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José Joaquín Muros, Mikel Zabala, María Jesús Oliveras-López, Paula Rodríguez Bouzas, Emily Knox, José Ángel Rufián-Henares and Herminia López-García de la Serrana

Background:

The aim of this study was to determine the effects of nutritional education and vigorous physical activity on health-related parameters.

Methods:

The sample group consisted of 134 children from 5 rurally located schools. Participants were divided between 5 different experimental groups: control group (CG), physical activity group (PA), nutritional education group (NE), combined intervention group (PA+NE), and a combined intervention group with additional substitution of normally used oil for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO; PA+NE+EVOO). The intervention consisted of 60 minute sessions of physical activity held twice a week as well as nutritional education sessions held over 6 months.

Results:

Students in the groups receiving physical activity reduced their fat percentage and increased their muscle mass post intervention. At posttest the lipid profile improved in all intervention groups. The proportion of macronutrients and dietary cholesterol improved in the groups receiving nutritional education. The posttest comparison showed significantly lower fat percentage, sum of skinfolds and waist circumference in NE relative to CG and PA relative to CG. Diastolic blood pressure and glycaemia were significantly lower in PA+NE+EVOO relative to CG.

Conclusion:

A school-based program consisting of nutritional education or nutritional education plus a physical activity program showed a positive effect on health-related parameters in children.

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Karla I. Galaviz, Deena Zytnick, Michelle C. Kegler and Solveig A. Cunningham

Background:

We examined the relationship between parents’ perception of neighborhood safety and children’s physical activity and use of recreation facilities in a US nationally representative sample of fifth grade children.

Methods:

We used data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study Kindergarten cohort, fifth grade sample (N = 9827). Multivariate logistic and linear regression models were used to examine associations between parents’ perception of neighborhood safety for outside play and number of days children engage in physical activity, as well as children’s use of recreational facilities for physical activity.

Results:

Children who used recreational facilities engaged in physical activity on more days of the week compared with children who did not use a facility (3.3 days vs. 3.8 days, P < .0001). Children from neighborhoods perceived as unsafe by parents engaged in almost 1 less day per week in physical activity (β = –.89, P < .0001). Children from neighborhoods perceived as unsafe were less likely to use recreational facilities compared with children from neighborhoods perceived as safe (odds ratio = 0.72, P < .0001). Children from less affluent families across rural and urban areas had half the odds of using recreational facilities compared with children from the wealthiest families living in urban areas.

Conclusions:

Parents’ perception of neighborhood safety for outside play can deter or promote children’s physical activity and use of recreational facilities. Children from less affluent families are less likely to use facilities than children from wealthy families, regardless of place of residence.

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Divya Rajaraman, Natasha Correa, Zubin Punthakee, Scott A. Lear, Krishnaswamy G. Jayachitra, Mario Vaz and Sumathi Swaminathan

Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to understand perceived benefits, facilitators, disadvantages, and barriers for physical activity among South Asian adolescents in India and Canada.

Methods:

Thirteen focus group discussions with South Asian (origin) adolescent boys and girls of different nutritional status and socioeconomic status in rural and urban India and urban Canada.

Results:

Across the groups, fitness and ‘energy’ were perceived to be major benefits of physical activity. In India, better academic performance was highlighted, while health benefits were well detailed in Canadian groups. In all settings, friends, family, and teachers were perceived as facilitators of as well as barriers to physical activity. Lack of a safe space to play was a major concern for urban adolescents, while academic pressures and preference for other sedentary recreational activities were common barriers across all groups. Girls were less likely than boys to be interested in physical activity, with girls’ participation in India further limited by societal restrictions.

Conclusions:

The study suggests key areas for promotion of physical activity among South Asian adolescents: balance between academic pressure and opportunities for physical activity, especially in India; urban planning for a built environment conducive to physical activity; and gender-sensitive programming to promote girls’ activity which also addresses culture-specific barriers.

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Kelly Samara Silva, Adair da Silva Lopes, Carla Meneses Hardman, Luciana Gatto Azevedo Cabral, Shana Ginar da Silva and Markus Vinicius Nahas

Background:

Commuting reflects an important opportunity for youth to engage in physical activity. This study aimed to compare modes of commuting to school and to work and to identify sociodemographic factors associated with various modes of transportation.

