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Trish Gorely, Stuart Biddle, Simon Marshall, Noel Cameron and Louise Cassey

The purpose of this research was to investigate the relationship between distance to school and levels of physical activity and sedentary behavior in UK adolescents. Participants were 1385 adolescents (boys n = 531; mean age 14.7 years). Boys living within two miles of school and girls living within 5 miles of school were more likely to report high levels (≥60 min per day) of weekday leisure time physical activity. Differences in weekday leisure time physical activity were accounted for by active travel time. There were no differences in sedentary behavior time by distance to school. Journeys, whether active or motorized, most often took place with friends. Further research should investigate wider physical and social environmental influences on active travel.

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Vera Verbestel, Eveline Van Cauwenberghe, Valerie De Coen, Lea Maes, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij and Greet Cardon

In this study, physical activity (PA) was objectively measured in 213 Belgian preschoolers (Mage = 4.98, SD = .88 years) over 4 consecutive days including two weekend days. Within-day variability in PA showed a typical activity pattern during weekdays and weekend days. Weekdays clearly reflected a preschool attending day with more peaks and troughs than weekend days and after-school hours were characterized by a decrease in activity. Between-day variability in PA was identified in preschool girls above the age of four, suggesting that the lack of a structured preschool environment is already related with a decrease in PA in this sex-specific age group. The results of this study are informative for the development of future PA interventions and indicate that both the preschool and the home environment should be targeted in the promotion of preschoolers’ PA.

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Georgina Trapp, Billie Giles-Corti, Hayley Christian, Anna Timperio, Gavin McCormack, Max Bulsara and Karen Villanueva

This study investigated whether being driven to school was associated with lower weekday and weekend step counts, less active out-of-school leisure pursuits, and more sedentary behavior. Boys aged 10–13 years (n = 384) and girls aged 9–13 years (n = 500) attending 25 Australian primary schools wore a pedometer and completed a travel diary for one week. Parents and children completed surveys capturing leisure activity, screen time, and sociodemographics. Commute distance was objectively measured. Car travel was the most frequent mode of school transportation (boys: 51%, girls: 58%). After adjustment (sociodemographics, commute distance, and school clustering) children who were driven recorded fewer weekday steps than those who walked (girls: −1,393 steps p < .001, boys: −1,569 steps, p = .009) and participated in fewer active leisure activities (girls only: p = .043). There were no differences in weekend steps or screen time. Being driven to and from school is associated with less weekday pedometer-determined physical activity in 9- to 13-year-old elementary-school children. Encouraging children, especially girls, to walk to and from school (even for part of the way for those living further distances) could protect the health and well-being of those children who are insufficiently active.

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Jaclyn P. Maher, Eldin Dzubur, Jimi Huh, Stephen Intille and Genevieve F. Dunton

This study used time-varying effect modeling to examine time-of-day differences in how behavioral cognitions predict subsequent physical activity (PA). Adults (N = 116) participated in three 4-day “bursts” of ecological momentary assessment (EMA). Participants were prompted with eight EMA questionnaires per day assessing behavioral cognitions (i.e., intentions, self-efficacy, outcome expectations) and wore an accelerometer during waking hours. Subsequent PA was operationalized as accelerometer-derived minutes of moderate- or vigorousintensity PA in the 2 hr following the EMA prompt. On weekdays, intentions positively predicted subsequent PA in the morning (9:25 a.m.–11:45 a.m.) and in the evening (8:15 p.m.–10:00 p.m.). Self-efficacy positively predicted subsequent PA on weekday evenings (7:35 p.m.–10:00 p.m.). Outcome expectations were unrelated to subsequent PA on weekdays. On weekend days, behavior cognitions and subsequent PA were unrelated regardless of time of day. This study identifies windows of opportunity and vulnerability for motivation-based PA interventions aiming to deliver intervention content within the context of adults’ daily lives.

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Aashish Contractor, Aparna Bhanushali, Jyotsna Changrani, Siddhartha Angadi and Bibhu R. Das

Background:

Inadequate physical activity is a risk factor for several lifestyle diseases. In the current study we have tried to evaluate the physical activity levels in urban Indian pubertal children as well as investigate the relationship between step counts and body composition.

Methods:

A total of 1032 children aged 12 to 15 years wore pedometers for 2 weekdays and 2 weekend days, the final cohort included 910 subjects with 467 boys and 443 girls.

Results:

Mean weekday steps were 11,062 ± 4741 for boys and 9619 ± 4144 for girls; weekend steps were 10,842 ± 5034 for boys and 9146 ± 5159 for girls, which were both significantly different. The weekend steps were consistently lower in both genders. Analysis of children not meeting a cut-off of 10,000 steps indicated that 45% of the boys aged 12; 54% aged 13; 43% to 48% aged 14 and 50% in the aged 15 did not meet the cut-off. In girls higher levels of inactivity were seen with 58% to 65% aged 12; 69% to 73% aged 13; 49% to 58% aged 14 and 50% to 100% in age-group 15 did not meet the cut-off on weekdays and weekends respectively.

