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Koichiro Oka and Ai Shibata

Background:

Dog ownership appears to have associated health benefits as a result of increased physical activity through dog walking. This study examined the association between dog ownership and health-related physical activity among Japanese adults.

Methods:

Male and female respondents to an Internet-based cross-sectional survey were divided into the following groups: dog owner (DOG), nondog pet owner (NDOG), and nonpet owner (NPOG). Moderate and vigorous physical activity amount (MVPA), walking amount (Walking), and sedentary behavior time (SB) were estimated from the International Physical Activity Questionnaire. Analyses of covariance and logistic regression analysis were used.

Results:

The differences in MVPA, Walking, and SB were statistically significant among the three groups. DOG had a significantly greater amount of MVPA than NDOG and NPOG. DOG also had a significantly greater amount of Walking and less SB time than NPOG, and DOG was 1.5 times more likely to meet the physical activity recommendation than NDOG and NPOG.

Conclusions:

The dog owners had higher physical activity levels than owners of other kinds of pets and those without any pets, suggesting that dogs may play a major role in promoting physical activity. However, only 30% of the dog owners met the recommended criteria for physical activity.

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Don W. Morgan

A growing body of literature has confirmed the health benefits of regular physical activity in school-aged youth. However, less systematic attention has been directed toward establishing activity profiles and evaluating the impact of community-based interventions designed to increase physical activity and reduce sedentary behavior in preschool children. In this paper, current findings are reviewed to determine whether preschoolers are achieving sufficient levels of structured and unstructured physical activity and to identify potential correlates of activity and sedentary behavior in the young child. In addition, promotion of physical activity among preschool-aged children in selected community settings is discussed and future research initiatives are highlighted. Given current trends in the overweight and obesity status of children aged two to five years, efforts aimed at increasing physical activity levels and documenting gains in health-related fitness and movement skillfulness in this pediatric population should be accelerated.

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Marjo B. Rinne, Seppo I. Miilunpalo and Ari O. Heinonen

Background:

There is a lack of knowledge of the motor abilities required in different exercise modes which are needed when counseling sedentary middle-aged people to start a physically active lifestyle.

Methods:

Nominal group technique was used to establish the consensus statement concerning motor abilities and physical fitness in 31 exercise modes.

Results:

Walking, running, jogging, and calisthenics were regarded as the most suitable exercise modes for most people with no specific requirements. The most demanding exercise modes of evaluated exercise modes were roller skating, downhill skiing, and martial arts, requiring all five motor abilities. Four abilities were necessary in skating, jazz dance, and ice hockey. When exercising is target-oriented, endurance is trained evidently in 27 out of 31 and muscle strength in 22 out of 31 exercise modes.

Conclusions:

The consensus statement gives theoretical basis for the components of motor abilities and physical fitness components in different exercise modes. The statement is instructive in order to promote health-enhancing physical activity among sedentary people. This study completes the selection of the exercise modes more detailed than current PA recommendation and guidelines for public health. A variety of exercise modes with one or none motor requirements is available to start. When amount and intensity of exercise is increased the training effects can be found in most components of motor ability and physical fitness.

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Judith J. Prochaska, James F. Sallis, Donald J. Slymen and Thomas L. McKenzie

One mission of physical education (PE) is the promotion of enjoyable physical activity participation. PE enjoyment of 414 elementary school students (51% male, 77% Caucasian) was examined in a 3-year prospective study. Analyzed using Generalized Estimating Equations, PE enjoyment decreased significantly from the fourth to sixth grade (p < .001) and was lower among girls (p < .001) and students not in organized sports (p < .005). Ethnicity and body mass index were not significant predictors of PE enjoyment. Girls, older children, and those not on sports teams are especially dependent on PE as the setting for accruing health-related physical activity, and strategies are needed to enhance their PE enjoyment.

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Kathleen F. Janz and Shelby L. Francis

Although there is strong and consistent evidence that childhood and adolescent physical activity is osteogenic, the evidence concerning its sustained effects to adult bone health is not conclusive. Therefore the value of interventions, in addition to beneficial bone adaptation, could be exposure to activities children enjoy and therefore continue. As such, interventions should provide skills, pleasure, and supportive environments to ensure continued bone-strengthening physical activity with age. Until the dose-response as well as timing of physical activity to bone health is more fully understood, it is sensible to assume that physical activity is needed throughout the lifespan to improve and maintain skeletal health. Current federal guidelines for health-related physical activity, which explicitly recommend bone-strengthening physical activities for youth, should also apply to adults.

