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Cristina Jácome, Joana Cruz, Raquel Gabriel, Daniela Figueiredo and Alda Marques

This study assessed functional balance among older adults at all grades of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and explored balance impairment predictors. A cross-sectional study with outpatients with COPD (N = 160; M = 72.2 years, SD = 7.9; mean forced expiratory volume in 1 s = 63.8% predicted, SD = 23.7) was conducted. The Timed Up and Go (TUG) test was used to assess functional balance. Functional balance impairment was defined as a TUG score exceeding the upper limit of the confidence intervals of normative values for healthy older adults. Participants performed the TUG test in 11.0 s (SD = 4.8 s). Functional balance impairment was present in 44.4% of the participants and was significantly more frequent in severe to very severe COPD (62.5%). Body mass index (odds ratio [OR] = 1.12), number of medications (OR = 1.20), restriction in recreational activities (OR = 1.66), and depression score (OR = 1.14) were multivariate predictors of functional balance impairment. Functional balance impairment is present in early COPD, although more evident at advanced grades. These findings highlight the importance of balance assessment in older patients at all COPD grades.

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Rachel A. Millstein, Katherine D. Hoerster, Dori E. Rosenberg, Karin M. Nelson, Gayle Reiber and Brian E. Saelens

Background:

Sedentary behavior is an increasingly recognized health risk factor, independent of physical activity. Although several correlates of sedentary behavior are known, little research has identified them among U.S. veterans, a population that faces disproportionate chronic disease burden.

Methods:

A survey was mailed to 1997 randomly selected veterans at a large urban Veterans Affairs medical center in 2012 and remailed in 2013 to nonresponders, resulting in a 40% response rate. We examined individual-, social-, and neighborhood-level factors in association with self-reported sitting time. Factors correlated with sitting time at P < .05 were included in a multiple linear regression model.

Results:

In the multivariate model, higher depression (B = 7.8), body mass index (B = 5.1), functional impairment (B = 4.2), and self-rated health (B = 68.5) were significantly associated with higher sitting time, and leisure time physical activity (B = –0.10) and being employed (B = –71.3) were significantly associated with lower sitting time.

Conclusions:

Individual-level, but not social- and neighborhood-level, variables were associated with sitting time in this population. This study identified individual-level targets for reducing sitting time and improving overall health among veterans.

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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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Stephen Hill, Wesley Box and Robert A. DiSilvestro

Lipid peroxides can be both a product and an initiator of oxidant stress. Conceivably, exercise can either increase concentrations of lipid peroxides (by causing oxidant stress), or decrease them (by accelerating peroxide breakdown). The net effect could depend on exercise intensity and nutritional intake of antioxidants. The present study examined the response of serum lipid peroxides to the combination of moderate intensity, weight resistance exercise plus intake of soy protein, a source of antioxidant phytochemicals. Recreationally trained, young adult men (N = 18) consumed soy protein or antioxidant-poor whey protein for 4 weeks (40 g protein/d) before a session of moderate intensity, weight resistance exercise. In the soy group, exercise decreased values for serum lipid peroxides at 5 min, 3 h, and 24 h post-exercise. The whey group showed the depression only at 24 h. In both the soy and whey groups, a small rise was seen for interleukin-8, which is consistent with the idea that the exercise session induced a moderate muscle stress. In summary, a moderate intensity, weight resistance exercise session, despite inducing mild inflammation, depressed plasma serum peroxide values, especially when combined with 4 weeks of soy consumption.

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Alyson J. Littman, Isabel G. Jacobson, Edward J. Boyko and Tyler C. Smith

Background:

Understanding physical activity (PA) after discharge from the military can inform theory on the role of habit and reinforcement in behavior maintenance and has implications for this population’s future health.

Methods:

Using data from 28,866 Millennium Cohort Study participants (n = 3782 of whom were discharged during the years between assessments), we 1) investigated changes in meeting federal PA guidelines for moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA) following military discharge and 2) determined predictors of meeting these guidelines after discharge.

Results:

MVPA declined more in those who were discharged than in those who were not (−17.8 percentage points vs. −2.7 percentage points), with greater declines in former active-duty personnel, those who had deployed with combat exposures, had 14 to 25 years of service, and had been discharged more recently (>2 years prior). In those who were discharged, being normal or overweight (vs. obese), and a nonsmoker or former smoker (vs. current smoker) were positively associated with meeting MVPA Guidelines at follow-up, while meeting MVPA Guidelines at baseline and depression were inversely associated.

Conclusions:

Reductions in MVPA were substantial and unexpected. Increased understanding of transitional periods that may benefit from interventions to mitigate declines in PA will help prevent excess weight gain and physical inactivity-associated health consequences.

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Melissa Bopp, Sara Wilcox, Marilyn Laken, Steven P. Hooker, Deborah Parra-Medina, Ruth Saunders, Kimberly Butler, Elizabeth A. Fallon and Lottie McClorin

Background:

Physical activity (PA) participation offers many benefits especially among ethnic groups that experience health disparities. Partnering with faith-based organizations allows for a more culturally tailored approach to changing health behaviors.