Conclusions:

The high level of physical inactivity in the representative urban Indian children is a cause of grave concern and necessitates urgent intervention strategies to be formulated.

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Ralph Maddison, Yannan Jiang, Stephen Vander Hoorn, Daniel Exeter, Cliona Ni Mhurchu and Enid Dorey

This study aimed to describe the location and intensity of free-living physical activity in New Zealand adolescents during weekdays and weekend days using Global Positioning Systems (GPS), accelerometry, and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Participants (n = 79) aged 12–17 years (M = 14.5, SD 1.6) recruited from two large metropolitan high schools each wore a GPS watch and an accelerometer for four consecutive days. GPS and accelerometer data were integrated with GIS software to map the main locations of each participant’s episodes of moderate-vigorous physical activity. On average participants performed 74 (SD 36) minutes of moderate and 7.5 (SD 8) minutes of vigorous activity per day, which on weekdays was most likely to occur within a 1 km radius of their school or 150 meters of their home environment. On weekends physical activity patterns were more disparate and took place outside of the home environment. Example maps were generated to display the location of moderate to vigorous activity for weekdays and weekends.

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Sofiya Alhassan, John R. Sirard, Tirzah R. Spencer, Ann Varady and Thomas N. Robinson

Background:

The purpose of this study was to develop a data-driven approach for analyzing incomplete accelerometer data from field-base studies.

Methods:

Multiple days of accelerometer data from the Stanford Girls health Enrichment Multi-site Studies (N = 294 African American girls) were summed across each minute of each day to produce a composite weekday and weekend day. Composite method estimates of physical activity were compared with those derived from methods typically described in the literature (comparison methods).

Results:

The composite method retained 99.7% and 100% of participants in weekday and weekend-day analysis, respectively, versus 84.7% to 94.2% and 28.6% to 99.0% for the comparison methods. Average wearing times for the composite method for weekday and weekend day were 99.6% and 98.6%, respectively, 91.7% to 93.9% and 82.3% to 95.4% for the comparison methods. Composite-method physical activity estimates were similar to comparison-methods estimates.

Conclusion:

The composite method used more available accelerometer data than standard approaches, reducing the need to exclude periods within a day, entire days, and participants from analysis.

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Stacy A. Clemes, Beverley M. David, Yi Zhao, Xu Han and Wendy Brown

Background:

In light of evidence linking sedentary behaviors to health outcomes, there have been calls for the measurement of sedentary behavior in surveillance studies. This study examined the convergent validity of 2 self-report measures of sitting time and accelerometer-determined sedentary time (minutes/day of <100 counts/minute).

Methods:

44 adults wore an ActiGraph accelerometer for 7 days, during which they also recorded daily sitting time in a diary, in response to a single-item question. After 7 days, participants completed a new domain-specific questionnaire to assess usual weekday and weekend-day sitting time. Total sitting times recorded from the self-report measures were compared with accelerometer-determined sedentary time.

Results:

Total sitting time calculated from the domain-specific questionnaire did not differ significantly from accelerometer-determined sedentary time on weekdays (mean difference [±SE] = –14 ± 28 mins/day) and weekend days (–4 ± 45 mins/day, both P > .05). Sitting time was significantly underestimated using the single-item specific-day question on weekdays (–173 ± 18 mins/day) and weekend days (–219 ± 23 mins/day, both P < .001).

Conclusions:

When assessed via self-report, the estimation of total sitting time is improved by summing sitting times reported across different domains. The continued improvement of self-report measures of sitting time will be important if we are to further our understanding of the links between sedentary behavior and health.

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Melbourne F. Hovell, James F. Sallis, Bohdan Kolody and Thomas L. McKenzie

Students’ (n = 1,041) physical activity choices were assessed during the fourth and sixth grades for weekdays, weekends, and summer vacations. Activities were summarized for boys and girls by intensity, individual versus team, and for selected classes. Boys performed more team activities and reported more overall physical activity. Boys and girls decreased their participation in individual physical activities. Students decreased in total energy expended for all time periods. Decreasing activity level and selection of fewer individual activities make lifetime exercise unlikely. Results suggest that children become less active than recommended for health promotion before completing elementary school.

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Heidi I. Stanish

Walking is a common physical activity reported by individuals with mental retardation (MR). This study examined the accuracy and feasibility of pedometers for monitoring walking in 20 adults with MR. Also, step counts and distance walked were recorded for one week. Pedometer counts were highly consistent with actual step counts during normal and fast paced walking on two ground surfaces. Intraclass correlation coefficients were above .95. A t-test revealed no gender differences in walking activity. A 2 × 2 ANOVA indicated that participants with Down Syndrome (DS) accumulated significantly fewer step counts than those without DS and participants walked more on weekdays than weekends.