Special Issue "Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents"

A special issue of Children (ISSN 2227-9067).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (3 September 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Lynne M. Boddy

The Physical Activity Exchange, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: children’s physical activity and health; physical activity measurement; physical activity interventions; epidemiological studies
Guest Editor
Prof. Zoe Knowles

The Physical Activity Exchange, Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: psycho-social determinants of physical activity; benefits of natural and active play; creative and qualitative methodologies with children; design/evaluation of physical activity interventions
Guest Editor
Dr. Pedro F. Saint-Maurice

Metabolic Epidemiology Branch, Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, NIH, HHS, 9609 Medical Center Drive, Room 6E-572, Rockville, MD 20850, USA
E-Mail
Phone: +44 240-276-7615
Interests: physical activity epidemiology; measurement and evaluation of physical activity; physical fitness in youth; physical activity behaviour

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Physical activity is an important determinant of health that is associated with a range of physical and psychosocial benefits. Despite this, we know that many children and young people are inactive and spend a lot of time engaged in sedentary behaviours. Physical activity is a complex behaviour influenced by a range of factors. Furthermore, the accurate measurement of physical activity remains a major challenge to researchers in the discipline. The goal of this special edition is to provide a wide-reaching and contemporary snapshot of paediatric physical activity research. The issue will be aligned to aspects of the Behavioural Epidemiology Framework. Therefore, we are interested in articles covering topics such as the following:

  • Advances in paediatric physical activity measurement
  • Applications of physical activity measures for intervention research
  • The use of creative methodologies within intervention design and evaluation
  • Distribution of physical activity and sedentary behaviours
  • Correlates of children and adolescents’ physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour
  • The interplay between physical activity and/or sedentary behaviour and health in children
  • Evaluations of interventions, which may include effectiveness and process evaluations
  • New horizons in children’s physical activity, including policy development and commentaries

Dr. Lynne M. Boddy
Prof. Zoe Knowles
Dr. Pedro F. Saint-Maurice
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Children is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Children’s physical activity
  • Children’s sedentary behaviour
  • Behaviour change
  • Health
  • Measurement
  • Epidemiology
  • Accelerometers
  • Self-reports

