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Catherine J. Vladutiu, Kelly R. Evenson and Stephen W. Marshall

Background:

Although physical activity can provide health benefits to pregnant women, population-based research on the circumstances surrounding injuries from physical activity during pregnancy is lacking.

Methods:

Physical activity and subsequent injuries among a cohort of 1469 pregnant women in North Carolina were examined prospectively from the third phase of the Pregnancy, Infection, and Nutrition Study between 2001 and 2005. Chi-square analyses were used to compare distributions of maternal characteristics among women who sustained injuries from physical activity and women who reported no injuries during pregnancy. Injury incidence rates were calculated.

Results:

Few pregnant women (N = 34) reported a physical activity-related injury during pregnancy. The rates of physical activity-related and exercise-related injuries during pregnancy were 3.2 per 1000 physical activity hours and 4.1 per 1000 exercise hours, respectively. The most common types of injuries were bruises or scrapes (55%). Among all injuries, 33% resulted from exercise and 67% resulted from nonexercise physical activities. Sixty-four percent of all injuries were due to falls.

Conclusions:

The incidence of injury from physical activity was low during pregnancy. Women should continue to be encouraged to maintain involvement in physical activity during pregnancy, while being aware of the potential for injury, particularly falls, from these activities.

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Yves Vanden Auweele, Filip Boen, Wanda Schapendonk and Karen Dornez

This study evaluated the impact of two simple interventions aimed at promoting stair use among female employees at a five-floor worksite. The first intervention involved a “health” sign that linked stair use to health and fitness; it was placed at the junction between the staircase and the elevator. The second intervention involved an additional e-mail sent a week later by the worksite’s doctor, pointing out the health benefits of regular stair use. Stair use increased significantly from 69% at baseline to 77% in the week after the first intervention, 2 (1) = 12.97, p < .001. Moreover, compared with the first intervention, stair use increased significantly to 85% in the week after the second intervention, 2 (1) = 15.58, p < .001. However, stair use decreased to 67% in a follow-up one month after the sign was removed, and was not significantly different from baseline, 2 (1) = 0.41, p = .52. These results suggest that simple and inexpensive interventions such as a health sign in combination with an e-mail sent by the worksite’s doctor can encourage female employees to use the stairs. However, it appears that sustained effort is needed to consolidate these effects.

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Catherine E. Draper, Tracy L. Kolbe-Alexander and Estelle V. Lambert

Background:

The Community Health Intervention Programmes (CHIPs) is a physical activity-based health promotion program operating in disadvantaged communities in the Western Cape, South Africa with primary school learners, adults and senior adults. Program growth, anecdotal evidence and experience of those involved suggest the program has been positively received by communities. The aim of this study was to conduct a qualitative, retrospective process evaluation concerning both factors associated with successful implementation of the programs, and implementation challenges.

Methods:

‘Success’ was defined in consultation with CHIPs staff and stakeholders. Data were gathered through naturalistic observation, structured interviews and focus groups (n = 104), and open-ended questionnaires (n = 81). The sample included CHIPs staff and stakeholders, program members and leaders.

Results:

Factors contributing to the program’s success include: focus on combining social development and exercise science, community development model, scientifically sound program content, appropriate activities, intrapersonal and interpersonal factors, program leadership, encouraging staff, and various contextual factors.

Conclusions:

The findings confirm that CHIPs presents a model of sustainable implementation of physical activity in disadvantaged communities, and that it positively impacts the quality of life, perceptions of the role of physical activity in health, and personal responsibility for health of those involved in its programs.

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Katie Smith, L. Lanningham-Foster, Amy Welch and Christina Campbell

Background:

Innovative methods are warranted to optimize prenatal outcomes. This study’s objective was to determine if a web-based behavioral intervention (BI) can prevent excessive gestational weight gain (GWG) by increasing physical activity (PA).

Methods:

Participants were randomized to usual care (UC; n = 21) or BI (n = 24) between 10 to 14 weeks gestation. GWG, PA, and diet were assessed at baseline, mid-, and late pregnancy.

Results:

No differences in GWG or adherence to GWG recommendations presented between groups. Total UC MET-minutes significantly decreased from baseline to late-pregnancy (1,234 ± 372 MET-minutes, P = .013). Mid-pregnancy sustained PA was greater for BI than UC (20-minute PA bouts: 122 ± 106 vs. 46 ± 48 minutes/week, P = .005; 30-minute PA bouts: 74 ± 70 vs. 14 ± 24 minutes/week, P < .001), and greater for BI at mid-pregnancy compared with baseline (20-minute PA bouts: 61.3 ± 21.9; 30-minute PA bouts: 39.6 ± 14.8, both P < .05). BI energy intake at mid-pregnancy significantly increased from baseline (336 ± 127 kcals, P = .04) and was significantly greater than UC (2,503 ± 703 vs. 1,894 ± 594, P = .005).

Conclusions:

Sedentary pregnant women should increase PA but may need additional dietary counseling to prevent excessive GWG.

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Anthony Barnett, Ester Cerin and Tom Baranowski

Background:

A population level increase in physical activity (PA) is critical to reduce obesity in youth. Video games are highly popular and active video games (AVGs) have the potential to play a role in promoting youth PA.

Method:

Studies on AVG play energy expenditure (EE) and maintenance of play in youth were systematically identified in the published literature and assessed for quality and informational value.

Results:

Nine studies measuring AVG play EE were identified. The meta-analytic estimates of average METs across these studies were 3.1 (95% CI: 2.6, 3.6) to 3.2 (95% CI: 2.7, 3.7). No games elicited an average EE above the 6 MET threshold for vigorous EE. Observed differences between studies were likely due to the different types of games used, rather than age or gender. Four studies related to maintenance of play were identified. Most studies reported AV G use declined over time. Studies were of low-to-medium quality.

