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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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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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Ariane Bélanger-Gravel, Lise Gauvin, Daniel Fuller and Louis Drouin

Background:

Favorable public opinion and support for policies are essential to favor the sustainability of environmental interventions. This study examined public perceptions and support for active living policies associated with implementing a public bicycle share program (PBSP).

Methods:

Two cross-sectional population-based telephone surveys were conducted in 2009 and 2010 among 5011 adults in Montréal, Canada. Difference-in-differences analyses tested the impact of the PBSP on negative perceptions of the impact of the PBSP on the image of the city, road safety, ease of traveling, active transportation, health, and resistance to policies.

Results:

People living closer to docking stations were less likely to have negative perceptions of the effect of the PBSP on the image of the city (OR = 0.5; 95% CI, 0.4−0.8) and to be resistant to policies (OR = 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6−1.0). The likelihood of perceiving negative effects on road safety increased across time (OR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.2−1.8). Significant interactions were observed for perceptions of ease of traveling (OR = 0.5; 95% CI, 0.4−0.8), active transportation (OR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4−1.0), and health (OR = 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4−0.8): likelihood of negative perceptions decreased across time among people exposed.

Conclusion:

Findings indicate that negative perceptions were more likely to abate among those living closer to the PBSP.

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Yves Vanden Auweele, Filip Boen, Wanda Schapendonk and Karen Dornez

This study evaluated the impact of two simple interventions aimed at promoting stair use among female employees at a five-floor worksite. The first intervention involved a “health” sign that linked stair use to health and fitness; it was placed at the junction between the staircase and the elevator. The second intervention involved an additional e-mail sent a week later by the worksite’s doctor, pointing out the health benefits of regular stair use. Stair use increased significantly from 69% at baseline to 77% in the week after the first intervention, 2 (1) = 12.97, p < .001. Moreover, compared with the first intervention, stair use increased significantly to 85% in the week after the second intervention, 2 (1) = 15.58, p < .001. However, stair use decreased to 67% in a follow-up one month after the sign was removed, and was not significantly different from baseline, 2 (1) = 0.41, p = .52. These results suggest that simple and inexpensive interventions such as a health sign in combination with an e-mail sent by the worksite’s doctor can encourage female employees to use the stairs. However, it appears that sustained effort is needed to consolidate these effects.

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Teun Remmers, Ester F.C. Sleddens, Stef P.J. Kremers and Carel Thijs

Background:

Physical activity (PA) enjoyment may be an important determinant of long-term habitual, self-sustained PA behavior in children. The objective of the current study was to contribute toward a better understanding of how children’s PA enjoyment is associated with PA behavior by examining the influence of age, gender, BMI, and impulsivity as theoretically hypothesized moderators of this relationship.

Methods:

PA was measured in 171 children (77 boys, 91 girls) using accelerometers, and PA enjoyment was assessed with the validated Physical Activity Enjoyment Scale in 9-year-old children from the KOALA Birth Cohort Study, the Netherlands. Linear regressions were fitted. Moderation was tested by adding interaction terms between PA enjoyment and the potential moderators.

Results:

We found a significant 3-way interaction (PA enjoyment × gender × impulsivity) for all intensities of PA behavior. In boys, impulsivity strengthened the relationship between PA enjoyment and PA behavior, whereas in girls impulsivity weakened this relationship.

Conclusion:

In girls, this may be explained by the relative automatic occurrence of PA behavior in impulsive girls (independent of PA enjoyment). In boys, the possibility that impulsivity is associated with hyperactivity may explain this moderation. The current study may encourage researchers to investigate these interactions in future studies.

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Kyra Hamilton and Katherine M. White

Background:

Parents are at risk for physical inactivity; however, few studies have designed physical activity (PA) interventions specifically applied to individuals with young children. To ensure the effectiveness of interventions, it may be useful to first elicit the needs from the target population and incorporate salient strategies identified to the design and delivery of a resultant intervention. We aimed to explore strategies for what to include in and how to best deliver a program designed to increase parental PA.

