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Hazzaa M. Al-Hazzaa and Mohammed A. Sulaiman

The present study examined the relationship between maximal oxygen uptake (V̇O2max) and daily physical activity in a group of 7- to 12-year-old boys. V̇O2max was assessed through the incremental treadmill test using an open circuit system. Physical activity level was obtained from heart rate telemetry outside of school time for 8 hrs during weekdays and during 40 min of physical education classes. The findings indicated that the absolute value of V̇O2max increased with age, while relative to body weight it remained almost the same across age, with a mean of 48.4 ml · kg−1 · min−1. Moreover, heart rate telemetry showed that the boys spent a limited amount of time on activities that raise the heart rate to a level above 160 bpm (an average of 1.9%). In addition, V̇O2max was found to be significantly related to the percentage of time spent at activity levels at or above a heart rate of 140 bpm, but not with activity levels at or above a heart rate of 160 bpm.

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Katja Borodulin, Anja Kärki, Tiina Laatikainen, Markku Peltonen and Riitta Luoto

Background:

Daily sitting time may be a risk factor for incident cardiovascular disease (CVD); however, this has not yet been extensively studied. Our aim was to study the association of total sitting time with the risk of CVD.

Methods:

Participants (n = 4516, free of CVD at baseline) from the National FINRISK 2002 Study were followed for fatal and nonfatal CVD using national registers. Participants underwent a health examination and completed questionnaires, including total daily sitting time.

Results:

During a mean follow-up of 8.6 years, 183 incident CVD cases occurred. Sitting on a typical weekday, at baseline, was statistically significantly associated with fatal and nonfatal incident CVD. The hazard ratios (with 95% confidence intervals, CI) for the total amount of sitting were 1.05 (95% CI, 1.00–1.10) in the age and gender adjusted model and 1.06 (95% CI, 1.01–1.11) in the fully adjusted model, including age, gender, employment status, education, BMI, smoking status, leisure time physical activity, use of vegetables and fruit, alcohol use, blood pressure or its medication, and cholesterol or its medication.

Conclusions:

Our findings suggest that total amount of daily sitting is a risk factor for incident CVD. More research is needed to understand the etiology of sedentary behavior and CVD.

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Massimiliano Pau, Federica Corona, Bruno Leban, Simona Piredda, Maria Marcella Vacca and Gioia Mura

Background:

Considering the relevant amount of time spent by children at school, it is essential to ensure that suitable levels of physical activity (PA) are guaranteed. This study aimed to assess possible changes induced in the amount and type of PA performed following the 2 schedules in Italian primary schools, namely regular and full time (30–40 h/week respectively).

Methods:

A sample of 169 children wore a triaxial accelerometer 24h/day for 7 consecutive days. Raw data were processed to calculate the number of steps, amount and intensity of the PA performed in morning, afternoon and evening time slots.

Results:

During weekday afternoon times (1:30 to 4:30 PM), children attending the full-time schedule spent significantly less time in sedentary behavior with respect to those who attend the regular time (54.7% vs. 60.0%, P < .001) and more time in moderate-to-vigorous activity (18.0% vs. 15.0%, P = .004). No differences between morning and evening times were found.

Conclusions:

The structure of the full time schedule, which includes a second recess, promotes higher and more intense levels of PA during the afternoon. Such information represent a useful input in planning differential PA activities for children attending the regular time to achieve similar PA levels for the whole school population.

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Amanda Louise Lewis and Frank F. Eves

Background/Objective:

While point-of-choice prompts consistently increase stair climbing, experimental comparisons of message content are rare. Here, the effects of 2 messages differing in complexity about the health outcomes obtainable from stair climbing were compared.

Methods:

In a UK train station with 2 independent platforms exited by identical 39-step staircases and adjacent escalators, observers recorded travelers ascent method and gender from 8:00 A.M. to 10:00 A.M. on 2 weekdays during February/March 2008 (n = 48,697). Baseline observations (2-weeks) preceded a 3-week poster phase. Two posters (594 × 841mm) that differed in the complexity of the message were positioned at the point-of-choice between ascent methods, with 1 placed on each side of the station simultaneously. Logistic regression analysis was conducted in April 2010.

Results:

Omnibus analysis contained main effects of the intervention (OR = 1.07, CI = 1.02–1.13, P = .01) and pedestrian traffic volume (OR = 5.42, CI = 3.05–9.62, P < .001). Similar effects occurred for complex (OR = 1.10, CI = 1.02–1.18, P = .01) and simple messages (OR = 1.07, CI = 1.01–1.13, P = .02) when analyses controlled for the influence of pedestrian traffic volume. There was reduced efficacy for the complex message during busier periods (OR = 0.36, CI = 0.20–0.66, P = .001), whereas the simple message was immune to these effects of traffic volume.

Conclusions:

Pedestrian traffic flow in stations can influence message effectiveness. Simple messages appear more suitable for busy sites.

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Peter Collins, Yahya Al-Nakeeb and Mark Lyons

Background:

Active school commuting is widely regarded as a key opportunity for youth to participate in physical activity (PA). However, the accurate measurement of the commute home from school and its contribution to total free-living moderateto- vigorous PA (MVPA) is relatively unexplored.

Methods:

Seventy-five adolescents (38 males, 37 females) wore an integrated GPS and heart rate device during after-school hours for 4 consecutive weekdays.

