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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.

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Laura Garcia-Cervantes, Sara D’Haese, Rocio Izquierdo-Gomez, Carmen Padilla-Moledo, Jorge R. Fernandez-Santos, Greet Cardon and Oscar Luis Veiga

Background:

The aim was to investigate the association of (i) parental, sibling, and friend coparticipation in physical activity (PA); and (ii) independent mobility (IM) for walking, cycling, and taking public transport with objectively measured nonschool PA on week- and weekend days in different school grades.

Methods:

A total of 1376 Spanish youngsters (50.8% boys; mean age 11.96 ± 2.48 years) participated in the study. Participants reported the frequency of their parental, sibling, and best friend coparticipation in PA with them and their IM for walking, cycling, and taking public transport. PA was objectively measured by accelerometry.

Results:

Coparticipation in PA and IM were more frequently related to nonschool PA among adolescents than among children. Friend coparticipation in PA was positively associated with higher levels of nonschool PA in adolescents. IM for walking and IM for cycling in adolescents were related to nonschool PA on weekdays.

Conclusions:

Our results highlight the need for age-focused interventions and the integration of family and friends to promote PA in youth.

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Stacy A. Clemes and Stuart J.H. Biddle

Background:

Pedometers are increasingly being used to measure physical activity in children and adolescents. This review provides an overview of common measurement issues relating to their use.

Methods:

Studies addressing the following measurement issues in children/adolescents (aged 3−18 years) were included: pedometer validity and reliability, monitoring period, wear time, reactivity, and data treatment and reporting. Pedometer surveillance studies in children/adolescents (aged: 4−18 years) were also included to enable common measurement protocols to be highlighted.

Results:

In children > 5 years, pedometers provide a valid and reliable, objective measure of ambulatory activity. Further evidence is required on pedometer validity in preschool children. Across all ages, optimal monitoring frames to detect habitual activity have yet to be determined; most surveillance studies use 7 days. It is recommended that standardized wear time criteria are established for different age groups, and that wear times are reported. As activity varies between weekdays and weekend days, researchers interested in habitual activity should include both types of day in surveillance studies. There is conflicting evidence on the presence of reactivity to pedometers.

Conclusions:

Pedometers are a suitable tool to objectively assess ambulatory activity in children (> 5 years) and adolescents. This review provides recommendations to enhance the standardization of measurement protocols.

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Zoe Butcher, Stuart Fairclough, Gareth Stratton and David Richardson

This study examined whether feedback or feedback plus physical activity information could increase the number of pedometer steps taken during 1 school week. One hundred seventy-seven students (mean age 9.124 ± 1.11 years) in three elementary schools participated. Schools were randomly assigned to control (CON), feedback (FB), or feedback plus information (FB+I) groups. Children wore pedometers during school time for 5 consecutive weekdays. The total steps of the groups were recorded at the end of each school day, with students in the FB and FB+I groups free to view their step counts. In addition, the FB+I group received information and ideas about how they could increase their daily steps. The CON group received no step-count feedback or information. Students in the FB+I group achieved significantly more steps per minute (17.17 ± 4.87) than those in the FB (13.77 ± 4.06, p = 0.003) and CON (12.41 ± 3.12, p = 0.0001) groups. Information, as well as step-count feedback, increased elementary students’ school-based physical activity (number of steps) in the short term. A longer intervention period is necessary to assess the sustained impact of this type of approach.

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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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Dirk Aerenhouts, Jelle Van Cauwenberg, Jacques Remi Poortmans, Ronald Hauspie and Peter Clarys

This study aimed to estimate nitrogen balance and protein requirements in adolescent sprint athletes as a function of growth rate and physical development. Sixty adolescent sprint athletes were followed up biannually over a 2-yr period. Individual growth curves and age at peak height velocity were determined. Skeletal muscle mass (SMM) was estimated based on anthropometric measurements and fat mass was estimated by underwater densitometry. Seven-day diet and physical activity diaries were completed to estimate energy balance and protein intake. Nitrogen analysis of 24-hr urine samples collected on 1 weekday and 1 weekend day allowed calculation of nitrogen balance. Body height, weight, and SMM increased throughout the study period in both genders. Mean protein intakes were between 1.4 and 1.6 g kg−1 day−1 in both genders. A protein intake of 1.46 g kg−1 day−1 in girls and 1.35 g kg−1 day−1 in boys was needed to yield a positive nitrogen balance. This did not differ between participants during and after their growth spurt. None of the growth parameters was significantly related to nitrogen balance. It can be concluded that a mean protein intake around 1.5 g kg−1 day−1 was sufficient to stay in a positive nitrogen balance, even during periods of peak growth. Therefore, protein intake should not be enhanced in peak periods of linear or muscular growth.

