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Dana Sirota, Dodi Meyer, Andres Nieto, Arlen Zamula, Melissa Stockwell and Evelyn Berger-Jenkins

Background:

School-based physical activity programs can reach large populations of at-risk children however evidence for the sustainability of healthy behaviors as a result of these programs is mixed. Healthy Schools Healthy Families (HSHF) is a physical activity and nutrition program for elementary students in a predominantly minority community. The program includes short teacher led classroom-based physical activities, also known as Transition Exercises (TE). Our aim was to assess whether TE was associated with children’s reported recreational physical activity outside of school.

Methods:

We surveyed HSHF students in grade 5 (n = 383) about their recreational physical activity at the start and end of the school year. Multivariable analysis was used to determine what factors including TE contributed to their reported activity.

Results:

Students were predominantly Hispanic with a mean age of 10 ± .03. There was an increase in reported recreational physical activity from the start to the end of the school year (73.6% to 82.4%, P < .05). Students who participated in more TE had a 2.75 times greater odds of reporting participation in recreational activity than students who participated in less TE.

Conclusions:

For students in HSHF, TE was significantly associated with an increase in recreational physical activity.

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Maciej S. Buchowski, Leena Choi, Karen M. Majchrzak, Sari Acra, Charles E. Matthews and Kong Y. Chen

Background:

Environmental factors including seasonal changes are important to guide physical activity (PA) programs to achieve or sustain weight loss. The goal was to determine seasonal variability in the amount and patterns of free-living PA in women.

Methods:

PA was measured in 57 healthy women from metropolitan Nashville, TN, and surrounding counties (age: 20 to 54 years, body mass index: 17 to 48 kg/m2) using an accelerometer for 7 consecutive days during 3 seasons within 1 year. PA counts and energy expenditure (EE) were measured in a whole-room indirect calorimeter and used to model accelerometer output and to calculate daily EE and intensity of PA expressed as metabolic equivalents (METs).

Results:

PA was lower in winter than in summer (131 ± 45 vs. 144 ± 54 × 103 counts/d; P = .025) and in spring/fall (143 ± 48 × 103 counts/d; P = .027). On weekends, PA was lower in winter than in summer by 22,652 counts/d (P = .008). In winter, women spent more time in sedentary activities than in summer (difference 35 min/d; P = .007) and less time in light activities (difference −29 min/d, P = .018) and moderate or vigorous activities (difference −6 min/d, P = .051).

Conclusions:

Women living in the southeastern United States had lower PA levels in winter compared with summer and spring/fall, and the magnitude of this effect was greater on weekends than weekdays.

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Ryan D. Burns, Timothy A. Brusseau and James C. Hannon

Background:

Optimal levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) have been shown to improve health and academic outcomes in youth. Limited research has examined MVPA trajectories throughout a daily middle school physical education (PE) curriculum. The purpose of this study was to examine MVPA trajectories over a daily PE curriculum and the modifying effects of sex, body composition, and cardiorespiratory endurance.

Methods:

One hundred 7th- and 8th-grade students participated in daily PE lessons. There were 66 lessons throughout the semester. MVPA was monitored during each lesson using NL-1000 piezoelectric pedometers. Students were classified into FITNESSGRAM Healthy Fitness Zones using estimated VO2 Max and Body Mass Index (BMI). A population averaged generalized estimating equation was employed to examine MVPA trajectories.

Results:

On average, students’ MVPA decreased over time (β = –0.35, P < .001). Poor student VO2max classification significantly modified the trajectories (β = –0.14, P < .001), however poor BMI classification did not have a modifying effect (β = 0.03, P = .158).

Conclusions:

MVPA decreased in daily PE over time and cardiorespiratory endurance significantly modified the trajectories. The results support that extra efforts have to be made by teachers and students to sustain MVPA behaviors over a semester.

