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Cheng-Hsiu Lai, Yin-Lan Tsai, Shih-Wei Chou, Fon-Chin Lin, Chung-Yu Chen, Shu-Man Chen, Wen-Chih Lee, Yi-Hung Liao and Chia-Hua Kuo

The majority of schoolchildren with asthma do not participate in regular physical activity due to a risk of exercise-induced asthma. The aim of the study was to determine the glycemic characteristic of Taiwanese children with persistent asthma. The current study found that children with asthma (age 10.4 ± 0.4 years) exhibited lower whole-body insulin sensitivity and poorer physical fitness compared to children without asthma (age 10.9 ± 0.6 years). Postprandial glucose and insulin, BMI, and waist circumference of the children with asthma were greater than those of the healthy children. Four patients with asthma regularly participating in a permissible amount of physical activity exhibited lower postprandial glucose and insulin levels compared to those of the rest of the children with asthma who were totally lacking physical activity. A permissible amount of physical activity appears to be beneficial for children with asthma in the prevention of the early onset of insulin resistance.

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Nikos Ntoumanis, Anne-Marte Pensgaard, Chris Martin and Katie Pipe

The purpose of this study was to provide an in-depth account of amotivation in compulsory school physical education by examining its major causes, the way it is displayed, and how it can be tackled. From an initial participant pool of 390 British schoolchildren ages 14 to 15 years, 21 of them (15 girls and 6 boys) were selected to participate in semi-structured interviews. They were categorized as being amotivated based on their responses to a questionnaire measuring motivation in physical education. Three main perceived causes of amotivation were identified in the interviews: learned helplessness beliefs, low need satisfaction, and contextual factors. Amotivation was mainly displayed by nonattendance, low involvement in the class, and low intention to be physically active after leaving school. Students’ suggestions for reducing amotivation focused on the enhancement of positive affect, need satisfaction, and structural/organizational changes. The findings are discussed in conjunction with contemporary motivation theories and models of amotivation.

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Gareth Stratton

The purpose of this study was to assess the physical activity levels of schoolchildren during physical education lessons, using heart rate telemetry. Girls (n = 108) and boys (n = 69), age 9 to 15 years, were assessed over 66 physical education lessons. Lessons that achieved a heart rate (HR) of ≥ 150 bpm for 20 minutes or 50% of lesson time were deemed sufficiently active to promote cardiorespiratory fitness. Netball, 11- to 12-year-old girls’ gymnastics, and soccer lessons achieved the HR ≥ 150 level for over 50% of lesson time. A Sex × Age × Lesson Activity ANOVA indicated significant overall interaction for sex, age, and lesson activity for the percentage of lesson time spent in HR ≥ 150. Significant differences between age groups and lesson activities were evident. Invasion games seem more likely to attain MVPA goals than are dance, track and field, fitness, or gymnastics lessons.

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Terence Dwyer, James F. Sallis, Leigh Blizzard, Ross Lazarus and Kimberlie Dean

The objective of this study was to examine the association of scholastic performance with physical activity and fitness of children. To do so, school ratings of scholastic ability on a five-point scale for a nationally representative sample of 7,961 Australian schoolchildren aged 7–15 years were compared with physical activity and fitness measurements. Consistently across age and sex groups, the ratings were significantly correlated with questionnaire measures of physical activity and with performance on the 1.6-kilometer run, sit-ups and push-ups challenges, 50-meter sprint, and standing long jump. There were no significant associations for physical work capacity at a heart rate of 170 (PWC170). The results are concordant with the hypothesis that physical activity enhances academic performance, but the cross-sectional nature of the observations limits causal inference, and the disparity for PWC170 gives reason to question whether the associations were due to measurement bias or residual confounding.

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Serge Berthoin, Georges Baquet, Fabienne Mantéca, Ghislaine Lensel-Corbeil and Michel Gerbeaux

A cross-sectional design was used to study the associations among sex, age, maximal aerobic speed (MAS), and running time to exhaustion at 100% of MAS (Tlim). The subjects were 1,448 schoolchildren (685 males and 763 females) ages 6 to 17 years. The MAS of males increased significantly (p < .001) from 6 (9.0 ± 0.8 km · h−1) to 17 years (14.1 ± 1.6 km · h−1). The MAS of females increased significantly (p < .001) from 6 (8.7 ± 0.6 km · h−1) to 12 years (10.7 ± 1.2 km · h−1), then remained relatively constant at approximately 11 km · h−1 between 12 and 17 years. Tlim increased significantly from 6 to 13 years for males and from 6 to 11 years for females, then remained relatively constant around 350 s for both males and females.

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Jim Dollman, Kevin Norton and Graeme Tucker

The aim of this study was to compare urban and rural South Australian primary schoolchildren on measures of anthropometry, fitness, and environmental mediators of physical activity. The sample was comprised of 445 urban and 205 rural boys and 423 urban and 158 rural girls, all age 10–11 yrs at the time of testing. After controlling for socioeconomic status and ethnicity, rural girls and boys were faster over 1.6 k than their urban counterparts while rural girls were also faster over 50 m. Rural residence independently predicted participation in organized activity, increasing involvement in club sport, and decreasing involvement in school sport. Rural children reported a greater likelihood of participating in two or more physical education classes per week. It is evident that urban and rural South Australia differ in ways which impact on fitness and physical activity patterns of upper primary age children.

