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Anders Raustorp and Yvonne Ekroth

Background:

To explore the secular trends (time change) of pedometer-determined physical activity (steps per day) in Swedish young adolescents 13 to 14 years of age from 2000 to 2008.

Methods:

The study was analyzed between 2 cross-sectional cohorts carried out in October 2000 (235, 111 girls) and October 2008 (186, 107 girls) in the same school, using identical procedures. Data of mean steps per day were collected during 4 consecutive weekdays (sealed pedometer Yamax SW-200 Tokyo, Japan) and in addition height and weight were measured.

Results:

When comparing cohort 2000 with cohort 2008 no significant difference in physical activity were found neither among girls (12,989 vs 13,338 [t = −0.98, P < .325]) nor boys (15,623 vs 15,174 [t= 0.78, P = .436]). The share of girls and boys meeting weight control recommendations was none significantly higher in 2008 both among girls (68% versus 62%) and among boys (69% versus 65%).

Conclusion:

There was no significant difference of young adolescents’ physical activity during school weekdays in 2008 compared with 2000. This stabilized physical activity level, in an internationally comparison regarded as high, is promising. Enhanced focus on physical activity in society and at school might have influenced the result.

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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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Valerie Carson, Michelle Stone and Guy Faulkner

To make robust conclusions regarding the association between accelerometer-measured sedentary time and overweight and obesity among children, several gaps in the literature must be addressed. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between sedentary time, weekday sedentary time, weekend sedentary time, sedentary bouts, sedentary breaks, and BMI z-score among children and by low (bottom 50%) and high (top 50%) moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity (MVPA) participation. Results are based on 787 children aged 11 years living in Toronto, Canada. Children’s physical activity and sedentary time were objectively assessed using ActiGraph accelerometers in 2010/11. Height and weight were measured and BMI z-scores were calculated based on the World Health Organization growth standards. When participants were stratified into low and high MVPA groups, sedentary bouts of 5–9 (β = 0.22 [95% CI: 0.01, 0.43]) and 10–19 (0.30 [−0.05, 0.55]) minutes for total days were associated with BMI z-score in the low MVPA group only. Similar trends were observed with the weekday but not the weekend variables. Therefore, in addition to increasing MVPA, reducing time spent in 5- to 19-min sedentary bouts may have important implications for weight status particularly for children with lower MVPA participation during the week.

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Timothy A. Brusseau, Pamela H. Kulinna, Catrine Tudor-Locke and Matthew Ferry

Background:

Embracing a physically active lifestyle is especially important for American Indian (AI) children who are at a greater risk for hypokinetic diseases, particularly Type 2 diabetes. The purpose of this study was to describe AI children’s pedometer-determined physical activity (PA) segmented into prominent daily activity patterns.

Methods:

Participants included 5th- and 6th-grade children (N = 77) attending school from 1 Southwestern US AI community. Children wore a pedometer (Yamax Digiwalker SW-200) for 7 consecutive days.

Results:

Boys accumulated 12,621 (±5385) steps/weekday and girls accumulated 11,640 (±3695) steps/weekday of which 38% (4,779 ± 1271) and 35% (4,027 ± 1285) were accumulated at school for boys and girls, respectively. Physical education (PE) provided the single largest source of PA during school for both boys (25% or 3117 steps/day) and girls (23% or 2638 steps/day). Lunchtime recess provided 1612 (13%) and 1241 (11%) steps/day for boys and girls, respectively. Children were significantly less active on weekend days, accumulating 8066 ± 1959 (boys) and 6676 ± 1884 (girls).

Conclusions:

Although children accumulate a majority of their steps outside of school, this study highlights the important contribution of PE to the overall PA accumulation of children living in AI communities. Further, PA programming during the weekend appears to be important for this population.

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Scott Duncan, Kate White, Suzanne Mavoa, Tom Stewart, Erica Hinckson and Grant Schofield

Background:

The distance between home and school is the most consistent predictor of active transport in youth: the closer an individual lives to school, the more likely they are to use active transport. While this suggests that it is preferable to live as close to school as possible, the limited physical activity accumulated during short trips may not offer substantial benefits to active transporters.

Methods:

The current study investigated the predicted physical activity benefits associated with a range of home-school distances in 595 young people aged 5 to 16 years (Years 1 to 11). Physical activity was measured using sealed pedometers over 7 days. Participants’ home addresses and usual transport mode to and from school were collected via a questionnaire completed by parents (Years 1 to 6) and participants (Years 7 to 11).

Results:

A nonlinear relationship between predicted weekday activity and distance was detected, such that the high probability of active transport at short distances was offset by the low physical activity associated with walking short distances.

Conclusions:

A distance of approximately 2 km was associated with the best physical activity outcomes related to active transport (9% to 15% increase on weekdays). These findings have potential implications for future interventions and for planning residential developments or facilities.

