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Alexandre Magalhães, Elisabete Ramos and Maria Fátima Pina

Background:

Proximity to urban green spaces (UGS) and open sports spaces (OSS) benefits health, promotes physical activity (PA) and sports practice (SP).

Objective:

Analyze the association between PA or SP according to distances between UGS or OSS and teenagers’ residences or schools.

Methods:

We evaluated 1333 (53.9% girls) teenagers (13 years old) living and studying in Porto, Portugal (EPITeen cohort). PA was classified as light or moderate/vigorous. Distances were the shortest routes from residences or schools to UGS/OSS, and classified in ≤250 m; >250 m to ≤500 m; >500 m to ≤750 m; >750 m. Chi-square test and chi-square for trends were used to compare proportions; associations were measured using logistic regression, through odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals, adjusting to BMI and parental education.

Results:

Regarding vicinity’ of schools, the prevalence of moderate/vigorous PA among boys, decreases as distances to OSS increases. For girls, the prevalence of sports decreases as distances to UGS increase. For boys, we found an association between moderate/vigorous PA and proximity to OSS in the vicinity of schools: considering ≤250 m as reference, the odds of moderate/vigorous PA is 0.20 (0.06–0.63) for >250 m to ≤500 m; 0.21 (0.07–0.61) for >500 m to ≤750 m and 0.19 (0.06–0.58) for >750 m.

Conclusion:

Vicinities of schools seem to influence teenagers to be more physically active and increase sports participation.

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Bradley M. Appelhans and Hong Li

Purpose:

This study tested associations of organized sports participation and unstructured active play with overall moderate and vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in low-income children and examined factors associated with participation frequency.

Method:

Research staff visited 88 low-income Chicago households with children ages 6–13 years. MVPA was assessed through 7-day accelerometry. Researchers documented the home availability of physical activity equipment. Caregivers reported on child participation in organized sports and unstructured active play, family support for physical activity, perceived neighborhood safety, and access to neighborhood physical activity venues.

Results:

Despite similar participation in organized sports and unstructured active play, boys accumulated more MVPA than girls. MVPA was predicted by an interaction between gender and unstructured active play. Boys accumulated 23–45 additional minutes of weekday MVPA and 53–62 additional minutes of weekend MVPA through unstructured active play, with no such associations in girls. Higher reported neighborhood safety and family support for physical activity were associated with engagement in unstructured active play for both genders, and with participation in organized sports for girls.

Conclusion:

Physical activity interventions for low-income, urban children should emphasize unstructured active play, particularly in boys. Fostering family support for physical activity and safe play environments may be critical intervention components.

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Rebecca A. Seguin, Christina D. Economos, Ruth Palombo, Raymond Hyatt, Julia Kuder and Miriam E. Nelson

Background:

Despite the recognized health benefits, few older women participate in strength-training exercises.

Methods:

The purpose of this study was to examine factors related to older women’s adherence to strength training after participation in the Strong Women Program, a nationally disseminated community program. Adherence was defined as ≥4 months of twice-weekly strength training. Surveys were sent to 970 program participants from 23 states and to participants’ corresponding program leaders. Five-hundred fifty-seven participants responded (57%).

Results:

Of respondents who completed surveys (527), 79% (415) adhered to strength training; adherers reported a mean of 14.1 ± 9.1 months of strength training. Logistic-regression analysis revealed that exercise adherence was positively associated with age (p = .001), higher lifetime physical activity levels (p = .045), better perceived health (p = .003), leader’s sports participation (p = .028), and leader’s prior experience leading programs (p = .006).

Conclusion:

These data lend insight to factors that may be related to exercise adherence among midlife and older women.

Open access

Blanca Roman-Viñas, Jorge Marin, Mairena Sánchez-López, Susana Aznar, Rosaura Leis, Raquel Aparicio-Ugarriza, Helmut Schroder, Rocío Ortiz-Moncada, German Vicente, Marcela González-Gross and Lluís Serra-Majem

Background:

The first Active Healthy Kids Spanish Report Card aims to gather the most robust information about physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior of children and adolescents.

Methods:

A Research Working Group of experts on PA and sport sciences was convened. A comprehensive data search, based on a review of the literature, dissertations, gray literature, and experts’ nonpublished data, was conducted to identify the best sources to grade each indicator following the procedures and methodology outlined by the Active Healthy Kids Canada Report Card model.

Results:

Overall PA (based on objective and self-reported methods) was graded as D-, Organized Sports Participation as B, Active Play as C+, Active Transportation as C, Sedentary Behavior as D, School as C, and Family and Peers as Incomplete, Community and the Built Environment as Incomplete, and Government as Incomplete.