Results:

Active commuters were significantly more active (11.72 minutes MVPA) than passive commuters (3.5 minutes MVPA) during their commute home from school (P = .001). The commute home of walkers and cyclists on average contributed 35% of their total free-living PA. However, there was no significant difference in the overall free-living PA levels of passive and active commuters (P > .05). A total 92.7% of the youth living within 1.5 miles of the school actively commuted, compared with 16.7% of the youth who lived further away. Socioeconomic differences in commuting patterns were also evident.

Conclusions:

The findings highlighted the significant proportion of total free-living PA that was attributed to active commuting home from school. The study demonstrates the usefulness of utilizing GPS and heart rate data to accurately track young people’s after-school PA. Demographic influences and implications for future research are discussed.

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Kelly R. Evenson, Brian Neelon, Sarah C. Ball, Amber Vaughn and Dianne S. Ward

Background:

Despite the growing interest in active (ie, nonmotorized) travel to and from school, few studies have explored the measurement properties to assess active travel. We evaluated the criterion validity and test–retest reliability of a questionnaire with a sample of young schoolchildren to assess travel to and from school, including mode, travel companion, and destination after school.

Methods:

To assess test–retest reliability, 54 children age 8 to 11 years completed a travel survey on 2 consecutive school days. To assess criterion validity, 28 children age 8 to 10 years and their parents completed a travel survey on 5 consecutive weekdays.

Results:

test–retest reliability of all questions indicated substantial agreement. The questions on mode of transport, where you will go after school, and how you will get there also displayed substantial agreement between parental and child reports.

Conclusions:

For this population, a questionnaire completed by school-age children to assess travel to and from school, including mode, travel companion, and destination after school, was reliably collected and indicated validity for most items when compared with parental reports.

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Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Elizabeth Loughren, Joan Duda and Kenneth Richard Fox

Background:

A 16-week lunchtime walking intervention was designed to increase physical activity in physically inactive University employees. The program was delivered and monitored twice over 7 months to examine feasibility across different seasons.

Methods:

Seventy-five participants (n = 69 females, n = 6 males; mean age = 47.68) were randomly allocated into a Winter (February start) or Spring group (May start). Participants were asked to complete 3 weekday lunchtime walks and 2 weekend walks. Weeks 1 to 10 were led by walk leaders (group phase) while the participants self-organized their walks during weeks 11 to 16 (independent phase). Yamax pedometers recorded daily step counts and walk group leaders recorded participant attendance in the group phase. Acceptability was assessed via a satisfaction survey and 2 focus groups with participants.

Results:

A participant pool representative by ethnicity, but not gender was recruited using a range of strategies. The program demonstrated good retention across both groups (73%). The intervention was acceptable to participants. More steps were accumulated in the group-led versus the independent phase.

Conclusion:

The intervention is feasible in this workplace setting across different seasonal periods. In the future, researchers should examine if the findings can be replicated in a definitive trial and generalize to other workplace settings.

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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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Mareesa O’Dwyer, Stuart J. Fairclough, Nicola Diane Ridgers, Zoe Rebecca Knowles, Lawrence Foweather and Gareth Stratton

Background:

Identifying periods of the day which are susceptible to varying levels of physical activity (PA) may help identify key times to intervene and potentially change preschool children’s PA behaviors. This study assessed variability of objectively measured moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during weekdays and weekend days among preschool children.

Methods:

One hundred and eighty-eight children (aged 3 to 5 years; 53.2% boys) from a northwest English city wore uni-axial accelerometers for 7 consecutive days.

Results:

Higher levels of MVPA were recorded in boys, particularly those who attended preschool for a half day. Children who attended preschool for a full day engaged in 11.1 minutes less MVPA than children who attended for a half day. After-school hours were characterized by a decrease in activity for all groups. Patterns of activity during the weekend were smoother with less variability.

Conclusion:

This study identified discrete segments of the week, specifically afterschool and during the weekend, when preschoolers engage in low levels of PA. Higher levels of MVPA among children who attended preschool for less time each day suggests that the structured preschool environment is related to decreased activity. Consequently, there is a need for interventions in young children to focus on school and home environments.

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Pradeep Y. Ramulu, Emilie S. Chan, Tara L. Loyd, Luigi Ferrucci and David S. Friedman

Background:

Measuring physical at home and away from home is essential for assessing health and well-being, and could help design interventions to increase physical activity. Here, we describe how physical activity at home and away from home can be quantified by combining information from cellular network–based tracking devices and accelerometers.

Methods:

Thirty-five working adults wore a cellular network–based tracking device and an accelerometer for 6 consecutive days and logged their travel away from home. Performance of the tracking device was determined using the travel log for reference. Tracking device and accelerometer data were merged to compare physical activity at home and away from home.

Results:

The tracking device detected 98.6% of all away-from-home excursions, accurately measured time away from home and demonstrated few prolonged signal drop-out periods. Most physical activity took place away from home on weekdays, but not on weekends. Subjects were more physically active per unit of time while away from home, particularly on weekends.

Conclusions:

Cellular network–based tracking devices represent an alternative to global positioning systems for tracking location, and provide information easily integrated with accelerometers to determine where physical activity takes place. Promoting greater time spent away from home may increase physical activity.