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Karin A. Pfeiffer and Michael J. Wierenga

Participation in a sport is widely considered a valuable form of physical activity, especially for children and adolescents. In addition, many think that sport participation translates to future physical activity. However, limited research has examined the ability of youth sport to significantly contribute to meeting daily physical activity guidelines (60 min/day of moderate to vigorous physical activity) and whether the physical activity behaviors of youth sport participants will translate into future, habitual activity in both the short and the long term. In this paper, available research on the role of youth sport in the promotion of physical activity is evaluated. Two major questions are used to frame the discussion: How much physical activity do youth sport participants attain during games and practices, and does sport participation during childhood and adolescence translate into habitual physical activity in adulthood? This is followed by ideas for future research and preliminary recommendations for best practices or policies.

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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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Erin K. Howie, Joanne A. McVeigh and Leon M. Straker

Background:

There are several practical issues when considering the use of hip-worn or wrist-worn accelerometers. This study compared compliance and outcomes between hip- and wrist-worn accelerometers worn simultaneously by children during an active video games intervention.

Methods:

As part of a larger randomized crossover trial, participants (n = 73, age 10 to 12 years) wore 2 Actical accelerometers simultaneously during waking hours for 7 days, on the hip and wrist. Measurements were repeated at 4 timepoints: 1) at baseline, 2) during traditional video games condition, 3) during active video games condition, 4) during no video games condition. Compliance and intervention effects were compared between hip and wrist.

Results:

There were no statistically significant differences at any timepoint in percentage compliance between hip (77% to 87%) and wrist (79% to 89%). Wrist-measured counts (difference of 64.3 counts per minute, 95% CI 4.4–124.3) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (12 min/day, 95% CI 0.3–23.7) were higher during the no video games condition compared with the traditional video games condition. There were no differences in hip-measured counts per minute or MVPA between conditions or sedentary time for hip or wrist.

Conclusions:

There were no differences in compliance between hip- and wrist-worn accelerometers during an intervention trial, however, intervention findings differed between hip and wrist.

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Emily Knox, Stuart Biddle, Dale W. Esliger, Joe Piggin and Lauren Sherar

Background:

Mass media campaigns are an important tool for promoting health-related physical activity. The relevance of sedentary behavior to public health has propelled it to feature prominently in health campaigns across the world. This study explored the use of messages regarding sedentary behavior in health campaigns within the context of current debates surrounding the association between sedentary behavior and health, and messaging strategies to promote moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Methods:

A web-based search of major campaigns in the United Kingdom, United States, Canada, and Australia was performed to identify the main campaign from each country. A directed content analysis was then conducted to analyze the inclusion of messages regarding sedentary behavior in health campaigns and to elucidate key themes. Important areas for future research were illustrated.

Results:

Four key themes from the campaigns emerged: clinging to sedentary behavior guidelines, advocating reducing sedentary behavior as a first step on the activity continuum and the importance of light activity, confusing the promotion of MVPA, and the demonization of sedentary behavior.

Conclusions:

Strategies for managing sedentary behavior as an additional complicating factor in health promotion are urgently required. Lessons learned from previous health communication campaigns should stimulate research to inform future messaging strategies.

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David R. Paul, Matthew Kramer, Kim S. Stote and David J. Baer

Background:

The number of days of data and number of subjects necessary to estimate total physical activity (TPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) requires an understanding of within- and between-subject variances, and the influence of sex, body composition, and age.

Methods:

Seventy-one adults wore accelerometers for 7-day intervals over 6 consecutive months.

Results:

Body fat and sex influenced TPA and MVPA. The sources of subject-related variation for TPA and MVPA were within-subject (48.4% and 54.3%), between-subject (34.3% and 31.8%), and calendar effects (17.3% and 13.9%). Based on within-subject variances, the error associated with estimating TPA and MVPA by collecting 1 to 7 days of data ranged from 28.2% to 13.3% for TPA and 62.0% to 28.6% for MVPA. Based on between-subject variances, detecting a 10% difference between 2 groups at a power of 90% requires approximately 200 and 725 subjects per group for TPA and MVPA, respectively.

Conclusions:

Estimates of MVPA are more variable than TPA in overweight adults, therefore more days of data are required to estimate MVPA and larger sample sizes to detect treatment differences for MVPA. Log-transforming data reduces the need for additional days of data collection, thereby improving chances of detecting treatment effects.

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Chuhe Chen, Gerald J. Jerome, Daniel LaFerriere, Deborah Rohm Young and William M. Vollmer

Background:

Accelerometers measure intensity, frequency, and duration of physical activity. However, the scarcity of reports on data reduction makes comparing accelerometer results across studies difficult.

Methods:

Participants were asked to wear a triaxial accelerometer (RT3) for ≥10 hours for at least 4 days, including one weekend day. We summarize our data-cleaning procedures and assess the impact of defining a usable day of measurements as at least 6, 8, or 10 hours of wear time, and of standardizing data to a 12-hour day.

Results:

Eighty-two percent of participants met wear time requirements; 93% met requirements when we defined a day as 8-or-more hours of wear time. Normalization of data to a 12-hour day had little impact on estimates of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA; 16.9 vs. 17.1 minutes); restricting MVPA to activities occurring in bouts of 10 minutes or longer had greater impact (16.9 vs. 6.3 minutes per day).