Methods:

8 Steps to Fitness was a faith-based behavior-change intervention promoting PA among members of African American churches. A quasi-experimental design was used to examine differences between the intervention group (n=72) and comparison group (n = 74). Health (resting blood pressure, body mass index, waist-hip ratio, fasting blood glucose), psycho-social (PA self-efficacy, social support, enjoyment, self-regulation, depression), and behavioral variables (PA, diet) were assessed at baseline, 3- and 6-months. Repeated measures ANCOVAs tested changes across time between groups.

Results:

At 3-months, the intervention group showed significantly more favorable changes in body mass index, waist circumference and social support than the control group. At 6-months, the intervention group showed significantly more favorable changes in hip circumference, waist to hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, and depressive symptoms. There was notable attrition from both the intervention (36%) and the comparison group (58%).

Conclusions:

This study was conducted in a real-world setting, and provided insight into how to deliver a culturally-tailored PA intervention program for African Americans with a potential for dissemination.

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Dennis W. Klima, Roberta A. Newton, Emily A. Keshner and Adam Davey

Studies examining fear of falling among older adult men remain limited. The objectives of this study were to compare balance confidence in 2 age cohorts of older clergy and identify predictive determinants of balance confidence in a liturgical research initiative. Participants included 131 community-dwelling Roman Catholic priests age 60–97 yr living in religious communities in 10 mid-Atlantic states. Subjects completed the Activities-specific Balance Confidence Scale (ABC), Berg Balance Scale (BBS), timed up-and-go (TUG) test, and 15-item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS). Younger priests (60–74 yr) demonstrated a significantly higher ABC score than the older cohort (75 and above yr) of priests (89.1 ± 12.6 vs.78.4 ± 13.9, p = .001). Confidence was significantly correlated with BBS (rho = .69, p < .01), TUG (r = –.58, p < .01), and GDS (r = –.39, p < .01) scores. A stepwise-regression model demonstrated that balance ability, mood, assistive-device use, and physical activity predicted 52% of the variance in balance confidence.

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Kathryn E. Wilson, Bhibha M. Das, Ellen M. Evans and Rodney K. Dishman

Background:

A positive association between physical activity and mental health is well established, particularly for lower symptoms of depression and anxiety among active adults. However, it is unclear whether the association is influenced by personality, which might moderate or otherwise explain the association. In addition, past studies have not confirmed the association using an objective measure of physical activity.

Objective:

Our objective was to examine whether Extraversion and Neuroticism influence the association between mental health and physical activity measured by convergent self-reports and an accelerometer.

Methods:

Structural equation modeling was used to test competing models of the relationships between personality, physical activity, and mental health in a sample of female undergraduates.

Results:

In bivariate analysis, mental health was negatively related to Neuroticism and positively related to Extraversion, self-reported physical activity (which was related only to Extraversion, positively), and objective physical activity (which was related only to Neuroticism, negatively). In structural equation modeling, a 3-way interaction indicated that objective physical activity and mental health were unrelated in extraverts, but related positively in neurotic-introverts and negatively in stable-introverts.

Conclusions:

Higher levels of physical activity were associated with better mental health only in neurotic-introverts, who are at higher risk for mental health problems.

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Ben Ewald, John Attia and Patrick McElduff

Background:

Although an overall public health target of 10,000 steps per day has been advocated, the dose–response relationship for each health benefit of physical activity may differ.

Methods:

A representative community sample of 2458 Australian residents aged 55–85 wore a pedometer for a week in 2005–2007 and completed a health assessment. Age-standardized steps per day were compared with multiple markers of health using locally weighted regression to produce smoothed dose–response curves and then to select the steps per day matching 60% or 80% of the range in each health marker.

Results:

There is a linear relationship between activity level and markers of inflammation throughout the range of steps per day; this is also true for BMI in women and high density lipoprotein in men. For other markers, including waist:hip ratio, fasting glucose, depression, and SF-36 scores, the benefit of physical activity is mostly in the lower half of the distribution.

Conclusions:

Older adults have no plateau in the curve for some health outcomes, even beyond 12,000 steps per day. For other markers, however, there is a threshold effect, indicating that most of the benefit is achieved by 8000 steps per day, supporting this as a suitable public health target for older adults.

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James M. Robbins and Paul Joseph

The types and frequency of sensations experienced by runners when required to miss a run or series of runs was studied. Most of 345 runners of various weekly mileage levels reported some kind of distress; irritability, restlessness, frustration, guilt, and depression were reported most often. Sleeping problems, digestive difficulties, and muscle tension and soreness were reported less frequently. Three causes of exercise withdrawal were proposed: (a) a misinterpretation of the return of dysphoria that had been temporarily masked by the effects of running; (b) an inability to cope with stress in periods when the coping mechanism of running is temporarily unavailable; and (c) the loss of regular, predictable reinforcement of feelings of self-fulfillment gained through success or achievement in previously unimagined and unattainable ways. Results, based on cross-sectional data, were consistent with these hypotheses but do not rule out alternative explanations. The reciprocal nature of number of miles run in an average week and exercise deprivation sensations was also studied. Results indicated that runners tended to run longer in order to avoid the negative sensations that would come from not running, but that an escalation in mileage did not necessarily result in more frequent experiences of distress when not able to run.