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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.

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Sigurbjörn Árni Arngrímsson, Torarinn Sveinsson and Erlingur Jóhannsson

The purpose of this study was to validate an equation that has been used to predict peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak) and, if invalid, to develop a new equation predicting VO2peak from performance on a cycle ergometer test. Forty-five 9- and 15-year-old children underwent a VO2peak test and were randomized into developmental (DEV) and cross-validation (C-V) groups. The equation under validation, which requires knowledge of resting energy expenditure (REE), underestimated VO2peak (p < .05), but once adjusted with a new parameter calculated in DEV, it cross-validated well (r YY′ = .98, SE = .18 L · min−1). The accuracy of a new prediction equation built in DEV, not using REE, was confirmed in C-V (r YY′ = .98, SE = .17 L · min−1) and the slope and intercept were not different from the line of identity (p < .05). VO2peak in schoolchildren can be predicted with good accuracy from an equation based on the whole sample [VO2peak′ = −1.5986 + 0.0115 · (maximal power output) + 0.0109 · (mass) + 0.1313 · (gender) + 0.0085 · (maximal heart rate)].

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Murray C. Lee, Marla R. Orenstein and Maxwell J. Richardson

Background:

The recent decline in children’s active commuting (walking or biking) to school has become an important public health issue. Recent programs have promoted the positive effects of active commuting on physical activity (PA) and overweight. However, the evidence supporting such interventions among schoolchildren has not been previously evaluated.

Methods:

This article presents the results of a systematic review of the association between active commuting to school and outcomes of PA, weight, and obesity in children.

Results:

We found 32 studies that assessed the association between active commuting to school and PA or weight in children. Most studies assessing PA outcomes found a positive association between active commuting and overall PA levels. However, almost all studies were cross-sectional in design and did not indicate whether active commuting leads to increased PA or whether active children are simply more likely to walk. Only 3 of 18 studies examining weight found consistent results, suggesting that there might be no association between active commuting and reduced weight or body mass index.

Conclusion:

Although there are consistent findings from cross-sectional studies associating active commuting with increased total PA, interventional studies are needed to help determine causation.

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Melody Oliver, Scott Duncan, Celia Kuch, Julia McPhee and Grant Schofield

Background:

Aims were to investigate sex, ethnicity, and age differences in achieving daily step count and television (TV) watching recommendations in schoolchildren.

Methods:

Participants were 615 children (n = 325) and adolescents (n = 290) aged 5 to 16 years. Activity was assessed over 5 days using pedometers; TV time was collected via parental proxy-report and self-report. Ethnic, sex, and age differences in step counts, TV time, and odds of meeting TV and step count recommendations were examined for weekdays, weekend days, and overall using generalized estimation equation modeling.

Results:

Overall, boys were more active than girls (P < .001). Adolescents were more active than children (P = .044), watched more TV (P = .005), and were less likely to meet TV watching recommendations (P = .004). Non-European children watched significantly more TV (P = .008), and were significantly less likely to meet TV recommendations than non-European children (P = .001). Participants watched more TV and accumulated less steps on weekend days than weekdays.

Conclusions:

Multifaceted interventions focusing on both increasing activity and decreasing TV time are needed, especially on weekends. Children and girls may benefit more from activity interventions, while ethnic-specific interventions focusing on TV habits may be most efficacious for adolescents.

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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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Eimear Keane, Xia Li, Janas M. Harrington, Anthony P. Fitzgerald, Ivan J. Perry and Patricia M. Kearney

Purpose:

Globally, public health policies are targeting modifiable lifestyle behaviors. We explore the independent association of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behavior on the risk of childhood overweight/obesity.

Method:

A cross-sectional survey of children aged 8–11 years (N = 826). Objective body mass index was used to classify children as normal weight or overweight/obese. Children wore wrist-worn Geneactiv accelerometers for 7-days and thresholds were applied to categorize MVPA and sedentary time. Screen time (ST) was parent reported. Poisson regression examined the independent association of (1) MVPA (2), objective sedentary time and (3) ST on the risk of overweight/obesity.

