The purpose of this article is to examine the role of school-based extracurricular initiatives in facilitating immediate and long-term positive impact on physical activity, healthy behavior, and obesity in children. A critique of the role of various sports-related initiatives that have been developed to address the obesity epidemic currently facing children within the United States is provided, with a specific emphasis on intramural sports as a preferred mechanism to encourage long-term involvement in sport and physically active pursuits. The article presents support for the notion that a physical education curriculum that includes intramurals before, during, and after school can help children learn the skills to enjoy participation in a variety of sports designed to facilitate lifelong active living.
Jason Bocarro, Michael A. Kanters, Jonathan Casper and Scott Forrester
Yang Liu and Senlin Chen
and fitness ( Society for Health and Physical Educators [SHAPE America], 2014 ). To promote physical activity and fitness in youth, PE curricula should maintain a focus on teaching students’ essential knowledge and fostering behaviors toward active living ( Chen & Gu, 2018b ). A solid knowledge base
Opal Vanessa Buchthal, Nicole Taniguchi, Livia Iskandar and Jay Maddock
Physical inactivity is a growing problem in the United States, one that is being addressed through the development of active living communities. However, active living promotion requires collaboration among organizations that may not have previously shared goals.
A network analysis was conducted to assess Hawaii’s active living promotion network. Twenty-six organizations playing a significant role in promoting active living in Hawaii were identified and surveyed about their frequency of contact, level of collaboration, and funding flow with other agencies.
A communication network was identified linking all agencies. This network had many long pathways, impeding information flow. The Department of Health (DOH) and the State Nutrition and Physical Activity Coalition (NPAC) were central nodes, but DOH connected state agencies while NPAC linked county and voluntary organizations. Within the network, information sharing was common, but collaboration and formal partnership were low. Linkages between county and state agencies, between counties, and between state agencies with different core agendas were particularly low.
Results suggest that in the early stages of development, active living networks may be divided by geography and core missions, requiring work to bridge these divides. Network mapping appears helpful in identifying areas for network development.
Andrea Nathan, Lisa Wood and Billie Giles-Corti
This study explored individual, social, and built environmental attributes in and outside of the retirement village setting and associations with various active living outcomes including objectively measured physical activity, specific walking behaviors, and social participation. Residents in Perth, Australia (N = 323), were surveyed on environmental perceptions of the village and surrounding neighborhood, self-reported physical activity, and demographic characteristics and wore accelerometers. Managers (N = 32) were surveyed on village characteristics, and objective neighborhood measures were generated in a Geographic Information System (GIS). Results indicated that built- and social-environmental attributes within and outside of retirement villages were associated with active living among residents; however, salient attributes varied depending on the specific outcome considered. Findings suggest that locating villages close to destinations is important for walking and that locating them close to previous and familiar neighborhoods is important for social participation. Further understanding and consideration into retirement village designs that promote both walking and social participation are needed.
Leigh F. Callahan, Rebecca J. Cleveland, Jack Shreffler, Jennifer M. Hootman, Thelma J. Mielenz, Britta Schoster, Teresa Brady and Todd Schwartz
Adults with arthritis can benefit from participation in physical activity and may be assisted by organized programs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a 20-week behavioral lifestyle intervention, Active Living Every Day (ALED), for improvements in primary outcomes (physical activity levels, aerobic endurance, function, symptoms).
A 20-week randomized controlled community trial was conducted in 354 adults. Outcomes were assessed at baseline and 20 weeks in the intervention and wait-list control groups. The intervention group was also assessed at 6 and 12 months. Mean outcomes were determined by multilevel regression models in the intervention and control groups at follow-up points.
At 20 weeks, the intervention group significantly increased participation in physical activity, and improved aerobic endurance, and select measures of function while pain, fatigue and stiffness remained status quo. In the intervention group, significant improvements in physical activity at 20 weeks were maintained at 6 and 12 months, and stiffness decreased.
ALED appears to improve participation in physical activity, aerobic endurance, and function without exacerbating disease symptoms in adults with arthritis.
Jamie E. L. Spinney and Hugh Millward
This research uses four nationally representative samples of time diary data, spanning almost 30 yr, that are fused with energy expenditure information to enumerate the median daily duration of moderate or vigorous-effort activity, quantify the prevalence of Canadians age 65 yr and older who are meeting recommended daily levels of physical activity, and explore the factors affecting rates of active living. Results indicate that 41.1% of older Canadians met recommended levels of physical activity in 1992, 40.6% in 1998, 43.5% in 2005, and 39.6% in 2010. Both rates of active living and daily duration of aerobic activity exhibit significant differences among sociodemographic groups, with age, sex, activity limitation, urban-rural, and season exhibiting the most significant influences. This study illustrates the potential for time diary data to provide detailed surveillance of physical activity patterns, active aging research, and program development, as well.
