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Alexander Vigo-Valentín, Kimberly A. Bush and Samuel R. Hodge

Background:

There is limited evidence on physical activity patterns among Hispanic adolescents in Puerto Rico. This restricts opportunities to implement effective interventions and policies to increase physical activity in schools. The purpose of this study was to examine the physical activity behaviors of adolescents attending middle and high schools in Puerto Rico based on a compendium of moderate to vigorous physical activities including walking, jogging or running, bicycling, sports and more. A secondary purpose was to examine group differences as a function of gender and school level.

Method:

A cross-sectional survey research design was used. Students (N = 637) attending public middle and high schools completed a Visual 7-Day Physical Activity Recall survey. Both descriptive and inferential analyses were conducted to describe the sample and to determine group differences.

Results:

Puerto Rican adolescents’ levels of physical activity decreased throughout the week. Only a small proportion of them reached at least 60 minutes everyday of the week. Differences were found between middle and high school students’ daily and weekly participation in physical activities.

Conclusions:

Most adolescents do not engage in sufficient physical activity.

Implications:

Implications of the results are discussed and recommendations are articulated for policy makers, educators, and other professionals.

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Peter Anthamatten, Lois Brink, Beverly Kingston, Eve Kutchman, Sarah Lampe and Claudio Nigg

Background:

Careful research that elucidates how behavior relates to design in the context of elementary school grounds can serve to guide cost-efficient design with the goal of encouraging physical activity (PA). This work explores patterns in children’s PA behavior within playground spaces with the specific goal of guiding healthy playground design.

Methods:

Data on children’s utilization and PA behavior in 6 playgrounds divided into 106 observation zones were collected in 2005 and 2006 at Denver elementary school playgrounds using the System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth. Analyses of variance and t tests determined whether there were differences in utilization and behavior patterns across observations zones and between genders.

Results:

This study provides evidence that children prefer to use certain types of playground zones and that they are more likely to practice moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in some zones. The authors observed statistically significant differences between genders. Boys were more likely to engage in MVPA in zones without equipment, girls were more likely to use zones with equipment.

Conclusions:

This work suggests that the inclusion or omission of specific playground features may have an impact on the way that children use the spaces.

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Karen Martin, Alexandra Bremner, Jo Salmon, Michael Rosenberg and Billie Giles-Corti

Background:

The objective of this study was to develop a multidomain model to identify key characteristics of the primary school environment associated with children’s physical activity (PA) during class-time.

Methods:

Accelerometers were used to calculate time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during class-time (CMVPA) of 408 sixth-grade children (mean ± SD age 11.1 ± 0.43 years) attending 27 metropolitan primary schools in Perth Western Australia. Child and staff self-report instruments and a school physical environment scan administered by the research team were used to collect data about children and the class and school environments. Hierarchical modeling identified key variables associated with CMVPA.

Results:

The final multilevel model explained 49% of CMVPA. A physically active physical education (PE) coordinator, fitness sessions incorporated into PE sessions and either a trained PE specialist, classroom teacher or nobody coordinating PE in the school, rather than the deputy principal, were associated with higher CMVPA. The amount of grassed area per student and sporting apparatus on grass were also associated with higher CMVPA.

Conclusion:

These results highlight the relevance of the school’s sociocultural, policy and physical environments in supporting class-based PA. Interventions testing optimization of the school physical, sociocultural and policy environments to support physical activity are warranted.

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Deborah Young, Brit I. Saksvig, Tong Tong Wu, Kathleen Zook, Xia Li, Steven Champaloux, Mira Grieser, Sunmin Lee and Margarita S. Treuth

Background:

We examined associations among multilevel variables and girls’ physical activity to determine whether they vary at different adolescent ages.