Results:

Overall, 23.7% (95% CI, 20.8–26.6%) of children were overweight/obese. On average, children spent 10.8% of waking time at MVPA and 61.3% sedentary. One-fifth (22.1%, 95% CI, 19.3–25.0%) of children achieved MVPA recommendations (≥ 60 min each day) and 17.5% (95% CI, 14.9–20.1%) met ST recommendations (<2 hr per day). Time spent at MVPA was inversely associated with the risk of overweight/obese independent of total sedentary time. Total time spent sedentary was not associated with overweight/obese independent of MVPA. ST was associated with an increased risk of overweight/obese independent of physical activity.

Conclusion:

Few schoolchildren met physical activity and screen time recommendations suggesting population based measures are needed.

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Jo Inchley, Jo Kirby and Candace Currie

The purpose of this study was to examine adolescents’ physical self-perceptions and their associations with physical activity using a longitudinal perspective. Utilizing data from the Physical Activity in Scottish Schoolchildren (PASS) study, changes in exercise self-efficacy, perceived competence, global self-esteem and physical self-worth were assessed among a sample of 641 Scottish adolescents from age 11–15 years. Girls reported lower levels of perceived competence, self-esteem and physical self-worth than boys at each age. Furthermore, girls’ physical self-perceptions decreased markedly over time. Among boys, only perceived competence decreased, while global self-esteem increased. Baseline physical activity was a significant predictor of later activity levels for both genders. Findings demonstrate the importance of physical self-perceptions in relation to physical activity behavior among adolescents. Among older boys, high perceived competence increased the odds of being active by 3.8 times. Among older girls, high exercise self-efficacy increased the odds of being active by 5.2 times. There is a need for early interventions which promote increased physical literacy and confidence, particularly among girls.

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Ross D. Neville, Fergal Lyons, Brendan Doyle and Kimberley D. Lakes

This study compared fundamental movement skills (FMS) in children from schools on the lower and upper levels of socioeconomic status. Data were collected from 228 schoolchildren across five schools in Ireland. There were 147 children from schools of social disadvantage (Mage = 7.67 [SD = 0.62] years; 55% boys) and 81 children from schools considered in the normal range for socioeconomic development (Mage = 7.34 [SD = 0.26] years; 56% boys). FMS were assessed using the Test of Gross Motor Development–2. Mixed models were used to estimate differences in FMS, while controlling for the nested structure of the data and for sex, age, body mass index, and class size. There was a substantial sex×school interaction, with girls from schools of social disadvantage exhibiting greater object-control skills proficiency than their counterparts in schools on the upper tertiles of socioeconomic development (standardized effect size = 0.66 [±95% confidence limits, ±0.50]; p = .02). The suggestion that children from social disadvantage are delayed in FMS is unsupported in this cohort. Differences in the structure of physical education and types of sports undertaken by children in schools of social disadvantage in Ireland are considered as explanations for this departure from previous studies.

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Megan Babkes Stellino and Christina Sinclair

Thorough assessment of children’s physical activity is essential to efficacious interventions to reduce childhood obesity prevalence. The purpose of this study was to examine children’s recess physical activity (RPA) patterns of behavior using the Activities of Daily Living –Playground Participation (ADL-PP: Watkinson et al., 2001) instrument. ADL-PP-based RPA data from 3rd-5th grade schoolchildren (N = 444: 51% male, 23.6% overweight/obese) were analyzed to determine the number and specific activity patterns overall as well as according to gender and weightstatus. Patterns of RPA findings showed girls participated in a higher number of activities compared with boys who participated in more sport-related activities. A wide variety in the specific activities in which children engaged was found according to gender and weight-status. Examination of RPA, with the ADL-PP, extends the literature by providing new data relative to the variety and specific types of activities in which children choose to engage during discretionary times, such as recess.

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Aleš Gába, Lukáš Rubín, Petr Badura, Eliška Roubalová, Erik Sigmund, Michal Kudláček, Dagmar Sigmundová, Jan Dygrýn and Zdenek Hamrik

Introduction Regular physical activity (PA) is associated with numerous health benefits and plays an important role in disease prevention. However, the decreasing level of PA and increasing screen-time among Czech schoolchildren has been well documented in the last two decades. 1 , 2 Physical