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Jay E. Maddock, Bill Reger-Nash, Katie Heinrich, Kevin M. Leyden and Thomas K. Bias

Background:

The U.S. Community Guide to Preventive Services strongly recommends changes in urban design, land use and accessibility to increase physical activity. To achieve these goals, policy change is often needed. This study assessed attitudes of decision makers in Hawaii to determine if physical activity related issues are among their priorities.

Methods:

State and county officials (n = 179) were mailed surveys. Respondents listed the three most important problems (open-ended) in Hawaii and rated the importance of 23 specified problems, of which six directly related to physical activity.

Results:

The survey was completed by 126 (70.4%) respondents. The most frequently mentioned categories for the open-ended questions were affordable housing, environment/sustainability, sprawl/traffic/population growth, and healthcare. Among the closed-ended physical activity related items, increasing traffic was ranked highest (43.9%) and fourth overall. Less than 12% of decision makers rated other physical activity issues as important.

Conclusions:

Future work is needed to increase the visibility and importance of physical activity related issues among policymakers.

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Viviene Temple, Ryan Rhodes and Joan Wharf Higgins

Background:

Walking has been identified as a low resourced yet effective means of achieving physical activity levels required for optimal health. From studies conducted around the world, we know that dog owners walk more than nondog owners. However, this evidence is largely self-reported which may not accurately reflect dog-owners’ behaviors.

Method:

To address this concern, we systematically observed the use of 6 different public parks in Victoria, British Columbia during fair and inclement weather. Using a modified version of the SOPARC tool, we documented visitors’ types of physical activity, and the presence or absence of dogs. The Physical Activity Resource Assessment was used to consider park features, amenities, and incivilities.

Results:

More people without dogs (73%) visited the parks than those with dogs (27%), largely because of attendance at the multiuse sport parks during the summer months. Despite the opportunities to engage in multiple sports, most people used the parks to walk. However, when inclement weather struck, dog owners continued visiting parks and sustained their walking practices significantly more than nondog owners.

Conclusion:

Our observational snapshot of park use supports earlier work that dogs serve as a motivational support for their owners’ walking practices through fair and foul weather.

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Markus V. Nahas, Mauro V. G. de Barros, Maria Alice A. de Assis, Pedro C. Hallal, Alex A. Florindo and Lisandra Konrad

Background:

A cross-cultural, randomized study was proposed to observe the effects of a school-based intervention designed to promote physical activity and healthy eating among high school students in 2 cities from different regions in Brazil: Recife and Florianopolis. The objective of this article is to describe the methodology and subjects enrolled in the project.

Methods:

Ten schools from each region were matched and randomized into intervention and control conditions. A questionnaire and anthropometry were used to collect data in the first and last month of the 2006 school year. The sample (n = 2155 at baseline; 55.7% females; 49.1% in the experimental group) included students 15 to 24 years, attending nighttime classes. The intervention focused on simple environmental/organizational changes, diet and physical activity education, and personnel training.

Results:

The central aspects of the intervention have been implemented in all 10 intervention schools. Problems during the intervention included teachers’ strikes in both sites and lack of involvement of the canteen owners in schools.

Conclusions:

The Saude na Boa study provides evidence that public high schools in Brazil represent an important environment for health promotion. Its design and simple measurements increase the chances of it being sustained and disseminated to similar schools in Brazil.

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Fiona Iredale, Frank Bell and Myra Nimmo

Fourteen sedentary 50- to 55-year-old men were exercised to exhaustion using an incremental treadmill protocol. Mean (±SEM) peak oxygen uptake (V̇O2peak) was 40.5 ± 1.19 ml · kg1 · min−1, and maximum heart rate was 161 ± 4 beats · min−1. Blood lactate concentration was measured regularly to identify the lactate threshold (oxygen consumption at which blood lactate concentration begins to systematically increase). Threshold occurred at 84 ± 2% of V̇O2peak. The absolute lactate value at threshold was 2.9 ± 0.2 mmol · L−1. On a separate occasion, 6 subjects exercised continuously just below their individual lactate thresholds for 25 min without significantly raising their blood lactate levels from the 10th minute to the 25th. The absolute blood lactate level over the last 20 min of the steady-state test averaged 3.7 ± 1.2 mmol · L−1. This value is higher than that elicited at the threshold in the incremental test because of the differing nature of the protocols. It was concluded that although the lactate threshold occurs at a high percentage of V̇O2peak, subjects are still able to sustain exercise at that intensity for 25 min.

