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Danielle R. Bouchard, Shaelyn Strachan, Leslie Johnson, Fiona Moola, Radhika Chitkara, Diana McMillan, Semone Myrie and Gordon Giesbrecht

Objective:

Our objective was to test the feasibility of sharing treadmill workstations among office workers to reduce time spent at low intensity and explore changes in health outcomes after a 3-month intervention.

Methods:

Twenty-two office workers were asked to walk 2 hours per shift on a shared treadmill workstation for 3 months. Physical activity levels (ie, low, light, moderate, and vigorous), health-related measures (eg, sleep, blood pressure), treadmill usage information, and questions regarding participants’ expectation and experiences were collected.

Results:

Physical activity time at low intensity during workdays was reduced by 20.1% (P = .007) in the 71% of participants completing the study. Participants were 70% confident that they would keep using the treadmill workstations. Interestingly, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, and sleep quality scores were significantly improved (P < .05).

Conclusions:

The use of such equipment to replace a few hours of sitting is feasible and might offer important health benefits.

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Roy J. Shephard

The Journal of Physical Activity and Health seems likely to develop as a vehicle for practical, evidence-based answers to problems concerning physical activity and health, issues that have important implications for public health policy. There is strong epidemiological evidence for an association between the regular practice of physical activity and preventive or therapeutic benefit in a wide range of chronic health conditions,1-4 and already many professional groups have been eager to pre¬pare position statements, indicating their assessments of an appropriate minimum weekly dose of physical activity to maintain health.5 Unfortunately, there have been substantial discrepancies between successive recommendations, and uncertainties in the message are one probable factor, limiting its acceptance by both the general public and immediate health-care providers.6,7 The purpose of this brief commentary is to suggest some areas of investigation that would help in formulating a clear and consistent message. Topics discussed include the desired health outcome, the shape of the dose–response relationship, the impact of confounding variables, the quality of the evidence accepted, the basis for shaping the message, and the need for multiple messages.

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Wendy C. Stephen and Ian Janssen

Background:

Little is known about the effects of physical activity on weight loss in older adults.

Methods:

Participants included 4512 community-dwelling older (≥65 yr) men and women from the Cardiovascular Health Study. Physical activity (PA) was determined from a questionnaire at baseline and subjects were divided into sex-specific PA quartiles. Weight was measured at baseline and annually over the 8 years of follow-up. The influence of PA on longitudinal changes in body weight was examined using mixed models while adjusting for lifestyle variables, sociodemographic characteristics, and disease status.

Results:

Body weight declined in a curvilinear manner over time with accelerated weight loss occurring in the final years. Over the 8 yr follow-up period, the least active PA quartile lost 2.72 kg. Weight loss was attenuated by 0.55 kg (20%, P = .057), 0.80 kg (29%, P = .05), and 0.69 kg (25%, P = .016) within the second through fourth PA quartiles. The effects of PA did not differ by gender, but increased with advancing age.

Conclusion:

Participation in modest amounts of PA attenuated age-related weight loss by approximately 25% with little additional benefit observed at higher PA levels. This finding adds to the growing number of health outcomes that are positively affected by PA.

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Philip W. Scruggs

Background:

The aim of this study was to advance physical activity (PA) surveillance in physical education (PE) by establishing a steps/min guideline that would accurately classify fifth and sixth graders as engaging in PA for 10 min or one-third of the PE lesson time.

Methods:

Data were collected on 147 (11.48 ± 0.83 y) girls and boys in 14 intact classes from five schools. PA was assessed via behavioral observation (i.e., criterion) and pedometry (i.e., predictor). Logistic and linear regression techniques were employed to generate pedometer steps/min cut points. Classification of outcome probability (c), sensitivity, specificity, and receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curve statistics tested the decision accuracy of generated steps/min cut points.

Results:

PA measures were strongly correlated (r ≥ 0.80, P < 0.01). A steps/min interval of 60 to 62 was the best cut point indicator of students meeting the PA guidelines.

