevant active living education in and out of schools are needed to level the playing field for Black students.