Methods:

Twelve parents (6 mothers, 6 fathers) of children younger than 5 years participated in focus group discussions exploring strategies for an intervention program designed to increase parental PA.

Results:

A range of themes such as Focus on the Children and Flexible Life/Family Plans imbedded in strategies such as persuasion and information, problem-solving, skill building, and environmental approaches were identified. In addition, a range of strategies for how to best deliver a parental PA intervention evidenced in emerging themes such as Diverse and Brief and Individualized Approach was discussed.

Conclusions:

Future research should continue to adopt a ground up, community-based approach to the development and implementation of interventions for this at-risk group to ensure sustained involvement in regular PA.

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Mohsen Maddah, Zahra Akbarian, Solmaz Shoyooie, Maryam Rostamnejad and Mehdi Soleimani

Background:

Regular exercise is an important aspect of physical activity for people living in urban areas. We examined prevalence of regular exercise in leisure times and some related factors in middle aged men and women in northern Iran.

Method:

A cross-sectional survey was undertaken on 1425 women and 676 men in 2 main cities in northern Iran. Information on exercise habits was collected using a self-administrated questionnaire. Regular exercise was defined as any kind of recreational or sport physical activity other than walking performed three or more days per week for at least 20 minutes. Questions on perceived barriers on regular exercise and walking habit were also included in the questionnaire.

Results:

Findings showed that 11.2% of the participants (9% in women and 12.8% in men P < .05) did exercise regularly. Prevalence of doing regular exercise was inversely related to age in women but not in men. Educated women were more likely to do regular exercise. The most common perceived barrier for regular exercise was time insufficiency.

Conclusion:

Only a small proportion of the study men and women had sustainable regular exercise for 1 year. Regular exercise was more common among young and well educated women than older women and the men.

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Daniel S. Kirschenbaum, David A. Wittrock, Robert J. Smith and William Monson

We propose that training athletes to use certain cognitive-behavioral procedures, “criticism inoculation training” (CIT), could enable them to circumvent the adverse effects of excessively negativistic coaching. This experiment evaluated the efficacy of one potential CIT strategy, positive self-monitoring (systematically observing and recording instances of success). A laboratory paradigm was used in which 60 male college students attempted to learn the underhand free throw basketball technique from one of four undergraduate pseudocoaches. Subjects were randomly assigned to four groups determined by a 2 (negative vs. no feedback) × 2 (positive vs. no self-monitoring) factorial design. Negative feedback was expected to debilitate, while positive self-monitoring was expected to facilitate performance, sustained self-observation of videotapes of performance, and subjective evaluations of the “coach” and the technique. Negative feedback clearly produced extensive adverse effects, but surprisingly, positive self-monitoring also decreased performance. Theories of skilled motor behavior (MacKay, 1982) and self-regulation (Carver, 1979) helped explain why positive self-monitoring failed as a CIT procedure. This interpretation which focuses on the novelty of the task and the development of negative expectancies also led to suggestions of strategies that could more effectively fulfill the promise of the CIT concept.

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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.

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Andrew J. Mowen and Birgitta L. Baker

Background:

The United States’ first National Physical Activity Plan is now under development. This plan follows the release of new physical activity guidelines and seeks to address the nation’s ongoing physical inactivity and obesity crisis. For this plan to be successful, all facets of American culture need to unify behind its recommendations and action steps. Guidance for this plan involves active participation from a variety of sectors, including the park, recreation, fitness, and sport (PRFS) sector.

Purpose:

In this white paper, we discuss the potential of the PRFS sector in addressing America’s physical inactivity. Specifically, we provide a brief description, history, and scope of the PRFS sector; present evidence concerning linkages between this sector and physical activity; and discuss existing challenges and emerging opportunities for promoting physical activity. We conclude by suggesting PRFS recommendations to promote physical activity based on anticipated effectiveness, reach, scope, and sustainability.

Methods:

Academic articles, professional reports, and physical activity plans were reviewed to summarize the evidence concerning PRFS sector strategies for increasing physical activity. Recommendations: Based on our review, we propose several sector-specific proximity, place, program, partnership, promotion, people, policy, and performance indicator recommendations for improving physical activity in the United States.