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Beth Hands and Helen Parker

Background:

Different approaches to measuring physical activity and fatness in youth have resulted in studies reporting relationships ranging from very strong to nonexistent.

Methods:

The sample comprised 787 boys and 752 girls between the ages of 7 and 16 years. Pedometer-determined physical activity, height, weight, and waist girth measures were taken.

Results:

Significant differences were found in activity level between body mass index-determined weight categories for the girls (F 1,742 = 9.07, P = .003) but not for the boys (F 1,777 = 3.59, P = .06) and between truncal adiposity groupings for the boys (F 1,777 = 4.69, P = .03) and the girls (F 1,742= 13.56, P = .000).

Conclusions:

The relationship between physical activity and body fatness differs according to the measure used and between boys and girls. Factors contributing to body fatness such as eating behaviors or sedentary activities might be more important among boys than girls.

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Adrienne Brown and Mohammad Siahpush

Background:

Regular physical activity reduces the risk of a number of diseases, prevents obesity, and has positive psychological effects. Approximately one-third of the Australian population has been reported as totally sedentary. We investigated socioeconomic predictors of being sedentary in a nationally representative sample of Australian adults.

Methods:

We analyzed data from 8643 females and 7600 males who responded to the 2001 National Health Survey. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the association of being sedentary with a range of socioeconomic measures.

Results:

Adjusting for demographics, body-mass index, and smoking, we found that low socioeconomic status, indicated by low education level, blue-collar occupation, low income and area social disadvantage, increased the probability that people were sedentary.

Conclusions:

This research highlights that targeting people from lower socioeconomic backgrounds with strategies to increase participation in physical activity may reduce morbidity and mortality associated with being sedentary.

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Nanette Stroebele, Holly R. Wyatt, George W. Reed, John C. Peters and James O. Hill

Background:

Results from a statewide telephone survey of walking showed that the average adult in Colorado takes 6804 steps/d, and that steps/d were negatively associated with body mass index. No similar data exist for children.

Methods:

As part of the Colorado survey, demographic information was obtained from parents for 116 children. A subsample of 59 children and adolescents (age 10 to 17 y) agreed to wear a step counter for four consecutive days.

Results:

The youth reported taking an average of 7902 steps/d. There was a trend for children’s steps/d to be positively associated with parents’ steps/d and negatively associated with TV watching.

Conclusion:

This sample of children is not large enough to be considered a representative sample of Colorado youth, but this cross-sectional study provides some much needed information about steps/d in children and generates some interesting hypotheses about steps/d and other measures of health and overweight.

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Mati Pääsuke, Jaan Ereline, Helena Gapeyeva, Kadri Joost, Karin Mõttus and Pille Taba

The lower extremity performance in elderly female patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease (PD; n = 12) and controls (n = 16) was compared. Isometric dynamometry and force-plate measurements were used. PD patients had lower (p < .05) bilateral (BL) maximal isometric leg-extension force (MF), BL isometric MF relative to body mass, and maximal rate of isometric force development than control participants. BL strength deficit was greater (p < .05) in PD patients than in controls. A significantly longer chair-rise time and lower maximal rate of vertical-ground-reaction-force development while rising from a chair was found in PD patients than in controls. These findings suggest that elderly women with PD have lowered voluntary isometric force-generation capacity of the leg-extensor muscles. Reduced BL leg-extension strength might contribute to the difficulty of individuals with PD to rise from a chair.

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Jorge Mota, Nuno Delgado, Mariana Almeida, José Carlos Ribeiro and Maria Paula Santos

Background:

The purpose of this study was 1) to compare physical activity levels according to body-mass index; 2) to determine which, if any, neighborhood perceived attributes were related to overweight.

Methods:

The sample comprised 610 girls age 14.7 ± 1.6 y. Girls were grouped into normal weight and overweight. Environmental variables and physical activity were assessed by questionnaire.

Results:

No significant differences were found in physical activity levels between normal weight and overweight girls. Logistic regression analysis revealed that girls who agreed that “there is so much traffic on the streets that it makes it unpleasant to walk in the neighborhood” were more likely to be overweight (OR = 1.78; 95% CI 1.10 to 2.89).

Conclusion:

The study found no relationship between perceptions of the environment and overweight among Portuguese girls, except for perceptions of security for walking in the neighborhood.

