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Susana Vale, Rute Santos, Pedro Silva, Luísa Soares-Miranda and Jorge Mota

The purpose of this study was twofold: first to document the gender differences in Moderate to Vigorous Physical Activity (MVPA) according to two epoch systems (5 vs. 60 s) in preschoolers, and, second to document the differences in physical activity (PA) patterns according to two different epoch choices. The sample comprised 59 preschoolers (31 girls) aged 2–5 years old. PA was assessed by accelerometer during school hours. The time spent in MVPA was significantly higher (p < .001) when a 5-s epoch was considered compared to the 60-s epoch, regardless gender. Further, it was found a difference of ?17 min difference between the 2 epoch systems for MVPA. Different epoch times might affect the time spent in MVPA among preschool children.

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Genevieve Dunton, Vicki J. Ebin, Merav W. Efrat, Rafael Efrat, Christianne J. Lane and Scott Plunkett

Objective:

The current study investigates the extent to which a refundable tax credit could be used to increase low-income children’s after-school physical activity levels.

Methods:

An experimental study was conducted evaluating the effectiveness of an intervention offering a simulated refundable tax credit to parents of elementary-school-age children (n = 130) for enrollment in after-school physical activity programs. A randomized controlled design was used, with data collected at baseline, immediately following the 4-month intervention (postintervention), and 6 weeks after the end of the intervention (follow-up). Evaluation measures included (1) enrollment rate, time spent, weekly participation frequency, duration of enrollment, and long-term enrollment patterns in after-school physical activity programs and (2) moderate to vigorous physical activity.

Results:

The simulated tax credits did not significantly influence low-income children’s rates of enrollment in after-school physical activity programs, frequency of participation, time spent in after-school physical activity programs, and overall moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity at postintervention or follow-up.

Conclusion:

The use of refundable tax credits as incentives to increase participation in after-school physical activity programs in low-income families may have limited effectiveness. Lawmakers might consider other methods of fiscal policy to promote physical activity such as direct payment to after-school physical activity program providers for enrolling and serving a low-income child in a qualified program, or improvements to programming and infrastructure.

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Salomé Aubert, Joel D. Barnes, Nicolas Aguilar-Farias, Greet Cardon, Chen-Kang Chang, Christine Delisle Nyström, Yolanda Demetriou, Lowri Edwards, Arunas Emeljanovas, Aleš Gába, Wendy Y. Huang, Izzeldin A.E. Ibrahim, Jaak Jürimäe, Peter T. Katzmarzyk, Agata Korcz, Yeon Soo Kim, Eun-Young Lee, Marie Löf, Tom Loney, Shawnda A. Morrison, Jorge Mota, John J. Reilly, Blanca Roman-Viñas, Natasha Schranz, John Scriven, Jan Seghers, Thomas Skovgaard, Melody Smith, Martyn Standage, Gregor Starc, Gareth Stratton, Tim Takken, Tuija Tammelin, Chiaki Tanaka, David Thivel, Richard Tyler, Alun Williams, Stephen H.S. Wong, Paweł Zembura and Mark S. Tremblay

Background: To better understand the childhood physical inactivity crisis, Report Cards on physical activity of children and youth were prepared concurrently in 30 very high Human Development Index countries. The aim of this article was to present, describe, and compare the findings from these Report Cards. Methods: The Report Cards were developed using a harmonized process for data gathering, assessing, and assigning grades to 10 common physical activity indicators. Descriptive statistics were calculated after converting letter grades to interval variables, and correlational analyses between the 10 common indicators were performed using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficients. Results: A matrix of 300 grades was obtained with substantial variations within and between countries. Low grades were observed for behavioral indicators, and higher grades were observed for sources of influence indicators, indicating a disconnect between supports and desired behaviors. Conclusion: This analysis summarizes the level and context of the physical activity of children and youth among very high Human Development Index countries, and provides additional evidence that the situation regarding physical activity in children and youth is very concerning. Unless a major shift to a more active lifestyle happens soon, a high rate of noncommunicable diseases can be anticipated when this generation of children reaches adulthood.

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John B. Bartholomew

Numerous interventions have been designed to modify children's physical activity and eating behaviors. While early research centered on the individual as the target of intervention, more recent work targets change in the environment. These studies have consistently supported the importance of environmental contributors to both physical activity and eating behavior, but little research has considered those who are responsible for implementing environmental change. For example, if we expect school environments to support activity and healthy eating, we must consider the motivation of school administrators to affect change. This review will present examples of an ecological approach to behavior change along with recent data to support this approach.

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Constantinos A. Loucaides, Sue M. Chedzoy, Neville Bennett and Karen Walshe

This study examined the association between self-reported physical activity and a number of potential correlates in a sample of 256 Grade-6 children. Physical activity was assessed in both summer and winter, and children and parents completed questionnaires assessing potential correlates of physical activity. Analyses revealed that gender, time spent playing outside, self-efficacy in overcoming barriers, and number of items of exercise equipment at home were variables associated with physical activity in both seasons. School location was a variable associated with physical activity only in the summer, whereas private-lesson attendance, sports-club attendance, and best friend’s physical activity were variables associated with physical activity only in winter. Variance explained in physical activity were 42% and 51% in winter and summer, respectively.