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Lina Engelen, Anita C Bundy, Adrian Bauman, Geraldine Naughton, Shirley Wyver and Louise Baur

Background:

Children can spend substantial amounts of leisure time in sedentary activities, dominated by TV/screen time. However, objective real-time measurement of activities after school among young school children is seldom described.

Methods:

School children (n = 246, 5−7 years old, mean 6.0) and their parents were recruited by random selection from 14 schools across Sydney, Australia. Parents used a real-time objective measure (Experience Sampling Method, ESM) to record children’s activities and whether they were indoors or outdoors at 3 random times each day after school. Data were collected across 4 weekdays in 1 week and then, 13 weeks later, another 4 weekdays in 1 week.

Results:

Results were based on 2940 responses from 214 childparent dyads showed that 25% of behavior involved physical activity, 51% was spent in sedentary activities, and 22% was TV/ screen time. Most instances (81%) occurred indoors.

Conclusion:

Despite a high proportion of TV/screen time, children were also engaged in a range of other sedentary and physically active pursuits after school. Hence TV/screen time is not a suitable proxy for all sedentary behavior, and it is important to gather information on other non–screen-based sedentary and physically active behaviors. Future research is warranted to further investigate after-school activities in young primary school children.

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Haresh T. Suppiah, Chee Yong Low and Michael Chia

Purpose:

Adolescent student-athletes face time constraints due to athletic and scholastic commitments, resulting in habitually shortened nocturnal sleep durations. However, there is a dearth of research on the effects of sleep debt on student-athlete performance. The study aimed to (i) examine the habitual sleep patterns (actigraphy) of high-level student-athletes during a week of training and academic activities, (ii) ascertain the effects of habitual sleep durations experienced by high-level student-athletes on psychomotor performance, and (iii) examine the impact of sport training intensities on the sleep patterns of high-level student-athletes that participate in low and high intensity sports.

Methods:

Sleep patterns of 29 high-level student-athletes (14.7 ± 1.3 yrs) were monitored over 7 days. A psychomotor vigilance task was administered on weekdays to ascertain the effects of habitual sleep durations.

Results:

Weekend total sleep time was longer than weekdays along with a delay in bedtime, and waketimes. Psychomotor vigilance reaction times on Monday were faster than on Thursday and Friday, with reaction times on Tuesday also faster than on Friday. False starts and lapses were greater on Friday compared with Monday.

Conclusion:

There was a negative impact of sleep debt on student-athletes’ psychomotor performance.

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Simone Nicolai, Petra Benzinger, Dawn A. Skelton, Kamiar Aminian, Clemens Becker and Ulrich Lindemann

The purpose of the study was to investigate whether a 24-hr recording period is sufficient to describe physical activity (PA) of 1 week for intraindividual comparison in older adults. Furthermore, the authors analyzed whether physical performance can be used as a surrogate marker of PA. PA was captured on 7 consecutive days by a body-fixed sensor in 44 community-dwelling older adults (80.75 ± 4.05 yr). Mean times of walking and of “time on feet” of the group were 10.2 hr (± 3.5) and 35.1 hr (± 9.43), respectively. Intraindividual variabilities of walking and of time on feet were 31.9% ± 10.79% and 19.4% ± 8.76%, respectively. Accumulated time of variables of PA showed no differences between weekdays, with variabilities of 3.8% and 1.8% for walking and time on feet, respectively. Association between Short Physical Performance Battery and PA was limited (walking r = .397, time on feet r = .41).

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Jenna Panter, Andrew Jones, Esther Van Sluijs and Simon Griffin

The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to examine the associations between active commuting behavior, levels of physical activity and distance to school in 9–10 year old children. Participants were children (n = 1824) who took part in the SPEEDY study (Sport, Physical activity and Eating behavior: Environmental Determinants in Young people). For both boys and girls, significant positive associations were observed between walking to school and physical activity and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during weekday journey times (8–9am and 3–4pm), and the size of association also became stronger with increasing distance from school. Promotion of active commuting to school might be an important way to increase levels of physical activity in school children.

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Deborah A. Cohen, Scott Ashwood, Molly Scott, Adrian Overton, Kelly R. Evenson, Carolyn C. Voorhees, Ariane Bedimo-Rung and Thomas L. McKenzie

Background:

Proximity to routine destinations is an important correlate of physical activity. We examined the association between distance from school and physical activity in adolescent girls.

Methods:

We mapped the addresses of 1554 sixth-grade girls who participated in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) Study and calculated the shortest distance from home to school along the street network. Using a hierarchical design we examined the association between MET-weighted moderate to vigorous physical activity (MW- MVPA) and distance to school, while controlling for potential confounders.

Results:

Distance to school was inversely associated with weekday MW- MVPA for middle school girls. For every mile the girls lived from their schools, they engaged in an average of 13 fewer MET-weighted minutes per week.

Conclusions:

Distance to school is inversely associated with MW-MVPA. The most adversely affected girls lived more than 5 miles from school. Time spent commuting could explain reduced time for physical activity.