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Recapturing the Physical Activity Experiences of the Old: A Study of Three Women

Sandra O'Brien Cousins and Patricia A. Vertinsky

Few studies have tried to describe in detail the actual lifetime exercise experiences of very old women. In this paper, in-depth, guided life-course interviews with three women born in or before 1900 are used to shed light upon the social forces affecting the physical activities of young girls before the turn of the century. The late-life exercise patterns of these very old women appear to be rooted in very different ways to their past. However, the information gleaned from the interviews supports the early activation hypothesis that young girls at the turn of the century who were afforded opportunities and social support to develop physical skill in sport-type activities, or were physically challenged in domestic or farm labor, still appreciate and take advantage of the health-promoting aspects of exercise over 80 years later.

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The Energy Cost of Household Chores, Rollerblading, and Riding Scooters in 9- to 14-Year-Old Children

Kate Ridley and Timothy Olds


To improve the scope of the Youth Compendium of Energy Expenditures, a range of everyday activities of varying intensity should be measured. This study measures the energy cost of children undertaking common household chores, rollerblading and riding a foot-propelled scooter.


Participants were 9- to 14-year-old children. A metabolic cart was used to measure oxygen cost (VO2) of a variety of household chores. A Cosmed K4b2 portable oxygen analyzer was used to measure VO2 during rollerblading and riding a scooter at self-selected speeds. Energy costs for each participant were calculated as child METs.


Mean child MET costs for the household chores ranged from 1.3 to 3.6 METs. Rollerblading and riding a scooter yielded mean child MET costs of 6.5 and 6.3 METs respectively.


Household chores were found to be of light to moderate intensity, while rollerblading and riding a scooter were vigorous activities.

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The Place of Physical Activity in the Time Budgets of 10- to 13-Year-Old Australian Children

Tim Olds, Carol Ann Maher, and Kate Ridley


Low physical activity has been associated with increased fatness and deceased fitness. This observational study aimed to describe the magnitude, composition, and time-distribution of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in Australian children.


A total of 1132 10 to 13 year old schoolchildren completed a 24-h activity recall diary on 2 to 4 occasions. MVPA was defined as any activity requiring ≥3METs, including sport, play, active transport, chores, and other activities.


MVPA was higher in boys than girls (173 vs 140 min/day; P < .0001), higher on nonschool days than school days (166 vs 143 min/day; P < .0001), and decreased with age (9 min/day per year of age). MVPA consisted of structured sport (37%), active transport (26%), unstructured play (24%), and chores/miscellaneous activities (13%). Every hour of MVPA was associated with a reduction in screen time (26.5 min), non-screen-based sedentary pastimes (8 min), and sleep (5.5 min). The least active quartile of children were more likely to be girls (OR = 3.4), have higher screen time, and sleep more. From 4:00−6:30 PM on school days there were large differences in participation between high-active and low-active children.


Findings suggest MVPA interventions should target girls, screen time and focus on the after-school period.

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Pedometer Step Guidelines in Relation to Weight Status Among 5- to 16-Year-Old Australians

James Dollman, Tim S. Olds, Adrian Esterman, and Tim Kupke

The study aimed to establish pedometer step cut points in relation to weight status among 2,071 5–16 year old Australians. Height, weight and waist circumference were measured, and participants wore a pedometer for seven days. Pedometer values were taken as the average number of steps per day and weighted according to the ratio of weekdays to weekends. Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves were used to identify the optimal pedometer counts to predict overweight. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to compare anthropometric variables across pedometer step quintiles. The ROC model for older females was nonsignificant. Optimal cut points were 12,000 for younger males, 11,000 for older males and 10,000 for younger females. These were largely confirmed by ANCOVA. The cut points were lower than previously reported for equivalent age groups. Cultural and environmental differences may necessitate population-specific guidelines to be established.

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The Evolution of Fitness and Fatness in 10–11-Year-Old Australian Schoolchildren: Changes in Distributional Characteristics between 1985 and 1997

Jim Dollman, Tim Olds, Kevin Norton, and David Stuart

There is evidence that fitness has been declining and fatness increasing in Australian schoolchildren over the last generation. This study reproduced the methods of a national survey of Australian schoolchildren conducted in 1985. Anthropometric and performance tests were administered to 1,463 10- and ll-year-old South Australians. Compared to the 1985 sample, the 1997 children were heavier (by 1.4−2.9 kg), showed greater weight for height (by 0.13−0.30 kg · m−2.85), and were slower over 1.6 km (by 38−48.5 s). Furthermore, the distribution of values was markedly more skewed in the 1997 data. While there was little difference between the fittest and leanest quartiles in 1997 and their 1985 counterparts, the least fit and fattest quartiles were markedly worse in 1997. This suggests that the decline in fitness of Australian schoolchildren is not homogeneous and that interventions should target groups where the decline is most marked.

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Are Changes in Distance-Run Performance of Australian Children between 1985 and 1997 Explained by Changes in Fatness?

Tim Olds and Jim Dollman

The aim of this study was to determine whether changes in fitness performance could be explained by changes in body fatness. Two hundred seventy-nine 10- to 12-year-old children were tested in 1985 as part of a national survey. They were matched for age, sex, body-mass index, and triceps skin-fold thickness with 279 children from a 1997 survey. Average speeds on the 1.6 km walk/run test were compared. Children from the 1997 survey performed significantly worse than their matched peers from the 1985 survey. The decline in performance was evident for boys, girls, and all children. Matching for fatness reduced performance differences by about 61% in boys, and 37% in girls. Declines in fitness performance in this population have not been entirely due to increases in fatness.

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Gait Coordination Deteriorates in Independent Old-Old Adults

Yoav Gimmon, Hisham Rashad, Ilan Kurz, Meir Plotnik, Raziel Riemer, Ronen Debi, Amir Shapiro, and Itshak Melzer

Across all ages, walking is a fundamental physical activity. Aging is characterized by functional changes in the sensory, neurological, and musculoskeletal systems, affecting motor tasks including gait and postural balance ( Guralnik et al., 1994 ). Most of the falls among older adults occur while

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Moving Through COVID-19: Perspectives of Older Adults in the Getting Older Adults Outdoors Study

Kristina Marie Kokorelias, Jacquie Ripat, C. Allyson Jones, Nancy E. Mayo, Nancy M. Salbach, and Ruth Barclay

% of older Canadians are classified as frail ( Muscedere et al., 2016 ). Adverse outcomes associated with frailty include increased risk of falls ( Naharci & Tasci, 2020 ), functional disability and fractures ( Kennedy et al., 2014 ), and increased mortality ( Kojima et al., 2018 ). Research suggests

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Age Stratification and Sample Entropy Analysis Enhance the Limits of Stability Tests for Older Adults

Senia Smoot Reinert, Allison L. Kinney, Kurt Jackson, Wiebke Diestelkamp, and Kimberly Bigelow

, 4 – 6 , 11 , 12 While the Limits of Stability test has shown differences in performance between various clinical populations and between young and older adults, little is known about its ability to characterize differences between subgroups of older adults. As other fields of study commonly

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Why Do Older Adults Play Golf? An Evaluation of Factors Related to Golf Participation by Older Adults

Brad J. Stenner, Amber D. Mosewich, and Jonathan D. Buckley

, steadily declines as people age. Indeed, only 33% of Australians aged 55 years and older are sufficiently active, with only 6% of women and 20% of men aged 55 years and older actively playing sport ( SportAus, 2018 ). Those who play sport are likely to spend, on average, twice as long playing sport than