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Lindsay Cline and Kimberley L. Gammage

Background:

Despite the well-documented benefits of physical activity, North Americans remain insufficiently inactive. Consequently, determining what motivates individuals to engage in physical activity becomes increasingly important. The purpose of this study was to examine whether the frequency of negative appearance-related commentary and positive appearance-related commentary could predict physical activity behavior.

Methods:

Participants were young adult women (N = 192) who completed a series of questionnaires to assess the frequency of appearance-related commentary they received and their physical activity behavior.

Results:

A hierarchical regression analysis indicated the overall regression was significant, F (4,187) = 4.73, P < .001, R 2 adj = .07, ΔR 2 = .07), with positive weight/shape appearance-related commentary (β = 470.27, P < .001) significantly predicting physical activity behavior, while controlling for body mass index.

Conclusions:

Providing positive reinforcement via positive weight/shape compliments may be beneficial to motivate physical activity participation.

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Kazuhiro Harada, Koichiro Oka, Ai Shibata, Kaori Ishii, Yoshio Nakamura, Shigeru Inoue and Teruichi Shimomitsu

The authors examined the relationship between strength-training behavior and perceived environment in older Japanese adults. An Internet-based survey was conducted of 293 adults age 68.2 ± 2.8 yr. The dependent variable was regular strength-training behavior. The IPAQ environment module, access to facilities for strength training, and home equipment for strength training were environmental factors. Logistic-regression analysis was employed. After demographic variables (gender, age, educational background, household income, body-mass index, self-rated health status, smoking habit, and residential area) were adjusted for, home equipment for strength training (OR = 2.14, 95% CI = 1.50–3.06), access to facilities for strength training (OR = 2.53, 95% CI = 1.32–4.85), and observing active people (OR = 2.20, 95% CI = 1.06–4.58) were positively correlated with regular strength-training behavior. In conclusion, environmental factors associated with strength-training behavior were access to facilities for strength training, having home equipment for strength training, and observing active people.

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Anna Mulasso, Mattia Roppolo, Monica Emma Liubicich, Michele Settanni and Emanuela Rabaglietti

The aim of this study was to assess the direct and indirect effects of a multicomponent exercise (MCE) program on mobility and balance in institutionalized older people. One hundred and twelve subjects (85 women; 83.0 years on average; SD = 7.5) were included in the study, and divided into a MCE-group (MCE-G) and a control group (CG) according to matching techniques. The MCE-G consisted of a 9-month program featuring range-of-motion, strength, and balance exercises performed in small groups. The CG received routine medical and nursing care. The timed up-and-go test and Tinetti Performance-Oriented Mobility Assessment balance subscale were administered at baseline and postintervention. After controlling for physical baseline value, age, sex, residential care facilities, and body mass index, the MCE-G showed positive effects both on mobility (p < .001) and balance (p = .001). The role of balance as mediator in the relationship between participation to the MCE program and mobility was demonstrated.

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Eric Joseph Rosario, Rudolph Gino Villani, Jeff Harris and Rudi Klein

Aging generally results in muscle and bone atrophy, with accelerated loss in the first few years after menopause contributing to decline in strength, balance, and mobility. This investigation compared the effects of 1 of year periodized high-intensity strength training on a group of less-than-5-years (LF) postmenopausal women (n = 10, mean age 51 years) with its effects on a more-than-10-years (MT) postmenopausal group (n = 11, mean age 60 years). Mean lean body mass, strength, and balance increased over the intervention period for both groups, with no significant intergroup differences. Mean total fat mass significantly decreased for both groups, with no significant difference between groups. Total and regional bone density and mineral content did not significantly change in either group. These results indicate that even during the accelerated muscle-loss period after menopause, women can gain muscle and strength with resistance training to a similar extent as older women.

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Ching-Yi Wang, Ching-Fan Sheu and Elizabeth Protas

The purpose of this study was to test the construct validity of the hierarchical levels of self-reported physical disability using health-related variables and physical-performance tests as criteria. The study participants were a community-based sample of 368 adults age 60 years or older. These older adults were grouped into 4 levels according to their physical-disability status (able, mildly disabled, moderately disabled, and severely disabled groups) based on their self-reported measures on the mobility, instrumented activity of daily living (IADL), and activities of daily living (ADL) domains. Health-related variables (body-mass index, number of comorbidities, depression status, mental status, and self-perceived health status) and eight performance-based tests demonstrated significant group differences. Self-reported measures of physical disability can be used to categorize older adults into different stages of physical functional decline.