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Longitudinal Changes in Sitting Patterns, Physical Activity, and Health Outcomes in Adolescents
Received: 9 November 2018 / Revised: 18 December 2018 / Accepted: 18 December 2018 / Published: 23 December 2018
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Abstract
This study examined two-year changes in patterns of activity and associations with body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) among adolescents. Inclinometers (activPAL) assessed sitting, sitting bouts, standing, stepping, and breaks from sitting. ActiGraph-accelerometers assessed sedentary time (SED), light-intensity physical activity (LIPA,
[...] Read more.
This study examined two-year changes in patterns of activity and associations with body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC) among adolescents. Inclinometers (activPAL) assessed sitting, sitting bouts, standing, stepping, and breaks from sitting. ActiGraph-accelerometers assessed sedentary time (SED), light-intensity physical activity (LIPA, stratified as low- and high-LIPA), and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Anthropometric measures were objectively assessed at baseline and self-reported at follow-up. Data from 324 and 67 participants were obtained at baseline and follow-up, respectively. Multilevel mixed-effects linear regression models examined changes over time, and associations between baseline values and BMI and WC at follow-up. There were significant increases in BMI (0.6 kg/m2) and durations of prolonged sitting (26.4 min/day) and SED (52 min/day), and significant decreases in stepping (−19 min/day), LIPA (−33 min/day), low-LIPA (−26 min/day), high-LIPA (−6.3 min/day), MVPA (−19 min/day), and the number of breaks/day (−8). High baseline sitting time was associated (p = 0.086) with higher BMI at follow-up. There were no significant associations between baseline sitting, prolonged sitting, LIPA, or MVPA with WC. Although changes in daily activity patterns were not in a favourable direction, there were no clear associations with BMI or WC. Research with larger sample sizes and more time points is needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Establishing Raw Acceleration Thresholds to Classify Sedentary and Stationary Behaviour in Children
Children 2018, 5(12), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5120172
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 December 2018 / Published: 19 December 2018
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Abstract
This study aimed to: (1) compare acceleration output between ActiGraph (AG) hip and wrist monitors and GENEActiv (GA) wrist monitors; (2) identify raw acceleration sedentary and stationary thresholds for the two brands and placements; and (3) validate the thresholds during a free-living period.
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This study aimed to: (1) compare acceleration output between ActiGraph (AG) hip and wrist monitors and GENEActiv (GA) wrist monitors; (2) identify raw acceleration sedentary and stationary thresholds for the two brands and placements; and (3) validate the thresholds during a free-living period. Twenty-seven from 9- to 10-year-old children wore AG accelerometers on the right hip, dominant- and non-dominant wrists, GA accelerometers on both wrists, and an activPAL on the thigh, while completing seven sedentary and light-intensity physical activities, followed by 10 minutes of school recess. In a subsequent study, 21 children wore AG and GA wrist monitors and activPAL for two days of free-living. The main effects of activity and brand and a significant activity × brand × placement interaction were observed (all p < 0.0001). Output from the AG hip was lower than the AG wrist monitors (both p < 0.0001). Receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves established AG sedentary thresholds of 32.6 mg for the hip, 55.6 mg and 48.1 mg for dominant and non-dominant wrists respectively. GA wrist thresholds were 56.5 mg (dominant) and 51.6 mg (non-dominant). Similar thresholds were observed for stationary behaviours. The AG non-dominant threshold came closest to achieving equivalency with activPAL during free-living. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Acceptability and Feasibility of Single-Component Primary School Physical Activity Interventions to Inform the AS:Sk Project
Children 2018, 5(12), 171; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5120171
Received: 16 November 2018 / Revised: 11 December 2018 / Accepted: 11 December 2018 / Published: 17 December 2018
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Abstract
Multi-component school-based interventions provide physical activity (PA) opportunities for children but are often difficult for schools to execute and may not be implemented as intended. The primary aim of this study was to explore the acceptability and feasibility of three brief single-component primary
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Multi-component school-based interventions provide physical activity (PA) opportunities for children but are often difficult for schools to execute and may not be implemented as intended. The primary aim of this study was to explore the acceptability and feasibility of three brief single-component primary school PA interventions targeting 9–10-year-old children. The secondary aim was to examine the effectiveness of the interventions on increasing PA levels and reducing sedentary time. The single-component interventions included active classroom breaks (AB; 3 schools; n = 119 children) Born to Move (BTM) exercise videos (2 schools; n = 50 children), and playground supervisory staff training (2 schools; n = 56 children). Qualitative data from participating children (n = 211), class teachers (n = 6), and playground supervisory staff (n = 8) explored the experiences, acceptability, and feasibility of each intervention component. Accelerometers were worn by 225 children during the last week of implementation. Teachers reported that they were able to implement ABs daily, but BTM videos were more difficult to implement daily because of accessing sufficient space. Playground staff reported difficulties in implementing activities due to children’s age and competing responsibilities on the staffs’ time. Children reported that the ABs and BTM videos were enjoyable. During half hour time windows, including the ABs and BTM videos, children engaged in 4.8 min and 8.6 min of moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA) on average, respectively. ABs and BTM videos positively affected MVPA. ABs were feasible to implement; however, teachers faced some barriers in implementing the BTM videos. Feasibility of playground interventions may be dependent on staff responsibilities and age of the children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Interactive Dyadic Physical Activity and Spatial Proximity Patterns in 2-Year-Olds and Their Parents
Children 2018, 5(12), 167; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5120167
Received: 19 November 2018 / Revised: 1 December 2018 / Accepted: 7 December 2018 / Published: 11 December 2018
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Abstract
This study aimed to characterize daily physical activity (PA) behaviors in 2-year-old girls and boys and their parents, with and without an objective measure of dyadic spatial proximity. Urban-dwelling parent–toddler dyads (N = 110) wore accelerometers for 7 days, and parents completed
