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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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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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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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Fiona C. Bull, Tahlia S. Maslin and Timothy Armstrong

Purpose:

Instruments to assess physical activity are needed for (inter)national surveillance systems and comparison.

Methods:

Male and female adults were recruited from diverse sociocultural, educational and economic backgrounds in 9 countries (total n = 2657). GPAQ and the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) were administered on at least 2 occasions. Eight countries assessed criterion validity using an objective measure (pedometer or accelerometer) over 7 days.

Results:

Reliability coefficients were of moderate to substantial strength (Kappa 0.67 to 0.73; Spearman's rho 0.67 to 0.81). Results on concurrent validity between IPAQ and GPAQ also showed a moderate to strong positive relationship (range 0.45 to 0.65). Results on criterion validity were in the poor-fair (range 0.06 to 0.35). There were some observed differences between sex, education, BMI and urban/rural and between countries.

Conclusions:

Overall GPAQ provides reproducible data and showed a moderate-strong positive correlation with IPAQ, a previously validated and accepted measure of physical activity. Validation of GPAQ produced poor results although the magnitude was similar to the range reported in other studies. Overall, these results indicate that GPAQ is a suitable and acceptable instrument for monitoring physical activity in population health surveillance systems, although further replication of this work in other countries is warranted.

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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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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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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.

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Vincent Ochieng Onywera, Kristi B. Adamo, Andrew W. Sheel, Judith N. Waudo, Michael Kipsugut Boit and Mark S. Tremblay

Background:

Comparable data to examine the physical activity (PA) transition in African countries such as Kenya are lacking.

Methods:

We assessed PA levels from urban (UKEN) and rural (RKEN) environments to examine any evidence of a PA transition. Nine- to twelve-year-old children participated in the study: n = 96 and n = 73 children from UKEN and RKEN, respectively. Pedometers were used to estimate children’s daily step count. Parental perception regarding their child’s PA patterns was collected via questionnaire (n = 172).

Results:

RKEN children were more physically active than their UKEN counterparts with a mean average steps per day (± SE) of 14,700 ± 521 vs. 11,717 ± 561 (P < .0001) for RKEN vs. UKEN children respectively. 62.5% of the UKEN children spent 0 hours per week playing screen games compared with 13.1% of UKEN children who spent more than 11 hours per week playing screen games. Seventy percent of UKEN and 34% of RKEN parents reported being more active during childhood than their children respectively.

Conclusions:

Results of this study are indicative of a PA transition in Kenya. Further research is needed to gather national data on the PA patterns of Kenyan children to minimize the likelihood of a public health problem due to physical inactivity.

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Lucas J. Carr, R. Todd Bartee, Chris M. Dorozynski, James F. Broomfield, Marci L. Smith and Derek T. Smith

Background:

Less than half of U.S. adults engage in the recommended amount of physical activity (PA). Internet-delivered PA programs increase short-term PA but long-term adherence is largely equivocal.

Purpose:

To determine whether increased PA following the 16-week internet-delivered Active Living Every Day (ALED-I) program is maintained 8 months later in sedentary and overweight rural adults.

Methods:

In our previous randomized controlled trial (N = 32; 18 intent-to-treat controls, 14 ALED-I interventions), the ALED-I group increased PA (+1384 steps/day; E.S. = 0.95) and reduced central adiposity. Nine original intervention participants and ten delayed intent-to-treat control participants completed ALED-I and an 8-month follow-up. Pedometer-measured PA, anthropometric variables, and cardiometabolic disease risk factors were assessed at baseline, postintervention, and at 8 months.

Results:

Control crossover participants increased PA (+1337 steps/day; P = .04). Eight months following completion of ALED-I (N = 19), PA levels relapsed (–1340 steps/day) and were similar to levels before the intervention (6850 ± 471 steps/day vs. 6755 ± 543 steps/day; P = .89). Total cholesterol and triglycerides improved, –9.9% and –18.2%, respectively, and reductions in central adiposity were maintained (97.1 ± 2.2 cm vs. 97.2 ± 2.2 cm; P = .66).

Conclusions:

The ALED-I intervention was efficacious in the short-term but did not produce longer-term adherence to PA. Future theory- based internet-delivered interventions that produce habituation of increased PA are warranted. Study conducted in Laramie, WY from January 2007 through November 2007.

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Karen C. Smith, Griffin L. Michl, Jeffrey N. Katz and Elena Losina

multiplying by the radius of the earth in miles. Participants’ towns were used to classify them as urban, suburban, or rural. We defined rural towns using 2010 census data with criteria established by the Center for Rural Massachusetts: either a population density of less than 500 people per square mile or a