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Cora Lynn Craig

Background:

Low levels of physical activity (PA) and fitness have long been a government concern in Canada; however, more than half of adults are inactive. This article examines factors influencing policy development and implementation using Canadian PA policy as a case study.

Methods:

Current and historical PA policy documents were amassed from a literature review, audit of government and non government websites and from requests to government officials in each jurisdiction directly responsible for PA. These were analyzed to determine policy content, results, barriers, and success factors.

Results:

The national focus for PA policy in Canada has devolved to a multilevel system that meets most established criteria for successful strategies. Earlier PA targets have been met; however, the prevalence of PA decreased from 2005 to 2007. Annual per capita savings in health care associated with achieving the earlier target is estimated at $6.15 per capita, yet a fraction of that is directed to promoting PA.

Conclusion:

Evidenced-based strategies that address multiple policy agendas using sector-specific approaches are needed. Sustained high-level commitment is required; advocacy grounded in metrics and science is needed to increase the profile of the issue and increase the commitments to PA policies in Canada and internationally.

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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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Emily L. Mailey, Deirdre Dlugonski, Wei-Wen Hsu and Michelle Segar

Background: Many parents are insufficiently active. Further research is needed to understand the goals that drive sustained exercise participation among parents. The purpose of this study was to use self-determination theory derived constructs to examine the relationship between parents’ exercise goals and their autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and exercise behavior across 1 year. Methods: Mothers (n = 226) and fathers (n = 70) of children less than 16 years completed the Exercise Motivations Inventory-2 and, 1 year later, the Behavioral Regulation in Exercise Questionnaire-2 and Godin Leisure-Time Exercise Questionnaire. Linear mixed effects models were used to examine the longitudinal relationships between exercise goals and autonomous motivation, controlled motivation, and leisure-time exercise. Results: All goals except weight management were significantly associated with autonomous motivation, whereas only weight and appearance goals predicted controlled motivation. Exercising for stress management and revitalization, but not health- or appearance-related goals, was significantly related to exercise behavior over 1 year. Conclusions: Only goals related to immediate affective outcomes were associated with both autonomous motivation and exercise behavior over time. These findings support recent calls to “rebrand exercise” as a means to improve daily well-being. Such goals may drive parents to prioritize exercise because they value the immediate benefits it provides.

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Mohsen Maddah, Zahra Akbarian, Solmaz Shoyooie, Maryam Rostamnejad and Mehdi Soleimani

Background:

Regular exercise is an important aspect of physical activity for people living in urban areas. We examined prevalence of regular exercise in leisure times and some related factors in middle aged men and women in northern Iran.

Method:

A cross-sectional survey was undertaken on 1425 women and 676 men in 2 main cities in northern Iran. Information on exercise habits was collected using a self-administrated questionnaire. Regular exercise was defined as any kind of recreational or sport physical activity other than walking performed three or more days per week for at least 20 minutes. Questions on perceived barriers on regular exercise and walking habit were also included in the questionnaire.

Results:

Findings showed that 11.2% of the participants (9% in women and 12.8% in men P < .05) did exercise regularly. Prevalence of doing regular exercise was inversely related to age in women but not in men. Educated women were more likely to do regular exercise. The most common perceived barrier for regular exercise was time insufficiency.

Conclusion:

Only a small proportion of the study men and women had sustainable regular exercise for 1 year. Regular exercise was more common among young and well educated women than older women and the men.

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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.

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Viviene Temple, Ryan Rhodes and Joan Wharf Higgins

Background:

Walking has been identified as a low resourced yet effective means of achieving physical activity levels required for optimal health. From studies conducted around the world, we know that dog owners walk more than nondog owners. However, this evidence is largely self-reported which may not accurately reflect dog-owners’ behaviors.

Method:

To address this concern, we systematically observed the use of 6 different public parks in Victoria, British Columbia during fair and inclement weather. Using a modified version of the SOPARC tool, we documented visitors’ types of physical activity, and the presence or absence of dogs. The Physical Activity Resource Assessment was used to consider park features, amenities, and incivilities.

Results:

More people without dogs (73%) visited the parks than those with dogs (27%), largely because of attendance at the multiuse sport parks during the summer months. Despite the opportunities to engage in multiple sports, most people used the parks to walk. However, when inclement weather struck, dog owners continued visiting parks and sustained their walking practices significantly more than nondog owners.

Conclusion:

Our observational snapshot of park use supports earlier work that dogs serve as a motivational support for their owners’ walking practices through fair and foul weather.

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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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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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James A. Dimmock, Marylène Gagné, Lauren Proud, Timothy C. Howle, Amanda L. Rebar and Ben Jackson

Sustained attention has been devoted to studying the factors that support (or thwart) individuals’ enjoyment of, interest in, and value judgments regarding their exercise activities. We employed a resistance-inducing (i.e., inoculation theory) messaging technique with the aim of protecting these desirable perceptions in the face of environmental conditions designed to undermine one’s positive exercise experiences. Autonomously motivated exercisers (N = 146, M age = 20.57, SD = 4.02) performed a 25-min, group-based, instructor-led exercise circuit, in which the activities were deliberately monotonous, and during which the confederate instructor acted in a disinterested, unsupportive, and critical manner. Shortly before the session, participants received either a control message containing general information about the exercise class or an inoculation message containing a forewarning about potential challenges to participants’ enjoyment/interest/value perceptions during the class, as well as information about how participants might maintain positive perceptions in the face of these challenges. Despite there being no between-conditions differences in presession mood or general exercise motives, inoculated (relative to control) participants reported greater interest/enjoyment in the exercise session and higher perceptions of need support from the instructor. Perceptions of need support mediated the relationship between message condition and interest/enjoyment.

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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.