Conclusions:

Findings support steps/min as an accurate quantifier of PA time in structured PA programs. PA surveillance via pedometry in PE using empirically derived criteria is an objective, valid, and practical mechanism for assessing a primary PE and public health outcome.

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Bhibha M. Das, Melanie Sartore-Baldwin and Matthew T. Mahar

Background:

A significant literature links race and socioeconomic status with physical inactivity and negative health outcomes. The aim of this study was to explore physical activity (PA) perceptions of an underserved, lower socioeconomic minority sector of the workforce.

Methods:

Two focus groups were conducted to examine university housekeepers’ perceptions of physical activity. Demographic and anthropometric data were also obtained.

Results:

Participants (N = 12; 100% female, 100% African-American) overwhelmingly associated PA with traditional exercise (eg, going to a gym). The most important barrier to PA was the perception of being active on the job, thus not needing to do leisure time PA. The most important perceived benefit to PA was improvement of physical and mental health. Employees perceived that a university investment in employees’ health might improve morale, especially within low-pay employee sectors where low levels of job satisfaction may be present.

Conclusions:

Although perceived benefits to PA in this population are consistent with other employee sectors, perceived barriers to PA may be unique to this sector of the workforce. PA promotion programs should focus on providing resources as well as guidelines that demonstrate the need for PA outside of the workplace setting. Such programs may improve employee health, morale, and productivity.

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Ellen De Decker, Kylie Hesketh, Marieke De Craemer, Trina Hinkley, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij, Jo Salmon and Greet Cardon

Background:

Television viewing is highly prevalent in preschoolers (3–5 years). Because of the adverse health outcomes related to this behavior, it is important to investigate associations and mediators of young children’s television viewing time. This study investigated whether parental rules regarding television viewing time and parental concerns about screen viewing activities mediated the association between parents’ and preschoolers’ television viewing time.

Methods:

Mediation analyses were performed with the product-of-coefficient test on data derived from the Australian HAPPY study (n = 947) and the Belgian sample of the ToyBox-study (n = 1527). Parents reported their own and their child’s television viewing time, their rules regarding television viewing and concerns about their child’s screen viewing activities.

Results:

Parents’ television viewing time was directly associated with preschoolers’ television viewing time and parental rule for television viewing time mediated this association in both samples (14.4% and 8.1% in the Australian and Belgian samples, respectively).

Conclusions:

This study is unique in examining the mediating pathway of parental television viewing and a rule limiting TV viewing time and whether this is consistent in different samples. Due to the consistent importance, both parents’ television viewing time and rules should be targeted in interventions to decrease preschoolers’ television viewing time.

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Bethany Barone Gibbs, Wendy C. King, Kelliann K. Davis, Amy D. Rickman, Renee J. Rogers, Abdus Wahed, Steven H. Belle and John Jakicic

Background:

Sedentary behavior (SED) has been measured almost exclusively by self-reported total SED or television time in longitudinal studies. This manuscript aimed to compare self-reported vs. objectively measured SED.

Methods:

Among overweight and obese young adults enrolled in a weight loss trial, baseline SED was assessed by 3 methods: 1) a questionnaire assessing 8 common SEDs (SEDQ), 2) 1 question assessing SED from the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (SEDGPAQ), and 3) a monitor worn on the arm (SEDOBJ). In addition, television time (SEDTV) was isolated from the SEDQ. SED measures were compared using Spearman’s correlations, signed-rank tests, and Bland-Altman plots.

Results:

In 448 participants, SEDQ and SEDGPAQ were only weakly associated with SEDOBJ (rs = 0.21; P < .001, rs = 0.32; P < .001, respectively). Compared with SEDOBJ, SEDQ more often overestimated SEDOBJ (median difference: 1.1 hours/day; P < .001), while SEDGPAQ more often underestimated SEDOBJ (median difference: –0.7 hours/day; P < .001). The correlation between SEDTV and SEDOBJ was not significantly different from 0 (rs = 0.08; P = .08).

