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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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Samuel Carvalho Dumith, Virgílio Viana Ramires, Matheus Alves Souza, Daniel Souza Moraes, Fabrício Godoy Petry, Eduardo Soldera Oliveira, Sandro Viana Ramires and Pedro C. Hallal

Background:

Physical fitness is strongly associated with several positive health indicators among adolescents. However, its association with body mass index status is inconsistent. The aim of this study was to explore the association between overweight/obesity and physical fitness among children and adolescents.

Methods:

The design consisted of a cross-sectional study comprising 519 Brazilian students age 7 to 15 years. BMI status was assessed according to sex- and age-specific growth charts. Physical fitness was assessed using 8 tests: sit-and-reach, stationary long jump, 1-minute curl-up, modified pull-up, medicine-ball throw, 9-minute run, 20-m run, and 4-m shuttle-run.

Results:

Prevalence of overweight and obesity was 24% and 12%, respectively. Boys performed better than girls in all tests, except flexibility. Normal weight students performed better than overweight and obese students in all tests, except the sit-and-reach and the medicine-ball throw. Cardiorespiratory fitness had the strongest association with BMI status. The prevalence of obese subjects classified as “most fit” was less than 10%.

Conclusions:

Higher values of body mass index were associated with declines in physical fitness, independent of age. The majority of obese children and adolescents and almost a half of those overweight were classified in the third tertile of physical fitness (least fit).

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Arto Gråstén, Anthony Watt, Jarmo Liukkonen and Timo Jaakkola

Background:

The study examined the effects of school-based program on students’ self-reported moderate to vigorous physical activity and physical competence, and associated links to gender, grade, body mass index, and physical education assessments.

Methods:

Participants were 240 middle school students (143 intervention, 97 control) from 3 small cities in North-East Finland. The intervention group received task-involving climate support in physical education classes and additional physical activities during school days across 1 year.

Results:

The intervention group’s physical competence increased, whereas the control group’s competence remained stable across the period. However, physical activity levels were stable in both groups. The findings also showed that body mass index was negatively associated with physical competence and activity in the intervention group at the follow-up measure. Physical education assessments were positively related with only the baseline scores of physical competence in the intervention group. In contrast, the assessments had positive relationships with physical competence and activity of control group students.

Conclusions:

The present program was an effective protocol to increase student’s perceptions of physical competence. Since the quantity of school physical education including recess activities cannot be dramatically increased, positive learning experiences should be provided, and thus, support perceptions of physical competence.

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Jennifer L. Gay, Sara W. Robb, Kelsey M. Benson and Alice White

Background:

The Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), a publicly available dataset, is used in emergency preparedness to identify communities in greatest need of resources. The SVI includes multiple socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic indicators that also are associated with physical fitness and physical activity. This study examined the utility of using the SVI to explain variation in youth fitness, including aerobic capacity and body mass index.

Methods:

FITNESSGRAM data from 2,126 Georgia schools were matched at the census tract level with SVI themes of socioeconomic, household composition, minority status and language, and housing and transportation. Multivariate multiple regression models were used to test whether SVI factors explained fitness outcomes, controlling for grade level (ie, elementary, middle, high school) and stratified by gender.

Results:

SVI themes explained the most variation in aerobic fitness and body mass index for both boys and girls (R 2 values 11.5% to 26.6%). Socioeconomic, Minority Status and Language, and Housing and Transportation themes were salient predictors of fitness outcomes.

Conclusions:

Youth fitness in Georgia was related to socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic themes. The SVI may be a useful needs assessment tool for health officials and researchers examining multilevel influences on health behaviors or identifying communities for prevention efforts.

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Jared P. Reis, Caroline A. Macera, Barbara E. Ainsworth and Deborah A. Hipp

Background:

Walking for exercise is a popular leisure-time activity pursuit among US adults; however, little information is available about total daily walking.

Methods:

A nationally representative random sample of 10,461 US adults (4438 men and 6023 women) was surveyed via telephone between 2002 and 2003. Weekly frequency and daily duration of walking for all purposes in bouts of at least 10 min were measured. Regular walking was defined as walking ≥5 d/wk, ≥30 min/d.