Methods:

All field sites of the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls contributed participants from 6th (n = 1576) and 8th grades (n = 3085). The Maryland site contributed an 11th grade sample (n = 589). Questionnaires were used to obtain demographic and psychosocial information (individual- and social-level variables); height, weight, and triceps skinfold to assess body composition; interviews and surveys for school-level data; and geographical information systems and self-report for neighborhood-level variables. Moderate to vigorous physical activity minutes (MVPA) were assessed from accelerometers. Mixed models (13 individual, 5 social, 15 school, 12 neighborhood variables) were used to determine multilevel associations.

Results:

Variables at individual, social, school, and neighborhood levels were associated with MVPA, but differed across grades. Lower percent body fat, higher social support from friends, and lower school math scores were associated with higher MVPA at 6th and 8th grade. Higher physical activity self-efficacy was associated with higher MVPA at 11th grade. Only lower physical activity barriers were associated with higher MVPA at all grades.

Conclusion:

MVPA is a complex behavior with fluid, multilevel correlates that differ among girls across middle and high school.

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Chelsey M. Thul, Marla E. Eisenberg, Nicole Larson and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Background:

Little is known about the physical activity patterns of Somali adolescents. This study compared time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and participation in specific physical activities among Somali, other Non-Hispanic black and white adolescents.

Methods:

A subsample of 1,268 adolescents (mean age= 14.6) who completed surveys as part of the EAT 2010 (Eating and Activity in Teens) study was included in analyses. Gender-stratified linear and logistic regressions, controlling for body mass index and demographic characteristics, were conducted to estimate mean weekly hours of self-reported MVPA and mean weekly hours and prevalence of engagement in each of 26 physical activities assessed by ethnic/racial group.

Results:

Somali girls had lower mean MVPA hours than their peers; however, no differences were found for Somali boys. Involvement in most activities was similar for Somali and other groups, but some differences were observed. For example, Somali youth were more likely to play soccer than their same-sex other black peers (boys: 52.4% vs. 20.4%; girls: 34.6% vs. 14.6%; P < .05). Somali girls also engaged in more hours per week of soccer than their black or white peers.

Conclusions:

Activities for which Somali youth indicated higher involvement may be particularly relevant for culturally-tailored physical activity programming.

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Temitope Erinosho, Derek Hales, Amber Vaughn, Stephanie Mazzucca and Dianne S. Ward

Background:

This study assessed physical activity and screen time policies in child-care centers and their associations with physical activity and screen time practices and preschool children’s (3–5 years old) physical activity.

Methods:

Data were from 50 child-care centers in North Carolina. Center directors reported on the presence/absence of written policies. Trained research assistants observed physical activity and screen time practices in at least 1 preschool classroom across 3 to 4 days. Children (N = 544) wore accelerometers to provide an objective measure of physical activity.

Results:

Physical activity and screen time policies varied across centers. Observational data showed 82.7 min/d of active play opportunities were provided to children. Screen time provided did not exceed 30 min/d/child at 98% of centers. Accelerometer data showed children spent 38 min/d in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity and 206 min/d in sedentary activity. Policies about staff supervision of media use were negatively associated with screen time (P < .05). Contrary to expectation, policies about physical activity were associated with less time in physical activity.

Conclusions:

Clear strategies are needed for translating physical activity policies to practice. Further research is needed to evaluate the quality of physical activity policies, their impact on practice, and ease of operationalization.

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John R. Sirard, Peter Hannan, Gretchen J. Cutler and Dianne Nuemark-Sztainer

Background:

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate self-reported physical activity of young adults using 1-week and 1-year recall measures with an accelerometer as the criterion measure.

Methods:

Participants were a subsample (N = 121, 24 ± 1.7 yrs) from a large longitudinal cohort study. Participants completed a detailed 1-year physical activity recall, wore an accelerometer for 1 week and then completed a brief 1-week physical activity recall when they returned the accelerometer.