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Julie A. Sarkin, Thomas L. McKenzie and James F. Sallis

Boys are typically more physically active than girls, but schools have the potential to promote health-related physical activity for all children. This study investigated gender differences in children’s physical activity levels during physical education (PE) classes and unstructured recess periods. The activity levels of 91 fifth-grade children were assessed by accelerometer (Caltrac) on 3 days. Results indicated that children’s activity levels were low to moderately stable from day to day in both environments. Boys and girls had similar activity levels during PE, t(89) = 1.49, p = .140, but boys were significantly more active than girls during recess, t(89) = 3.27, p = .002. Girls were significantly more active during PE than they were at recess, t(51) = 2.08, p = .043. The results suggest that structured PE classes may provide similar amounts of physical activity for both genders.

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Ken Pitetti, Ruth Ann Miller and Michael Loovis

Children and adolescents with intellectual disability (ID) exhibit a mixture of cognitive, motor, and psychosocial limitation. Identifying specific inadequacies in motor proficiency in youth with ID would improve therapeutic management to enhance functional capacity and health-related physical activity. The purpose of this study was to initiate descriptive data collection of gross motor skills of youth with ID and compare those skills with competency norms. The Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (BOT-2) was used to measure 6 items for balance (BAL), 5 items for upper limb coordination (ULC), and 6 items for bilateral coordination (BLC) of 123 males (ages 8–18) with ID but without Down syndrome. The authors performed 2,840 assessments (10–32 for each item); 944, 985, and 913 for BAL, ULC, and BLC, respectively. Mean scores for all age groups for BAL, ULC, and BLC were consistently below BOT-2 criteria. Overall motor skills of males with ID are below the competence expected for children and adolescents without disabilities.

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Sandra A. Ham, Caroline A. Macera, Deborah A. Jones, Barbara E. Ainsworth and Kathleen M. Turczyn

Purpose:

To explore among demographic groups the differences in prevalence estimates of physical activity that may occur as a result of differences in survey design characteristics, including question wording, placement, and examples of activities.

Methods:

We compared responses to similar physical activity instruments administered to large samples of adults in 1999 (n = 9,775), 2000 (n = 32,374), and 1999–2000 (n = 7,529). The questions assessed participation in non-occupational physical activity at vigorous and moderate intensities. Surveys used in-person or telephone interviews.

Results:

The prevalence of recommended levels of physical activity (i.e., ≥3 days and ≥20 min vigorous activities or ≥5 days and ≥30 min moderate activities) varied 10% across 3 surveys. Although survey design characteristics varied, higher prevalence was associated with the use of examples to measure multiple domains of activity and question order.

Conclusions:

Measuring multiple domains is important for assessing health-related physical activity. These results suggest that physical activity measurement varies with question and survey design characteristics.

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Koichiro Oka and Ai Shibata

Background:

Exploring the detailed pattern and correlates of dog walking is crucial to designing effective interventions to increase the proportion of dog walkers. The current study examined the prevalence and pattern of dog walking, the association between dog walking and health-related physical activity, and the correlates of dog walking among dog owners in Japan.

Methods:

Japanese dog owners’ (n = 930) responses to an Internet-based cross-sectional survey were analyzed. A self-reported measure of physical activity, dog walking characteristics, and sociodemographic and dog-specific variables were obtained. Analyses of covariance and multivariate logistic regressions were used.

Results:

Overall, 64.4% of the surveyed dog owners walked their dogs. On an average, they walked their dogs 214.1 ± 189.5 minutes per week. The dog walkers were 3.47 times more likely to meet physical activity recommendations, were significantly less likely to be unmarried (OR = 0.61), and had higher levels of attachment with their dogs (OR = 2.32) than the nondog walkers.

Conclusion:

The findings confirmed that dog walking significantly helps dog owners meet physical activity recommendations for health and revealed that dog-specific factors such as dog attachment might be stronger correlates of dog walking than sociodemographic factors.