Conclusions:

SEDQ and SEDGPAQ were weakly correlated with, and significantly different from, SEDOBJ in overweight and obese young adults. SEDTV was not related to SEDOBJ. The poor associations of self-reported and objectively measured SED could affect interpretation and comparison across studies relating SED to adverse health outcomes.

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Thiago Herick Sa, Emanuel Péricles Salvador and Alex Antonio Florindo

Background:

Physical inactivity in transportation is negatively related to many health outcomes. However, little is known about the correlates of this condition among people living in regions of low socioeconomic level.

Methods:

Cross-sectional study aimed to assess factors associated with physical inactivity in transportation among adults in the Eastern Zone of São Paulo, Brazil. Home-based interviews were conducted between May 2007 and January 2008 on a probabilistic sample of the adult population (≥18 years), totaling 368 men and 522 women. Factors associated with physical inactivity in transportation (less than 10 minutes per week of walking or cycling) were assessed using multivariate Poisson regression with hierarchical selection of variables.

Results:

Physical inactivity in transportation was associated with the presence of vehicles in the household in men (PR = 2.96) and women (PR = 2.42), with linear trend for both sexes (P < .001 and P = .004, respectively), even after adjusting for age, schooling level and chronic diseases (this last factor, only among women).

Conclusions:

Presence of vehicles in the household was associated positively with physical inactivity in transportation, both for men and for women. This should be taken into consideration in drawing up public policies for promoting physical activity.

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Mohammad Javad Koohsari, Takemi Sugiyama, Andrew T. Kaczynski and Neville Owen

Background:

Too much sitting, including time spent sitting in cars, is associated with poor health outcomes. Identifying the built-environment attributes that may reduce vehicular sitting time can inform future initiatives linking the public health, urban design, and transportation sectors.

Methods:

Data collected in 2003–2004 from adult residents (n = 2521) of Adelaide, Australia were used. Logistic regression analyses examined associations of prolonged time spent sitting in cars during leisure time (30 min/day or more) with neighborhood walkability and its components (dwelling density; intersection density; land use mix; net retail area ratio).

Results:

Lower overall walkability was significantly associated with a higher odds (OR = 1.43, 95% CI: 1.21–1.70) of spending prolonged time in cars. For analyses with walkability components, lower net retail area ratio, lower residential density, and lower intersection density were significantly associated with prolonged sitting in cars.

Conclusion:

This study found that residents of high walkable neighborhoods tended to spend less time sitting in cars. In particular, higher net retail area ratio, an indicator of tightly spaced commercial areas, was strongly associated with less time in cars. Policy and planning initiatives to reduce car use require further evidence, particularly on the influence of neighborhood retail areas.

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Carolyn E. Barlow, Kerem Shuval, Bijal A. Balasubramanian, Darla E. Kendzor and Kelley Pettee Gabriel

Background:

Prolonged sitting time is associated with numerous health outcomes; however, the role of cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) in these relationships is largely unexplored. The cross-sectional association between reported sitting time and measured CRF was examined in a large study of healthy men and women.

Methods:

The analytic sample included 4658 men and 1737 women enrolled in the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study. Unadjusted and adjusted multivariable linear regression models were constructed to examine the association between sitting time and CRF, stratified by sex and meeting (or not) meeting physical activity (PA) guidelines.

Results:

In men, CRF was not associated with sitting time after adjustment for potential confounders. In contrast, for women, after adjustment there was a significant association between increased sitting time and lower CRF (P for trend <.001). When stratified by meeting or not meeting PA guidelines, there was no association between sitting time and CRF in men. In women, this relationship was statistically significant regardless of PA category (both P for trend < .05).

Conclusions:

These results suggest that the association between sitting time and CRF varies by sex. Further, meeting PA guidelines does not appear to modify this relation in either sex.