Conclusion:

Our account of accelerometry quality-control and data-cleaning procedures documents the small impact of variations in daily wear time requirements on MVPA estimates, and the larger impact of evaluating total MVPA vs. MVPA occurring in extended bouts. This paper should allow other researchers to duplicate or revise our methods as needed.

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Leanne Liggett, Andrew Gray, Winsome Parnell, Rob McGee and Yvette McKenzie

Background:

Objective measures, such as accelerometers, are increasingly being used to measure physical activity (PA) levels in children, and the use of validated and reliable instruments is desirable when measuring the effectiveness of programs. The purpose of this study was to determine the validity and reliability of the New Lifestyles NL-1000 accelerometer among preschoolers using a modified version of the Children’s Activity Rating Scale (CARS).

Methods:

Fourteen preschoolers wore the NL-1000 at their waist while the device measured activity levels [in seconds of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA)]. They were also videoed for approximately 12 minutes while participating in normal activities at an early childhood center. At approximately 2-minute intervals, activity level readings derived from the NL-1000 were recorded. The video footage was analyzed using a modified CARS technique and the CARS scores compared with data obtained from the accelerometer.

Results:

Within subject reliability was measured using intraclass correlation coefficients (0.58 for CARS and 0.59 for NL-1000). Furthermore, 95% of the variation in CARS could be explained by variation in the accelerometer counts, with 2.4% of the variation being participant-specific.

Conclusion:

The NL-1000 is a sufficiently reliable and valid tool for assessing MVPA in preschoolers.

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Birgitta L. Baker and Kirsten K. Davison

Background:

This study examined predictors of perceived athletic competence and subsequent physical activity in a longitudinal sample of adolescent girls.

Methods:

A sample of 149 girls was assessed at ages 9, 11, and 13. Perceived athletic competence (PAC) was measured at all ages. Nonaesthetic versus aesthetic sport participation, body fat percentage, and breast development were measured at age 9. Accelerometers were used to measure girls’ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at age 13.

Results:

Girls who participated in nonaesthetic sports at age 9 reported higher PAC at age 11 than those who participated in only aesthetic sports, while more advanced breast development at age 9 was associated with greater relative declines in PAC between ages 11 and 13. Both age 11 PAC and the relative change in PAC between ages 11 and 13 were significant positive predictors of age 13 MVPA. Results were independent of age 9 socioeconomic status and self-reported physical activity.

Conclusion:

Perceived athletic competence is a suitable target for intervention efforts designed to increase adolescent girls’ physical activity. Particular attention should be focused on girls who are overweight or experiencing puberty. Participation in nonaesthetic sports may be particularly important in the development of PAC.

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Jason A. Mendoza, Jessica McLeod, Tzu-An Chen, Theresa A. Nicklas and Tom Baranowski

Background:

Childhood obesity is at record high levels in the US and disproportionately affects Latino children; however, studies examining Latino preschool children’s obesity-related risk factors are sparse. This study determined correlates of Latino preschoolers’ (ages 3–5 years) adiposity to inform future obesity interventions and policies.

Methods:

Latino preschoolers (n = 96) from 4 Head Start centers in Houston, Texas were recruited. Parents reported acculturation and neighborhood safety. Children’s and parents’ height and weight were measured. Children’s television (TV) viewing was measured by TV diaries and physical activity by accelerometers. Linear regression was used with body mass index (BMI) z-score as the dependent variable and covariates sequentially added and retained in 4 blocks: 1) child age, gender, parent education, and BMI; 2) neighborhood safety and parent and child acculturation; 3) TV viewing; and 4) moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA).

Results:

In the final model (n = 96), only neighborhood disorder (β = 0.30, P = .005) and MVPA (β = –0.21, P = .049) were significantly associated with BMI z-score.

Conclusions:

Among Latino preschoolers, higher neighborhood disorder and lower MVPA were associated with greater children’s BMI z-scores.

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Melisa Comte, Erin Hobin, Steve Manske, Catherine Casey, Jane Griffith, Carly Leggett, Paul Veugelers, Donna Murnaghan and Jonathan McGavock

Objectives:

The purpose of this study was to determine if participation in physical education (PE) was associated with increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels in adolescents.

Methods:

This was a cross sectional study comparing MVPA levels in senior-years students—grade 11 and 12—enrolled in high school PE during the semester data were collected compared with those not enrolled in PE in that same semester. The primary outcome measure was daily MVPA measured by accelerometry. The primary exposure was participation in PE.

Results:

Among the 508 adolescents (16.9 ± 0.8 yrs, 49% female, n = 338 exposed to PE) studied, no differences in MVPA (47.0 ± 25.8 vs. 43.9 ± 25.0 mins/day, P = .25) or sedentary time (540.2 ± 94.7 vs. 550.2 ± 79.4 mins/day, P = .79) were noted between students enrolled in PE compared with students not enrolled in PE. Participation in PE was associated with a greater odds of achieving >60 minutes of MVPA daily (OR: 1.69; 95% CI: 1.04−2.75). This association was stronger among boys (OR: 2.4; 95% CI: 1.2−4.8) than girls (OR: 1.17; 95% CI: 5−2.7).

Conclusion:

Enrollment in PE in grade 11 or 12 is associated with modestly higher levels of MVPA and an increased likelihood of meeting PA guidelines among students in grades 11 and 12, particularly among boys.