Results:

Mean values for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) from the 3 instruments were 3.2, 2.2, and 13.7 hours/wk for the accelerometer, 1-week recall, and 1-year recall, respectively (all different from each other, P < .001). Spearman correlations for moderate, vigorous, and MVPA between the accelerometer and the 1-week recall (0.30, 0.50, and 0.40, respectively) and the 1-year recall (0.31, 0.42, and 0.44, respectively) demonstrated adequate validity.

Conclusions:

Both recall instruments may be used for ranking physical activity at the group level. At the individual level, the 1-week recall performed much better in terms of absolute value of physical activity. The 1-year recall overestimated total physical activity but additional research is needed to fully test its validity.

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Jim Dollman and Kate Ridley

Background:

Evidence suggests that a substantial proportion of children meet guidelines for sufficient physical activity, but also exceed TV guidelines. Health-related consequences of this combination are unknown.

Methods:

843 children, (age 10-11 y), were surveyed for health-related fitness [endurance performance (20 m MST), skinfolds, waist girth], daily TV and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Children were grouped using daily TV (≤ 120 min) and MVPA (≥ 60 min) guidelines: hiTV-hiMVPA/“technoactives”’; hiTV-loMVPA/“screenies”; and loTV-hiMVPA/“sporties.” Groups were compared on health-related fitness measures.

Results:

There was a trend (P = 0.07) towards higher girls’ skinfolds among “screenies” than “sporties.” Boys’ waist girths were higher among “technoactives” than “sporties” (P = 0.008). Male “technoactives” outperformed “screenies” on the 20 m MST (P = 0.03). Female “sporties” (P = 0.004) and “technoactives” (P = 0.0002) outperformed “screenies” on the 20 m MST.

Conclusions:

“Technoactives” were no different than “sporties” on endurance fitness but exhibited less favorable fat distribution among boys. Overall, “screenies” exhibited the least favorable health profiles.

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Casey Jordan Mace, Ralph Maddison, Timothy Olds and Ngaire Kerse

Background:

The Multimedia Activity Recall for Children and Adults (MARCA) is a computerized recall instrument that records use of time during 24 hr the previous day and has been developed to address limitations of current self-report physical activity measures for those in advanced age.

Methods:

Test–retest reliability and convergent validity of the adult MARCA were assessed in a sample of 45 advanced-age adults (age 84.9 SD ± 1.62 yr) as a subsample of the Life and Living in Advanced-Age Cohort Study New Zealand (LiLACS NZ). Test–retest methods required participants to recall the previous day’s activity using the MARCA twice within the same day. Convergent validity was assessed against accelerometry.

Results:

Test–retest reliability was high, with ICCs greater than .99 for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and physical activity level (PAL). Compared with accelerometry, the MARCA demonstrated validity comparable to other self-report instruments with Spearman’s coefficients of .34 and .59 for time spent in nonsedentary physical activity and PAL.

Conclusion:

The MARCA is a valid and reliable self-report tool for physical activity behaviors in advanced-age adults.

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Leslie Peacock, Allan Hewitt, David A. Rowe and Rona Sutherland

Purpose:

The study investigated (a) walking intensity (stride rate and energy expenditure) under three speed instructions; (b) associations between stride rate, age, height, and walking intensity; and (c) synchronization between stride rate and music tempo during overground walking in a population of healthy older adults.

Methods:

Twenty-nine participants completed 3 treadmill-walking trials and 3 overground-walking trials at 3 self-selected speeds. Treadmill VO2 was measured using indirect calorimetry. Stride rate and music tempo were recorded during overground-walking trials.

Results:

Mean stride rate exceeded minimum thresholds for moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) under slow (111.41 ± 11.93), medium (118.17 ± 11.43), and fast (123.79 ± 11.61) instructions. A multilevel model showed that stride rate, age, and height have a significant effect (p < .01) on walking intensity.

Conclusions:

Healthy older adults achieve MVPA with stride rates that fall below published minima for MVPA. Stride rate, age, and height are significant predictors of energy expenditure in this population. Music can be a useful way to guide walking cadence.