M. Renée Umstattd, Stephanie L. Baller, Erin Hennessy, David Hartley, Christina D. Economos, Raymond R. Hyatt, Anush Yousefian and Jeffrey S. Hallam
Evidence supports the role of physical and social environments in active living, including perception of environment. However, measurement of perceived environments in rural settings is lacking. This study describes the development of the Rural Active Living Perceived Environmental Support Scale (RALPESS).
Premised on social ecological and cognitive perspectives, 85 initial items were generated through a literature review and a mixed-methods investigation of “activity-friendly” environments. Items were organized by resource areas—town center, indoor and outdoor physical activity areas, schools, churches, and areas around the home/neighborhood—and submitted for expert panel review. In 2009, a revised questionnaire was disseminated to adolescents, parents, public school staff, and older adults in 2 rural southeastern United States counties. Principal component analysis with varimax rotation was used to explore factor structure (n = 542).
The final analysis yielded 33 items with 7 factors: 1) church facilities, 2) town center connectivity, 3) indoor areas, 4) around the home/neighborhood, 5) town center physical activity resources, 6) school grounds, and 7) outdoor areas.
The RALPESS is a valid, internally consistent, and practically useful instrument to measure perceptions of rural environments in the context of physical activity across the lifespan. Confirmatory factor analysis is recommended to validate factor structure.
Nina R. Sperber, Kelli D. Allen, Brenda M. DeVellis, Robert F. DeVellis, Megan A. Lewis and Leigh F. Callahan
The authors explored whether demographic and psychosocial variables predicted differences in physical activity for participants with arthritis in a trial of Active Living Every Day (ALED).
Participants (N = 280) from 17 community sites were randomized into ALED or usual care. The authors assessed participant demographic characteristics, self-efficacy, outcome expectations, pain, fatigue, and depressive symptoms at baseline and physical activity frequency at 20-wk follow-up. They conducted linear regression with interaction terms (Baseline Characteristic × Randomization Group).
Being female (p ≤ .05), less depressed (p ≤ .05), or younger (p ≤ .10) was associated with more frequent posttest physical activity for ALED participants than for those with usual care. Higher education was associated with more physical activity for both ALED and usual-care groups.
ALED was particularly effective for female, younger, and less depressed participants. Further research should determine whether modifications could produce better outcomes in other subgroups.
Meghan McGurk and Jay Maddock
Obesity and lack of physical activity are major public health problems in the United States. Well-designed, active living communities (ALCs) can help support physically active lifestyles. This study assessed attitudes of Hawaii decision makers in 2007 and 2013 to determine if priorities toward ALCs changed.
Elected and appointed state and county officials were mailed surveys both years. Respondents rated the importance of 23 specified problems, which included 1 obesity variable and 5 ALC variables.
The survey was completed by 126 (70.4%) respondents in 2007 and 117 (60.9%) in 2013. Among the specific problems, only obesity increased in rank from 14th to ninth place. Three variables fell more than 2 places: increasing traffic (fifth to seventh place), poorly planned development and sprawl (seventh to 11th place) and pedestrian safety (12th to 17th place). The other 2 stayed relatively the same: lack of pedestrian walkways, sidewalks, and crosswalks (16th to 15th place) and lack of recreational activities (22nd to 23rd place).
Across years, obesity concerns have increased but do not appear to be tied to increases in concern for ALC variables. More education for policymakers on the link between obesity, physical activity, and the built environment is necessary.
Yorghos Apostolopoulos, Mona M. Shattell, Sevil Sönmez, Robert Strack, Lauren Haldeman and Victoria Jones
As one of the most underserved segments of the U.S. labor force, truck drivers have been associated with a series of morbid conditions intimately linked to their occupational milieux, their mostly unhealthful nutritional intake and sedentary lifestyles, and their resulting excess weight-gain.
This paper reports data from a baseline assessment of 25 trucking work settings located around interstate highways I-40 and I-85 in North Carolina. It examines how the environmental attributes of these work settings influence the physical and recreational activity behaviors of truckers, compares findings with those from other occupational environments, and brings to the fore a new health promotion paradigm for trucking worksites.
Findings support growing empirical and anecdotal evidence that trucking work settings remain not only active-living deserts, but overall unhealthful places. A scan of physical, social, and information environments within trucking worksites as well as physical environments of surrounding communities reveal only meager opportunities for physical and recreational activity for truckers.
This paper places the highly underserved population of truckers firmly within the discourse of worksite health promotion, and calls for comprehensive multistakeholder wellness strategies that address a multitude of risk factors linked to the occupational context.