Methods:

Epidemiologic study with a repeated cross-sectional design. Participants included high school students (15–19 years of age) from Santa Catarina state, Brazil, in 2001 (n = 5028) and 2011 (n = 6529). A questionnaire containing information on the type of transport used to commute to school and to work was administered.

Results:

Walking/bicycling and the use of the bus to commute to school and to work remained stable after a decade; however, the use of car/motorcycle to school (6.4% versus 12.6%) and to work (10.2% versus 19.7%) increased significantly. In both cases, females more frequently used buses, whereas males commuted to work by car/bus. Students from rural areas more commonly commuted to school by car/motorcycle, whereas those from urban areas traveled to work more by bus. There was a greater use of cars/motorcycles by young people from higher-income families.

Conclusions:

The use of cars/motorcycles to commute to school/work has almost doubled in the last decade. Sex, residential area and income were associated with passive commuting.

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Kelly S. Silva, Markus V. Nahas, Adriano F. Borgatto, Elusa S. Oliveira, Giovâni F. Del Duca and Adair S. Lopes

Background:

Active commuting has decreased substantially in recent decades and has been more frequent in specific demographic and socioeconomic profiles. The objective of this study was to describe the prevalence of active trips and the possible associations with demographic and socioeconomic variables.

Methods:

A questionnaire on lifestyle and risk behavior was administered to a sample population of 5028 adolescents, ages 15 to 19 years, attending public high schools in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. Logistic regressions (odds ratio—OR; 95% confidence interval) were used to test associations.

Results:

Active commuting to school was reported for 56.7% of students, and active commuting to work was reported for 70.0%. The likelihood of commuting passively was greater among girls (school: OR = 1.27; 1.10−1.45), older adolescents (school: OR = 1.17; 1.02−1.33; work: OR = 1.49; 1.22−1.82), those who lived in rural areas (school: OR = 12.1; 9.91−14.8), those who spent more time in commuting (school: OR = 2.33; 2.01−2.69; work: OR = 4.35; 3.52−5.38), and those from high-income families (school: OR = 1.40; 1.21−1.62; work: OR = 1.69; 1.37−2.08).

Conclusions:

The proportion of students taking active trips was higher when going to work than to school. All indicators were associated with the mode of commuting, except gender and place of residence for commuting to work.

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Karen Croteau, Grant Schofield, George Towle and Vijiayarani Suresh

Background:

It is speculated that rural Kenyan children are more physically active than those in developed countries. The purpose of this study was to examine pedometer-measured physical activity levels of western Kenyan youth.

Methods:

Participants in this study were children in Levels 3 and 5 who attended a private primary school. The sample (n = 72) consisted of 43 girls and 29 boys (average age = 9.8 ± 1.1, range = 8−12 years). Age, gender, tribe, and height and weight measures were collected. Weight status category was determined according to CDC guidelines. Participants wore a sealed Yamax pedometer for 4 weekdays during the measurement period. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and 2-way ANOVA (age × gender).

Results:

The total sample averaged 14558 ± 3993 daily steps. There was no significant effect for age [F(4,68) = 1.682, P = .102] nor significant age × gender interaction [F(4,68)=1.956, P = .117]. There was a significant effect for gender [F(1,68) = 4.791, P = .033], with boys (16262 ± 4698) significantly more active than girls (13463 ± 3051).

Conclusions:

The observed daily steps are higher than those observed in the U.S., similar to samples in other developed countries, but lower than Amish youth.

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Masamitsu Kamada, Jun Kitayuguchi, Kuninori Shiwaku, Shigeru Inoue, Shimpei Okada and Yoshiteru Mutoh

Background:

Physical activity contributes to maintaining functional ability later in life. Specific relationships between walking for particular purposes (eg, recreation or transport) and functional ability are not clear. It is useful for planning health promotion strategies to clarify whether walking time for recreation, or walking time for transport has the stronger relationship with maximum walking speed (MWS), a determinant of functional ability later in life in the elderly.

Methods:

A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2007 using a sample of 372 community-dwelling elderly people aged 60 to 87 years in Mitoya Town, Unnan City, rural Japan. Associations with MWS were examined for self-reported weekly times of walking for recreation and for transport using multiple linear regression analyses.