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Jannique G. Z. van Uffelen, Kristiann C. Heesch and Wendy Brown

Background:

While there is emerging evidence that sedentary behavior is negatively associated with health risk, research on the correlates of sitting time in adults is scarce.

Methods:

Self-report data from 7724 women born between 1973–1978 and 8198 women born between 1946–1951 were collected as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Linear regression models were computed to examine whether demographic, family and caring duties, time use, health, and health behavior variables were associated with weekday sitting time.

Results:

Mean sitting time (SD) was 6.60 (3.32) hours/day for the 1973–1978 cohort and 5.70 (3.04) hours/day for the 1946–1951 cohort. Indicators of socioeconomic advantage, such as full-time work and skilled occupations in both cohorts and university education in the mid-age cohort, were associated with high sitting time. A cluster of ‘healthy behaviors’ was associated with lower sitting time in the mid-aged women (moderate/high physical activity levels, nonsmoking, nondrinking). For both cohorts, sitting time was highest in women in full-time work, in skilled occupations, and in those who spent the most time in passive leisure.

Conclusions:

The results suggest that, in young and mid-aged women, interventions for reducing sitting time should focus on both occupational and leisure-time sitting.

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Anders Raustorp, Peter Pagels, Cecilia Boldemann, Nilda Cosco, Margareta Söderström and Fredrika Mårtensson

Background:

It is important to understand the correlates of physical activity (PA) to influence policy and create environments that promote PA among preschool children. We compared preschoolers’ PA in Swedish and in US settings and objectively examined differences boys’ and girls’ indoor and outdoor PA regarding different intensity levels and sedentary behavior.

Methods:

Accelerometer determined PA in 50 children with mean age 52 months, (range 40–67) was recorded during preschool time for 5 consecutive weekdays at 4 sites. The children wore an Actigraph GTIM Monitor.

Results:

Raleigh preschool children, opposite to Malmö preschoolers spent significantly more time indoors than outdoors (P < .001). Significantly more moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) was observed outdoors (P < .001) in both settings. Malmö children accumulated significantly more counts/min indoors (P < .001). The percent of MVPA during outdoor time did not differ between children at Raleigh and Malmö.

Conclusion:

Physical activity counts/minutes was significantly higher outdoors vs. indoors in both Malmö and Raleigh. Malmö preschoolers spent 47% of attendance time outdoors compared with 18% for Raleigh preschoolers which could have influenced the difference in preschool activity between the 2 countries. Time spent in MVPA at preschool was very limited and predominantly adopted outdoors.

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Wendy Y. Huang, Stephen H. Wong and Gang He

This study investigated the association between a change in travel mode to school and one-year changes in physical activity (PA) among children in Hong Kong. Data from 677 children aged 7–10 years (56% boys) who participated in the Understanding Children’s Activity and Nutrition (UCAN) study were analyzed. During the 2010/11 and 2011/12 school years, the children wore an accelerometer for a week and their parents completed a questionnaire about the children’s modes of travel to school and nonschool destinations. Associations between a change in the mode of travel to school and changes in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) were determined using linear mixed models, adjusting for covariates. Compared with children who consistently used passive travel modes, a change from passive to active travel to school was positively associated with changes in the percentage of time spent in MVPA (b = 1.32, 95% CI = 0.63, 2.02) and MVPA min/day (b = 10.97, 95% CI = 5.26, 16.68) on weekdays. Similar results were found for weekly MVPA. Promoting active travel to school may help to combat age-related decline in PA for some Chinese children. However, maintaining active travel to school may not be sufficient to halt the decreasing trend in MVPA with age.

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Karen Croteau, Grant Schofield, George Towle and Vijiayarani Suresh

Background:

It is speculated that rural Kenyan children are more physically active than those in developed countries. The purpose of this study was to examine pedometer-measured physical activity levels of western Kenyan youth.

Methods:

Participants in this study were children in Levels 3 and 5 who attended a private primary school. The sample (n = 72) consisted of 43 girls and 29 boys (average age = 9.8 ± 1.1, range = 8−12 years). Age, gender, tribe, and height and weight measures were collected. Weight status category was determined according to CDC guidelines. Participants wore a sealed Yamax pedometer for 4 weekdays during the measurement period. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and 2-way ANOVA (age × gender).

Results:

The total sample averaged 14558 ± 3993 daily steps. There was no significant effect for age [F(4,68) = 1.682, P = .102] nor significant age × gender interaction [F(4,68)=1.956, P = .117]. There was a significant effect for gender [F(1,68) = 4.791, P = .033], with boys (16262 ± 4698) significantly more active than girls (13463 ± 3051).

Conclusions:

The observed daily steps are higher than those observed in the U.S., similar to samples in other developed countries, but lower than Amish youth.