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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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.

Open access

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