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Connie L. Tompkins, Timothy Flanagan, John Lavoie II and David W. Brock

Background:

Compared with structured/organized activities, unstructured, self-selected physical activity (PA) may be more appealing for children in particular obese (OB) children. We examined whether both healthy-weight (HW) and OB children would engage in moderate to vigorous intensity PA during an unstructured PA program and compared heart rate (HR) and rate of perceived exertion (RPE) between the children.

Methods:

Twenty-one children [9 OB (≥95th BMI percentile, 12 HW (5th – <85th), 8.6 ± 0.8 years; 9 males, 12 females] participated in before-school (7:30 AM to 8:15 AM) PA for 18 weeks, 3 consecutive days/week. Each child wore a Polar E600 HR monitor and was provided a vigorous, age-targeted heart rate (THR) of 70%.

Results:

Mean HR ≥ vigorous THR for all children in 65.3% of the sessions and exceeded moderate intensity in 100%. Over the 18-weeks, no significant difference was observed in the overall mean HR between the HW (171.4 ± 12.0) and OB (169.3 ± 13.0), however the OB reported significantly lower RPEs than the HW (16.9 ± 2.6 vs. 17.6 ± 1.5, respectively; P < .05).

Conclusions:

Both the HW and OB children consistently sustained PA of moderate and vigorous intensity. The current study provides insight regarding the physiological capabilities and perceptual responses of HW and OB children participating in PA programs.

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Sarah M. Camhi, Susan B. Sisson, William D. Johnson, Peter T. Katzmarzyk and Catrine Tudor-Locke

Background:

Objective physical activity data analyses focus on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) without considering lower intensity lifestyle-type activities (LA). We describe 1) quantity of LA (minutes and steps per day) across demographic groups, 2) proportion of LA to total physical activity, and 3) relationships between LA and MVPA using NHANES 2005−2006 accelerometer adult data (n = 3744).

Methods:

LA was defined as 760 to 2019 counts per minute (cpm) and MVPA as ≥2020 cpm. LA was compared within gender, ethnicity, age, and BMI groups. Regression analyses examined independent effects. Correlations were evaluated between LA and MVPA. All analyses incorporated sampling weights to represent national estimates.

Results:

Adults spent 110.4 ± 1.6 minutes and took 3476 ± 54 steps per day in LA. Similar to MVPA, LA was highest in men, Mexican Americans, and lowest in adults ≥60 years or obese. When LA was held constant, ethnic differences no longer predicted MVPA minutes, and age no longer predicted MVPA steps. LA and MVPA minutes (r = .84) and steps per day (r = .72) were significantly correlated, but attenuated with MVPA modified bouts (≥10 minutes sustained activity).

Conclusions:

LA accumulation differs between demographic subgroups and is related to MVPA: adults who spend more minutes and steps in MVPA also spend them in LA.

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Cheryl B. Anderson

One’s athletic identity, developed and maintained by others as well as the self, is likely important in sustaining long-term physical activity over many years. The 21-item Athletic Identity Questionnaire (AIQ) is presented as a multidimensional measure of the components of athletic identity that reflects an attribute all people possess to varying degrees and encompasses exercise, sports, and physical activity. Confirmatory factor analyses in two samples of young adults (n = 446 and 485) supported a first-order model of four correlated factors: athletic appearance; importance of exercise/ sports/ physical activity; competence; and encouragement from others. A latent factor of physical activity with two indicators—stage of exercise behavior and exercise frequency per week—correlated significantly with the four athletic identity factors in both samples (r = 0.57–0.89 in Sample 1, r = 0.56–0.90 in Sample 2), and this 5-factor measurement model also represented an adequate fit. Results provide support for the reliability and validity of the AIQ.