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Daniel P. Bailey, Louise A. Savory, Sarah J. Denton and Catherine J. Kerr

Background:

It is unclear whether cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is independently linked to cardiometabolic risk in children. This study investigated a) the association between CRF level and presence of cardiometabolic risk disorders using health-related cut points, and b) whether these associations were mediated by abdominal adiposity in children.

Methods:

This was a cross-sectional design study. Anthropometry, biochemical parameters and CRF were assessed in 147 schoolchildren (75 girls) aged 10 to 14 years. CRF was determined using a maximal cycle ergometer test. Children were classified as ‘fit’ or ‘unfit’ according to published thresholds. Logistic regression was used to investigate the odds of having individual and clustered cardiometabolic risk factors according to CRF level and whether abdominal adiposity mediated these associations.

Results:

Children classified as unfit had increased odds of presenting individual and clustered cardiometabolic risk factors (P < .05), but these associations no longer remained after adjusting for abdominal adiposity (P > .05).

Conclusions:

This study suggests that the association between CRF and cardiometabolic risk is mediated by abdominal adiposity in 10- to 14-year-old children and that abdominal adiposity may be a more important determinant of adverse cardiometabolic health in this age group.

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Tim Olds, Carol Ann Maher and Kate Ridley

Background:

Low physical activity has been associated with increased fatness and deceased fitness. This observational study aimed to describe the magnitude, composition, and time-distribution of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in Australian children.

Methods:

A total of 1132 10 to 13 year old schoolchildren completed a 24-h activity recall diary on 2 to 4 occasions. MVPA was defined as any activity requiring ≥3METs, including sport, play, active transport, chores, and other activities.

Results:

MVPA was higher in boys than girls (173 vs 140 min/day; P < .0001), higher on nonschool days than school days (166 vs 143 min/day; P < .0001), and decreased with age (9 min/day per year of age). MVPA consisted of structured sport (37%), active transport (26%), unstructured play (24%), and chores/miscellaneous activities (13%). Every hour of MVPA was associated with a reduction in screen time (26.5 min), non-screen-based sedentary pastimes (8 min), and sleep (5.5 min). The least active quartile of children were more likely to be girls (OR = 3.4), have higher screen time, and sleep more. From 4:00−6:30 PM on school days there were large differences in participation between high-active and low-active children.

Conclusion:

Findings suggest MVPA interventions should target girls, screen time and focus on the after-school period.

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George Antonogeorgos, Anastasios Papadimitriou, Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos, Kostas N. Priftis and Polyxeni Nikolaidou

Background:

Childhood obesity has become a modern epidemic with escalating rates. The aim of our study was to identify physical activity patterns among Greek schoolchildren and to examine their relationship with obesity.

Methods:

700 adolescents age 10 to 12 years were evaluated through a standardized questionnaire. Several demographic, socioeconomic, and physical activity characteristics were recorded. Physical activity was assessed and adolescents were characterized as active and nonactive. Body height and weight were measured and body mass index was calculated in order to to classify subjects as overweight or obese (IOTF classification). Multiple logistic regression and multivariate techniques (principal components analysis) were performed.

Results:

Eight physical activity patterns were identified, including increased physical activity in weekdays and weekends, sports physical activity, vigorous, moderate, and low physical activity. Increased physical activity on weekends and vigorous physical activity in boys were negatively associated with being overweight or obese (OR: 0.65; 95% CI: 0.48−0.90 and OR: 0.66; 95% CI: 0.49−0.88, correspondingly) and moderate physical activity was marginally positively associated in girls (OR: 1.28; 95% CI: 0.97−1.69), after adjusting for several confounders.

Conclusions:

Our findings demonstrate the important role of vigorous physical activity in the maintenance of normal weight of adolescents

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Alex Pinheiro Gordia, Teresa Maria Bianchini de Quadros, Jorge Mota and Luciana Rodrigues Silva

Purpose:

Weight status-referenced pedometer step-count guidelines for young people have been developed for populations from high-income countries and may not be applicable to middle- and low-income countries. The objectives of this study were 1) to develop cut-off points for pedometer-determined step count in young Brazilians using waist circumference (WC) as a reference criterion, and 2) to analyze the capacity of previous recommendations to discriminate abdominal obesity in the sample studied.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted on 1,044 schoolchildren (456 boys) aged 6–17 years from Northeastern Brazil. WC was measured and daily step counts were determined with a pedometer.

Results:

The area under the curve (AUC) of step count was significant for boys (AUC = 0.55; 95%CI: 0.50–0.59) and girls (AUC = 0.57; 95%CI: 0.53–0.61). Our cut-off points (14,414 and 11,355 steps for boys and girls, respectively) were more balanced in terms of sensitivity and specificity compared with previous recommendations. The use of previous guidelines to classify step count in the sample provided very low sensitivity or specificity and wide variation in the prevalence of insufficient physical activity (39.3–77.0%).

Conclusions:

A universal step-count recommendation for young people may not be adequate and specific guidelines seem to be necessary for different countries or regions.