Results:

Overall, 49% of adults (51% of men and 47% of women) were regular walkers, and approximately 17% reported no walking. Regular walking was significantly higher in employed adults and decreased with increasing age in women and body mass index in both sexes. Total walking was significantly higher among adults with lower levels of educational attainment and did not vary significantly by race/ethnicity.

Conclusions:

These results affirm the popularity of walking in the United States.

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Laura Capranica, Monica Tiberi, Francesco Figura and Wayne H. Osness

This study compared functional fitness scores of American and Italian older adults on the AAHPERD test battery for adults over 60 years old. Sedentary participants (N = 186, age 60–79 years) undertook the 6 AAHPERD test items: Between American and Italian men, no statistically significant difference was found for coordination and endurance. American men scored better on flexibility and strength, whereas Italian men scored better on body mass index (BMI) and agility. Between American and Italian women, no statistically significant difference was found for BMI and agility. American women scored better on coordination and endurance, whereas Italian women scored better on flexibility and strength. The data suggest that the AAHPERD test battery is an appropriate tool for assessing and comparing functional fitness levels of older adults in different societies.

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Paula C. Fletcher and John P. Hirdes

This paper examines factors associated with physical activity and health status among the 796 subjects aged 55 and older who appear in both the 1981 Canada Fitness Survey (CFS) and The Campbell’s Survey on Well-Being (CSWB), a longitudinal follow-up to the CFS. The CSWB can provide information about changes in physical activity patterns and health between 1981 and 1988. Although nonresponse to the overall survey was low, item nonresponse was problematic in some cases. Approximately 50% of the sample were not assessed on physical fitness measures (e.g., body mass index), while 14% and 38% refused to answer questions concerning alcohol consumption and family income, respectively. Of specific interest are the relationships of physical activity levels and self-rated health with socio-economic status, age, gender, smoking history, alcohol consumption, and measures of body composition.

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Joanne Kraenzle Schneider

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between self-reported exercise behavior and physiological indicators of exercise behavior (body composition and oxygen consumption measures) in older women. Three self-report exercise behavior instruments were administered in counterbalanced order. Body mass index and sums of skinfold thicknesses were used as measures of body composition. Oxygen consumption was measured using a metabolic cart during a treadmill test while women walked at approximately 70% of their heart rate reserve. Fifty-nine women participated (68.7 ± 6.0 years). Results showed that self-reported exercise behavior was moderately related to body composition measures. However, predicted maximal oxygen consumption was only weakly related to self-reported exercise behavior.

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Mylène Aubertin-Leheudre, Eric D.B. Goulet and Isabelle J. Dionne

Hormone-replacement therapy (HRT) attenuates the menopause-associated alterations in body composition. It is not known, however, whether this effect is a result of a concomitant increase in energy expenditure. The authors examined whether women submitted to a long-term HRT treatment presented greater energy expenditure than women who had never used HRT. We compared 13 postmenopausal women using HRT (>1 yr) with 13 age- (±2 yr) and body-mass-index-matched (BMI; ±1.5kg/m2) postmenopausal women not using HRT. Resting energy expenditure (REE; indirect calorimetry), body composition, and daily (DEE) and physical activity (PAEE) energy expenditure (accelerometry) were obtained. Although BMI, fat mass, fat-free mass, DEE, and PAEE were similar between groups, the HRT group displayed a significantly greater REE than the no-HRT group (Δ +222 kcal/day). In conclusion, the authors observed that a long-term treatment with HRT is associated with a greater REE in postmenopausal women. These results need to be confirmed.

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Elisa A. Marques, Andreia Isabel Pizarro, Jorge Mota and Maria Paula Santos

Background:

The exact relation between objectively measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and independent mobility in children has yet to be fully defined. The objective of this study was to determine whether independent mobility is associated with level of MVPA.

Methods:

Data were collected from 9 middle schools in Porto (Portugal) area. A total of 636 children in the 6th grade (340 girls and 296 boys) with a mean age of 11.64 years old participated in the study. PA was measured in 636 participants using an accelerometer. Multinomial logistic regression was applied to assess the odds for belonging to quartiles of MVPA.

Results:

After controlling for age, gender, body mass index, meeting PA recommendations, and participation in structured exercise, the odds of having a higher level of MVPA when children have higher independent mobility increase through the MVPA quartiles.

Conclusions:

A positive associations were found between independent mobility and quartiles of physical activity.