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I-Min Lee, Eric J. Shiroma, Kelly R. Evenson, Masamitsu Kamada, Andrea Z. LaCroix and Julie E. Buring

-assessed physical activity and sedentary behavior in a large cohort of women participating in the Women’s Health Study, who are being followed longitudinally for long-term health outcomes. In this article, we describe the methodology for accelerometer data collection and reduction, as well as expand on previously

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Jacqueline Kerr, Greg Norman, Rachel Millstein, Marc A. Adams, Cindy Morgan, Robert D. Langer and Matthew Allison

Background:

Few studies of older adults have compared environmental correlates of walking and physical activity in women who may be more influenced by the environment. Environmental measures at different spatial levels have seldom been compared. Findings from previous studies are generally inconsistent.

Methods:

This study investigated the relationship between the built environment and physical activity in older women from the Women’s Health Initiative cohort in San Diego County (N = 5401). Built environment measures were created for 3 buffers around participants’ residential address. Linear regression analyses investigated the relationship between the built environment features and self-reported physical activity and walking.

Results:

Total walking was significantly positively associated with the walkability index (β = .050: half-mile buffer), recreation facility density (β = .036: 1-mile buffer), and distance to the coast (β = –.064; P-values < .05). Total physical activity was significantly negatively associated with distance to the coast and positively with recreation facility density (β = .036: 1-mile buffer; P < .05).

Conclusions:

Although effect sizes were small, we did find important relationships between walkability and walking in older adults, which supports recommendations for community design features to include age friendly elements. More intense physical activity may occur in recreational settings than neighborhood streets.

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Wendy J. Brown and Toby Pavey

The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) commenced in Australia in 1996 when researchers recruited approximately 40,000 women in three birth cohorts: 1973–1978, 1946–1951, and 1921–1926. Since then participants have completed surveys on a wide range of health issues, at approximately three-year intervals. This overview describes changes in physical activity (PA) over time in the mid-age and older ALSWH cohorts, and summarizes the findings of studies published to date on the determinants of PA, and its associated health outcomes in Australian women. The ALSWH data show a significant increase in PA during mid-age, and a rapid decline in activity levels when women are in their 80s. The study has demonstrated the importance of life stages and key life events as determinants of activity, the additional benefits of vigorous activity for mid-age women, and the health benefits of ‘only walking’ for older women. ALSWH researchers have also drawn attention to the benefits of activity in terms of a wide range of physical and mental health outcomes, as well as overall vitality and well-being. The data indicate that maintaining a high level of PA throughout mid and older age will not only reduce the risk of premature death, but also significantly extend the number of years of healthy life.

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Rochelle Eime, Jack Harvey and Warren Payne

Background:

To examine the dose-response relationship between health related quality of life (HRQoL) and life satisfaction (outcomes) and duration of recreational physical activity (exposure). Further, to explore whether these relationships depend on type of physical activity (PA).

Methods:

793 Australian rural-living women self-reported on duration of recreational PA; HRQoL via SF-36 Mental Component Summary (MCS) and Physical Component Summary (PCS); and a life satisfaction scale. ANOVAs and ANCOVAs investigated differences in outcomes (MCS, PCS, and life satisfaction) between tertiles of exposure to recreational PA, and types of PA (club sport, gymnasium, walking), with adjustment for potential confounders.

Results:

A significant positive dose-response relationship was found between PCS and level of PA. Furthermore, this relationship depended on type of PA, with club-sport participants recording higher PCS than non-club-sport participants in all but the highest tertile of exposure. Life satisfaction and MCS were not significantly related to level of PA.

Conclusion:

Physical health was positively associated with level of recreational PA, with club sport participation contributing greater benefits at low to moderate exposures than participation in gymnasium or walking activities.

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Colleen English

-meter race, within a broader American cultural milieu about women’s health and sport, demonstrates how the media and sport governing bodies intersect with ideologies of femininity. In particular, the 800-meter race highlights a tension between progressive American ideologies about equality and liberty

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Carolina Coll, Marlos Domingues, Iná Santos, Alicia Matijasevich, Bernardo Lessa Horta and Pedro C. Hallal

Background:

The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and its correlates from prepregnancy to the postpartum period in mothers enrolled in a Brazilian birth cohort study. Our hypothesis was that LTPA would decline considerably during pregnancy.

Methods:

Maternal LTPA in the 3 months before pregnancy and during each trimester of pregnancy was assessed soon after delivery. A follow-up visit was conducted 3 months later. Weekly frequency and duration of each session of LTPA in a typical week were assessed for each period and a cut-off point of 150 minutes per week was used to classify women as active or not.