Conclusions:

Spanish children and adolescents showed low levels of adherence to PA and sedentary behavior guidelines, especially females and adolescents. There is a need to achieve consensus and harmonize methods to evaluate PA and sedentary behavior to monitor changes over time and to evaluate the effectiveness of policies to promote PA.

Open access

Vincent O. Onywera, Stella K. Muthuri, Sylvester Hayker, Lucy-Joy M. Wachira, Florence Kyallo, Robert O. Mang’eni, Peter Bukhala and Caleb Mireri

Background:

Kenya’s 2016 report card aimed to highlight the health and well-being of Kenyan children and youth using the best available evidence on the physical activity of Kenyan children and youth. The report pointed at areas where Kenya was succeeding and areas where more action is required.

Methods:

Inclusive analyses of available data sources on the core indicators related to physical activity and body weights of Kenyan children and youth (5 to 17 years) were conducted. These were assigned grades based on a set of specific criteria.

Results:

Results show that Active Play, Active Transportation, Overweight and Obesity, and Sedentary Behavior were favorable with a grade of B. Overall Physical Activity, Organized Sport Participation, and School (infrastructure, policies, and programs) each received a grade of C, while Family and Peers, Government and Nongovernment organizations, as well as the Community and the Built Environment were assigned grade D.

Conclusions:

Over 72% of Kenyan children and youth use active transportation to and from school and in their daily lives. Although majority of the children and youth have normal body weight, there is need to ensure that they meet and maintain the physical activity levels recommended by the World Health Organization. More needs to be done especially in relation to the governmental and nongovernmental organizations, organized sports participation, as well as involvement of family and peers in promoting healthy active lifestyles among Kenyan children and youth. More representative data for all indicators are required in Kenya.

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Stephanie E. Bonn, Lars Alfredsson, Saedis Saevarsdottir and Maria E.C. Schelin

Background:

Effective interventions are needed to increase physical activity in the general population. To target interventions, we need knowledge of insufficiently active groups in society. This study aims to identify demographic and health-related correlates of leisure-time physical inactivity in a general Scandinavian population.

Methods:

Study participants comprised 5734 control subjects, age 18 to 70 years, from 2 ongoing Swedish case-control studies. Participants self-reported their leisure-time physical activity level. The odds of being physically inactive were calculated using logistic regression.

Results:

A total of 42% of participants were classified as physically inactive during leisure time. A lower prevalence of inactivity was associated with middle age, higher education, having previous experience of sports participation, following a low glycemic index/Mediterranean diet and having a light physical workload. A high prevalence of inactivity was associated with greater age, high body mass index, smoking, never drinking alcohol, having children, having a weak social network or lower levels of emotional support, and a low vegetable intake.

Conclusions:

Several factors were associated with leisure-time physical inactivity. Directing interventions to target groups defined by specific factors associated with physical inactivity could be an efficient way to increase activity and improve health in the general population.

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David R. Bassett, Dinesh John, Scott A. Conger, Eugene C. Fitzhugh and Dawn P. Coe

Background:

Increases in childhood and adolescent obesity are a growing concern in the United States (U.S.), and in most countries throughout the world. Declines in physical activity are often postulated to have contributed to the rise in obesity rates during the past 40 years.

Methods:

We searched for studies of trends in physical activity and sedentary behaviors of U.S. youth, using nontraditional data sources. Literature searches were conducted for active commuting, physical education, high-school sports, and outdoor play. In addition, trends in sedentary behaviors were examined.

Results:

Data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) and other national surveys, as well as longitudinal studies in the transportation, education, electronic media, and recreation sectors showed evidence of changes in several indicators. Active commuting, high school physical education, and outdoor play (in 3- to 12-year-olds) declined over time, while sports participation in high school girls increased from 1971 to 2012. In addition, electronic entertainment and computer use increased during the first decade of the 21st century.

Conclusions:

Technological and societal changes have impacted the types of physical activities performed by U.S. youth. These data are helpful in understanding the factors associated with the rise in obesity, and in proposing potential solutions.

Open access

Mohamed G. Al-Kuwari, Izzeldin A. Ibrahim, Eiman M. Al Hammadi and John J. Reilly

Background:

The first Qatar Active Healthy Kids (QAHK) Report Card was developed in 2015–2016. It is a synthesis of the available evidence on physical activity in children and youth in the state of Qatar—an assessment of the state of the nation. The report card is important for future physical activity advocacy, policy, and program development.