Results:

Both in men and women, walking time for recreation was significantly associated with MWS after controlling for age, height, weight, hip and knee pain, and a number of chronic diseases (men: β = 0.18, P = .024; women: β = 0.17, P < .01). However, walking time for transport was not significantly associated with MWS (men: β = −0.094, P = .24; women: β = −0.040, P = .50).

Conclusions:

Walking for recreation may contribute to maintaining functional abilities such as MWS in the elderly.

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Tarek Tawfik Amin, Waseem Suleman, Ayub Ali, Amira Gamal and Adel Al Wehedy

Objectives:

To determine patterns of physical activity (PA) along domains of work-transport-leisure among adult Saudis, sociodemographic correlates of PA and perceived personal barriers to leisure-time-related physical inactivity in Al-Hassa, KSA.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study in which 2176 adult Saudis attending urban and rural Primary Health centers were selected using multistage proportionate sampling method. Participants were personally interviewed to gather information regarding sociodemographics, PA pattern using Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ), and perceived barriers toward recreation-related PA. Analysis was carried out along GPAQ protocol.

Results:

Median total physical activity was 2304 METs-minutes/week. Fifty-two percent of subjects were sufficiently active meeting the minimum recommendations when considering total PA and 21% of the subjects were sufficiently active in leisure-time-related activity with ≥ 5 days of any combination of walking, moderate or vigorous-intensity activities with a total of at least 600 METs-minutes/ week. Regression analyses showed that females, higher educational and occupational status were negative predictors to total and leisure-related PA. Barriers perceived toward leisure-related PA included weather, traditions, lack of facilities and time.

Conclusion:

A low PA pattern along the 3 domains of PA may impose a refection toward more sedentary life style in Saudi Arabia.

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Roy J. Shephard and François Trudeau

This article looks retrospectively at lessons learned from the Trois-Rivières physical education study. A brief review of the experimental design shows 546 students assigned by class cohort to either an additional 5 hours of quality physical education per week in grades 1 through 6, or a control treatment (minimal physical education by the homeroom teacher). Strengths of the study include a quasi-experimental design, a prolonged and well-defined intervention, assessment of compensation for the program, continuation of observations into middle age, collection of data in urban and rural environments, consistency of teaching staff and technical personnel, documentation of changes in academic achievement, assessment of bone maturation, a carefully constructed database, and control for cross-contamination. Limitations include some secular change, limited information on pubertal stages, difficulty in generalizing findings to an English-speaking environment, and some rigidity in the statistical design. The study demonstrates that cardiorespiratory function, muscle strength, and field performance can all be enhanced in primary school with no negative impact on academic work. Further, attitudes, behavior, and function are favorably influenced in adults. Future studies should seek out stable populations, define interventions closely, contract with participants for a long-term follow-up, and assess the immediate and long-term impact on health and function. Above all, there is a need for a dedicated principal investigator who will devote his or her entire career to the longitudinal study.

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Rafael Monge-Rojas, Tamara Fuster-Baraona, Carlos Garita-Arce, Marta Sánchez-López, Uriyoán Colon-Ramos and Vanessa Smith-Castro

Background:

In Latin America, more than 80% of adolescent girls are physically inactive. Inactivity may be reinforced by female stereotypes and objectification in the Latin American sociocultural context.

Methods:

We examined the influence of objectification on the adoption of an active lifestyle among 192 adolescents (14 and 17 years old) from urban and rural areas in Costa Rica. Analyses of 48 focus-groups sessions were grounded in Objectification Theory.

Results:

Vigorous exercises were gender-typed as masculine while girls had to maintain an aesthetic appearance at all times. Adolescents described how girls were anxious around the prospect of being shamed and sexually objectified during exercises. This contributed to a decrease in girls’ desire to engage in physical activities. Among males, there is also a budding tolerance of female participation in vigorous sports, as long as girls maintained a feminine stereotype outside their participation.

Conclusion:

Self-objectification influenced Costa Rican adolescent girls’ decisions to participate in physical activities. Interventions may include: procuring safe environments for physical activity where girls are protected from fear of ridicule and objectification; sensitizing boys about girl objectification and fostering the adoption of a modern positive masculine and female identities to encourage girls’ participation in sports.