Results:

The proportion of women active in leisure time declined from 11.3% in the prepregnancy to 2.3% in pregnancy and 0.1% in the postpartum period (P for trend <0.001). When considering any LTPA practice, the decline ranged from 15.4% to 4.4% and 7.5% (p for trend <0.001), respectively. Higher income, higher education and lower parity were the main predictors of LTPA practice.

Conclusions:

LTPA declined considerably during pregnancy and did not return to prepregnancy levels at 3 months postpartum. Mothers must be advised on the benefits of LTPA prepregnancy, during, and postpregnancy.

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Cristina Caperchoine, William K. Mummery and Kelly Joyner

Background:

The Women’s Active Living Kits (WALK) Pilot Program was an Australian federal government initiative designed to identify an effective model for extending physical activity participation in government identified priority women’s groups. The purpose of this study is to address the barriers and challenges to physical activity participation in selected priority women’s groups and present possible strategies to assist with engaging these groups in physical activity.

Methods:

Ten focus group evaluation sessions were undertaken with priority women’s groups who took part in the WALK program. Participants were encouraged to share their opinions, perceptions and beliefs regarding their physical activity behaviors, in a semistructured, open table discussion.

Results:

Participants reported a number of psychological and cognitive, sociocultural, and environmental factors which restricted their participation in physical activity. Participants also highlighted strategies they felt would enable physical activity participation.

Conclusions:

These findings are valuable and should be used as a platform to inform the design and implementation of future physical activity interventions for priority women’s groups.

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Jo-Ann V. Sawatzky and Barbara J. Naimark

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women. The purpose of this study was to explore the relationship between physical activity and other determinants of cardiovascular health in aging women from a health-promotion perspective. Participants (N = 206) completed a cardiovascular health-promotion profile, and various physical measures were recorded. The findings suggest that physically active aging women, especially those who exercise regularly or vigorously, have healthier cardiovascular profiles than do their less active counterparts. They were more likely to be members of a health and fitness facility, to be younger, and have higher socioeconomic status. Their diets were healthier, and their perception of their health status was more positive. Physical measures of cardiovascular health also decreased with increased levels of activity (p < .05). These findings validate physical activity promotion as an effective strategy to ameliorate the cardiovascular health profile of aging women. The study also lends support for population-based cardiovascular health-promotion strategies.

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Lynette L. Craft, Frank M. Perna, Karen M. Freund and Larry Culpepper

Background:

Exercise effectively reduces symptoms of depression. However, correlates of regular exercise in depressed women are unknown. This study assessed psychosocial determinants of exercise in a sample of women with depressive symptoms.

Methods:

Sixty-one women completed demographic, depression, and exercise-related questionnaires.

Results:

The average Primary Health Ques-tionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) depression score was 12.1 (SD = 5.0), indicating moderate depressive symptoms. In the previous week, the women reported 12.8 metabolic equivalents (METs) of exercise. Low levels of self-efficacy and social support for exercise were also reported. Depressive symptoms were positively associated with barriers to exercise (r = .35, P < .01), and barriers were inversely related to exercise METs (r = –.37, P < .05). Barriers to activity and education level were significant determinants of exercise.

Conclusions:

Women with depressive symptoms report minimal exercise involvement, numerous barriers to exercise, and low exercise self-efficacy and social support for exercise.

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Catherine M. Sabiston, Jennifer Brunet, Kent C. Kowalski, Philip M. Wilson, Diane E. Mack and Peter R. E. Crocker

The purpose of this study was to test a model where body-related self-conscious emotions of shame, guilt, and pride were associated with physical activity regulations and behavior. Adult women (N = 389; M age = 29.82, SD = 15.20 years) completed a questionnaire assessing body-related pride, shame, and guilt, motivational regulations, and leisure-time physical activity. The hypothesized measurement and structural models were deemed adequate, as was a revised model examining shame-free guilt and guilt-free shame. In the revised structural model, body-related pride was positively significantly related to identified and intrinsic regulations. Body-related shame-free guilt was significantly associated with external, introjected, and identified regulations. Body-related guilt-free shame was significantly positively related to external and introjected regulation, and negatively associated with intrinsic regulation. Identified and intrinsic regulations were significantly positively related to physical activity (R 2 = .62). These findings highlight the importance of targeting and understanding the realm of body-related self-conscious emotions and the associated links to regulations and physical activity behavior.