Methods:

The QAHK Report Card was inspired by the Active Healthy Kids Scotland 2013 Report Card. The methodology used in Scotland’s report card was adapted for Qatar. A Working Group identified indicators for physical activity and related health behaviors, and evaluated the available data on these indicators. The card grades were determined by the percentage of children meeting guidelines or recommendations.

Results:

The 2016 QAHK Report Card consisted of 9 indicators: 6 Physical Activity and Health Behaviors and Outcomes, and 3 Settings and Influences on these health behaviors and outcomes. The indicator National Policy, Strategy, and Investment was assigned the highest grade (B). Four indicators were assigned D grades: Sedentary Behavior, Dietary Habits, Organized Sports Participation, and Family and Peer Influence. Physical Activity and Obesity were both graded F. Two indicators could not be graded due to insufficient data and/or absence of a recommendation: Active and Outdoor Play, and Community and School Influence.

Conclusions:

The QAHK Report Card identified weaknesses and gaps in the evidence on physical activity and health in children and youth in Qatar. The quality of evidence was poor for some indicators, with some data collection methods of limited validity and reliability, or only available for a limited age range, so the grades are best estimates of the current situation in Qatar. Future surveys and research using objective physical activity measures will support the development of a second QAHK Report Card by 2018.

Open access

Monika Uys, Susan Bassett, Catherine E. Draper, Lisa Micklesfield, Andries Monyeki, Anniza de Villiers, Estelle V. Lambert and the HAKSA 2016 Writing Group

Background:

We present results of the 2016 Healthy Active Kids South Africa (HAKSA) Report Card on the current status of physical activity (PA) and nutrition in South African youth. The context in which we interpret the findings is that participation in PA is a fundamental human right, along with the right to “attainment of the highest standard of health.”

Methods:

The HAKSA 2016 Writing Group was comprised of 33 authorities in physical education, exercise science, nutrition, public health, and journalism. The search strategy was based on peer-reviewed manuscripts, dissertations, and ‘gray’ literature. The core PA indicators are Overall Physical Activity Level; Organized Sport Participation; Active and Outdoor Play; Active Transportation; Sedentary Behaviors; Family and Peer Influences; School; Community and the Built Environment; and National Government Policy, Strategies, and Investment. In addition, we reported on Physical Fitness and Motor Proficiency separately. We also reported on nutrition indicators including Overweight and Under-nutrition along with certain key behaviors such as Fruit and Vegetable Intake, and policies and programs including School Nutrition Programs and Tuck Shops. Data were extracted and grades assigned after consensus was reached. Grades were assigned to each indicator ranging from an A, succeeding with a large majority of children and youth (81% to 100%); B, succeeding with well over half of children and youth (61% to 80%); C, succeeding with about half of children and youth (41% to 60%); D, succeeding with less than half but some children and youth (21% to 40%); and F, succeeding with very few children and youth (0% to 20%); INC is inconclusive.

Results:

Overall PA levels received a C grade, as we are succeeding with more than 50% of children meeting recommendations. Organized Sports Participation also received a C, and Government Policies remain promising, receiving a B. Screen time and sedentary behavior were a major concern. Under- and over-weight were highlighted and, as overweight is on the rise, received a D grade.

Conclusions:

In particular, issues of food security, obesogenic environments, and access to activity-supportive environments should guide social mobilization downstream and policy upstream. There is an urgent need for practice-based evidence based on evaluation of existing, scaled up interventions.

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Meghan Schreck, Robert Althoff, Meike Bartels, Eco de Geus, Jeremy Sibold, Christine Giummo, David Rubin and James Hudziak

Few studies have explored the relation between withdrawn behavior (WB) and exercise and screen time. The current study used exploratory factor analysis to examine the factor structure of leisure-time exercise behavior (LTEB) and screentime sedentary behavior (STSB) in a clinical sample of youth. Structural equation modeling was employed to investigate the relations between WB and LTEB and STSB, conditional on gender. WB was assessed using the Child Behavior Checklist, and LTEB and STSB were measured using the Vermont Health Behavior Questionnaire. LTEB and STSB emerged as two separate factors. Gender moderated the structure of STSB only. For boys and girls, WB was inversely related to LTEB but not significantly related to STSB. LTEB and STSB are best represented as distinct, uncorrelated constructs. In addition, withdrawn youth may be at risk for poor health outcomes due to lower rates of LTEB. Mental health clinicians, sports psychologists, and related providers may be uniquely qualified to enhance motivation for sports participation in withdrawn youth.