Conclusion:

AVGs are capable of generating EE in youth to attain PA guidelines. Few studies have assessed sustainability of AV G play, which appears to diminish after a short period of time for most players. Better-quality future research must address how AV G play could be maintained over longer periods of time.

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Jaakko Kaprio and Seppo Sarna

Occupational disability was investigated in former Finnish athletes in the Olympic Games, World or European championships, or intercountry competitions during 1920–1965 (N = 2,402 men) for eight selected sports. The referents were 1,712 men selected from the Finnish conscription register, matched on age and area of residence and classified as completely healthy. The first outcome measure was the length of working life based on the age when the subject was granted a disability pension, or age at death before age 65. The Kaplan-Meier estimate of mean working life expectancy was 61.4 years for endurance sport athletes, 60.0 years for team games athletes, and 59.2 years for power sport competitors, compared with 57.6 years for the reference group. Decreased coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular and respiratory morbidity were observed for all athletes when compared with the referent group. It was concluded that sustained and vigorous physical activity during early adulthood may extend the occupationally active life span and defer the onset of disability before retirement age.

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Rebecca F. Wiener, Sabrina L. Thurman and Daniela Corbetta

We used eye tracking to investigate where infants and adults directed their gaze on a scene right before reaching. Infants aged 5, 7, 9, and 11 months old and adults looked at a human hand holding an object out of reach for 5 s, then the hand moved the object toward the participant for reaching. We analyzed which part of the scene (the object, the hand, or elsewhere) infants and adults attended the most during those 5 s before reaching. Findings revealed that adults’ visual fixations were majorly focused on the object to reach. Young infants’ looking patterns were more widely distributed between the hand holding the object, the object, and other nonrelevant areas on the scene. Despite distributed looking on the scene, infants increased their amount of time looking at the object between 5 and 11 months. Nine- and 11-month-olds showed overall accumulated looking durations comparable to adults’ for most of the objects; however, 9-month-olds differed in their rate of gaze transition between scene areas. From the age of 5 months old, infants are able to sustain their gaze to the pertinent scene area when the scene contains a central object on which they will later be able to act.

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Andrew J. Mowen and Birgitta L. Baker

Background:

The United States’ first National Physical Activity Plan is now under development. This plan follows the release of new physical activity guidelines and seeks to address the nation’s ongoing physical inactivity and obesity crisis. For this plan to be successful, all facets of American culture need to unify behind its recommendations and action steps. Guidance for this plan involves active participation from a variety of sectors, including the park, recreation, fitness, and sport (PRFS) sector.

Purpose:

In this white paper, we discuss the potential of the PRFS sector in addressing America’s physical inactivity. Specifically, we provide a brief description, history, and scope of the PRFS sector; present evidence concerning linkages between this sector and physical activity; and discuss existing challenges and emerging opportunities for promoting physical activity. We conclude by suggesting PRFS recommendations to promote physical activity based on anticipated effectiveness, reach, scope, and sustainability.

Methods:

Academic articles, professional reports, and physical activity plans were reviewed to summarize the evidence concerning PRFS sector strategies for increasing physical activity. Recommendations: Based on our review, we propose several sector-specific proximity, place, program, partnership, promotion, people, policy, and performance indicator recommendations for improving physical activity in the United States.

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Joanne Butt, Robert S. Weinberg, Jeff D. Breckon and Randal P. Claytor

Background:

Physical activity (PA) declines as adolescents get older, and the motivational determinants of PA warrant further investigation. The purposes of this study were to investigate the amount of physical and sedentary activity that adolescents participated in across age, gender, and race, and to investigate adolescents’ attraction to PA and their perceived barriers and benefits across age, gender, and race.

Methods:

High school students (N = 1163) aged between 13 and 16 years completed questionnaires on minutes and intensity of physical and sedentary activity, interests in physical activity, and perceived benefits and barriers to participating in PA.

Results:

A series of multivariate analyses of variance were conducted and followed up with discriminant function analysis. PA participation decreased in older females. In addition, fun of physical exertion was a primary attraction to PA for males more than females. Body image as an expected outcome of participating in PA contributed most to gender differences.

Conclusion:

There is a need to determine why PA drops-off as females get older. Findings underscore the importance of structuring activities differently to sustain interest in male and female adolescents, and highlights motives of having a healthy body image, and making PA fun to enhance participation.

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Cindy Lentino, Amanda J. Visek, Karen McDonnell and Loretta DiPietro

Background:

An innovative strategy for helping people achieve recommended levels of daily physical activity is dog walking. We assessed differences in physical activity and risk indicators between dog owners who 1) walk their dog (n = 399) and 2) do not walk their dog (n = 137) and compared them with adults who do not own dogs (n = 380).

Methods:

Participants (39 ± 13 years) were recruited online and completed an electronic questionnaire. Healthy People 2010 risk indicators included physical activity, overweight status, tobacco use, nutrition behaviors, chronic conditions, depressive symptoms, and social support.

Results:

Compared with dog walkers, those who did not own or walk their dog reported less physical activity (MET-min·week−1) and a higher body mass index (P < .01). Moreover, after adjusting for age and moderate to high physical activity, those who did not own dogs had significantly greater odds of self-reported diabetes [OR = 2.53; 95%CI (1.17−5.48)], hypertension [OR = 1.71; 95%CI (1.03−2.83)], hypercholesterolemia [OR = 1.72; 95%CI (1.06−2.81)], and depression [OR = 1.49; 95%CI (1.09−2.05)] compared with participants who regularly walked their dogs.

Conclusions:

Because of the health benefits associated with dog walking, this activity should be encouraged within communities as a method of promoting and sustaining a healthy lifestyle.