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Mark S. Tremblay, J. Wyatt Inman and J. Douglas Willms

This study examined the relationships between children’s reported levels of physical activity, body-mass index, self-esteem, and reading and mathematics scores, while controlling for sex, family structure, and socioeconomic status. The data were collected from the full population of Grade 6 students (N = 6,923) in New Brunswick (NB), Canada in 1996, as part of the Elementary School Climate Study, and the NB Department of Education’s Grade 6 Assessment. Physical activity had a negative relationship with body-mass index. Physical activity had a positive relationship with self-esteem, and a trivial negative relationship with academic achievement. The analysis revealed that both females and males who were more physically active had considerably higher levels of self-esteem. The study suggests that the relationship between physical activity and academic achievement is weak. For some children, physical activity may be indirectly related to enhanced academic performance by improving physical health and self-esteem.

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Stephanie Truelove, Leigh M. Vanderloo and Patricia Tucker

Background:

Many young children are not meeting the Canadian physical activity guidelines. In an effort to change this, the term active play has been used to promote increased physical activity levels. Among young children, physical activity is typically achieved in the form of active play behavior. The current study aimed to review and synthesize the literature to identify key concepts used to define and describe active play among young children. A secondary objective was to explore the various methods adopted for measuring active play.

Methods:

A systematic review was conducted by searching seven online databases for English-language, original research or reports, and were eligible for inclusion if they defined or measured active play among young children (ie, 2 to 6 years).

Results:

Nine studies provided a definition or description of active play, six measured active play, and 13 included both outcomes. While variability in active play definitions did exist, common themes included: increased energy exerted, rough and tumble, gross motor movement, unstructured, freely chosen, and fun. Alternatively, many researchers described active play as physical activity (n = 13) and the majority of studies used a questionnaire (n = 16) to assess active play among young children.

Conclusion:

Much variability in the types of active play, methods of assessing active play, and locations where active play can transpire were noted in this review. As such, an accepted and consistent definition is necessary, which we provide herein.

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Norma Olvera, Dennis W. Smith, Chanam Lee, Jian Liu, Jay Lee, Jun-Hyun Kim and Stephanie F. Kellam

Background:

Parents represent a key ecological component in influencing their child’s physical activity. The aim of this exploratory study was to assess the relationship between maternal acculturation and physical activity in Hispanic children.

Methods:

102 Hispanic mothers (mean age 36.2 yrs; +SD 7.3 yrs) and their children (mean age 10.0 yrs, +SD 0.8 yrs) participated. Most of the mothers (74%) were foreign-born, with 62% classified as low acculturated and 38% high acculturated. Demographic, acculturation, and anthropometric measures were completed by mothers and children. Physical activity was measured using accelerometers. Relationships between maternal acculturation and demographic variables and children’s physical activity were examined using chi-square, Analysis of Variance, and simple regression.

Results:

Children had higher physical activity levels than their mothers (t(49) = −7.87, P < .0001). Significant correlations between maternal and child’s physical activity levels were observed in moderate (r 2 = 0.13, P = .001), vigorous (r 2 = 0.08, P = .05), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (r 2 = 0.17, P = .002). Low acculturated mothers were more likely to have active children compared with high acculturated mothers. Maternal BMI and other demographic characteristics were not significantly associated with child’s physical activity.

Conclusions:

Findings from this study revealed an association among maternal acculturation, role modeling, and child’s physical activity.

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Spyridoula Vazou and Ann Smiley-Oyen

Classroom-based physical activity is a new approach aiming to improve both physical activity levels and academic achievement. This study investigated the acute effect of a 10-min bout of aerobic physical activity integrated with math practice, compared with a seated math practice, on executive function and enjoyment among normal-weight (n = 24) and overweight children (n = 11). Thirty-five typically developing prepubescent children (10.55 ± 0.74 years) completed a session of physical activity integrated with math practice and a seated math practice session in counterbalanced order. Results showed that following integrated physical activity, the response time in the Standard Flanker improved more than after seated practice. Among the overweight children, physical activity benefitted performance in the Standard Flanker by preventing the decline associated with seated practice. Children enjoyed the physical activity practice more than the seated practice. These findings suggest that integrating physical activity with academic instruction may be a realistic strategy for promoting physical activity because it may facilitate, not antagonize, executive function.

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Heather M. Hayes, Joey C. Eisenmann, Karin Pfeiffer and Joseph J. Carlson

Background:

The purpose of this study was to determine the independent and joint association of weight status and physical activity on resting blood pressure and C-reactive protein in children.

Methods:

Participants were 174 (71 males, 103 females) children (mean age = 10.5 ± 0.4 yrs). Physical activity was self-reported, body mass index was calculated from measured height and body mass, and blood pressure was measured according to standard procedures. A subset of 91 children had C-reactive protein measured by fingerstick blood sample. Four weight/physical activity groups were created by cross tabulation of weight status classification and physical activity level.

Results:

The prevalence of low physical activity (< 5 days/wk moderate-vigorous activity) did not differ between overweight and normal weight children (50%). Physical activity was not correlated with C-reactive protein (r = 0.01; P = 0.91) and C-reactive protein was not significantly different between physical activity groups (P = 0.87). Physical activity did not modify the difference in blood pressure or C-reactive protein within weight categories.

Conclusions:

Fatness (specifically overweight and obesity), but not physical activity, was shown to be associated with blood pressure and C-reactive protein levels in children. Physical activity did not attenuate blood pressure or C-reactive protein in overweight and obese children.