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This study aimed to characterize daily physical activity (PA) behaviors in 2-year-old girls and boys and their parents, with and without an objective measure of dyadic spatial proximity. Urban-dwelling parent–toddler dyads (N = 110) wore accelerometers for 7 days, and parents completed a sociodemographic questionnaire. Accelerometers were initialized to collect PA and Bluetooth-based proximity data. After applying wear-time algorithms, n = 65 dyads were further analyzed using a dyadic analysis statistical methodology. Toddler–parent sedentary and light PA time were respectively interdependent, conditional on child sex and child-parent proximity, but moderate–vigorous physical activity (MVPA) time was not. Toddlers were significantly more active on weekdays and weekends than their parents, and no differences were found in daily PA volumes between girls and boys. In dyads with proximity data (n = 34), analyses of joint (i.e., proximal and mutual) PA time showed that girls participated in significantly more joint PA with their mothers than boys. Children who engaged in ≥60 min of MVPA/day participated in ~2 h of joint PA/day, on average, while children with <60 min of MVPA/day engaged in ~30 min less joint-PA time with their mothers. Boys and girls who participated in higher daily MVPA volumes engaged in joint PA with their mothers across greater relative distances, as compared to less active boys who engaged in joint PA at closer relative distances to their mothers. Toddlers who engaged in ≥60 min of daily MVPA participated in joint PA with their mothers at greater relative distances and for longer durations than less active children. Further research on the dyadic activity–proximity relationship is needed across early childhood development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Reproducibility of Preschool Personnel and Guardian Reports on Energy Balance-Related Behaviors and Their Correlates in Finnish Preschool Children
Children 2018, 5(11), 144; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5110144
Received: 19 September 2018 / Revised: 16 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 October 2018 / Published: 23 October 2018
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Abstract
Valid and reliable non-objective assessments of guardian and preschool personnel reports are necessary when estimating young children’s health behaviors. This study examines the test-retest reproducibility of (a) guardian and preschool personnel questionnaires about correlates of preschool-aged children’s energy balance-related behaviors (EBRBs), (b) a
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Valid and reliable non-objective assessments of guardian and preschool personnel reports are necessary when estimating young children’s health behaviors. This study examines the test-retest reproducibility of (a) guardian and preschool personnel questionnaires about correlates of preschool-aged children’s energy balance-related behaviors (EBRBs), (b) a screen time diary, and (c) a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) reported by a guardian. A sample of guardians having preschool-aged children (N = 69) and preschool personnel (N = 61) completed questionnaires twice within a five-week time interval during April–May 2018 in Finland. Intra-class correlations (ICC), kappas, and percentage agreement were calculated to test the test-retest-reproducibility. The guardian questionnaire for correlates of the children’s EBRBs demonstrated mainly moderate to good reproducibility whereas the preschool personnel questionnaire of preschool correlates for children’s EBRBs was mostly good. The reproducibility of the screen time diary was good and FFQ food items showed mostly moderate reproducibility. The reproducibility of the FFQ foods items for vegetables, fruit, and berries was slightly better for the amount consumed than for the frequency of consumption. To conclude, all the instruments are acceptable for use in future studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
Open AccessArticle Effect of Integrated Physical Activities with Mathematics on Objectively Assessed Physical Activity
Children 2018, 5(10), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5100140
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 29 September 2018 / Accepted: 4 October 2018 / Published: 11 October 2018
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Abstract
Background: One of the promising strategies for increasing physical activity (PA) at school is to integrate it with academic learning. The purposes of this study were: (a) to examine differences in objectively measured PA levels between integrated PA with mathematics and traditional lessons,
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Background: One of the promising strategies for increasing physical activity (PA) at school is to integrate it with academic learning. The purposes of this study were: (a) to examine differences in objectively measured PA levels between integrated PA with mathematics and traditional lessons, and (b) to evaluate the PA levels of different integrated PAs. Methods: Seventy-seven 4th grade students (41 males) were included in an intervention (Move for Thought program: M4T) group (n = 46) that utilized PA integrated with mathematics or a control group (n = 31). Accelerometer data from each student were collected during five complete school days. M4T and control classroom sessions were identified using teachers’ logs. Accelerometer data were extracted, processed separately, and aggregated into a single data set. Minutes and percent time at different PA intensities were obtained using accelerometer minute-by-minute predicted METs. Results: One-way ANOVAs on PA levels showed a significant group effect (F = 5.33, p < 0.05) on moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) in favor of the M4T group, but not on sedentary and light PA. The most active integrated PA provided 10.88 min of MVPA (SD = 11.87; 21.38 ± 24.38%) in a 50 min class period. Conclusion: Integrating PA with mathematics in the classroom can contribute to increasing MVPA levels in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Gender Differences within Forest Schools as a Physical Activity Intervention
Children 2018, 5(10), 138; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5100138
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 20 September 2018 / Accepted: 20 September 2018 / Published: 26 September 2018
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Abstract
This study investigated whether children engaged in more physical activity (PA) on school days that included Forest School (FS) sessions than a regular school day or a school day with a Physical Education (PE) lesson. How FS sessions influenced children’s general levels of
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This study investigated whether children engaged in more physical activity (PA) on school days that included Forest School (FS) sessions than a regular school day or a school day with a Physical Education (PE) lesson. How FS sessions influenced children’s general levels of PA and wellbeing was also explored across gender. A mixed-methods study followed a sample of 59 child participants aged 7 to 9 years old, from four primary schools, whilst taking part in twelve weekly FS sessions. Measures included the PA Questionnaire for Older Children and accelerometry data together with an individual Write and Draw task to inform focus groups. Children had significantly greater levels of light PA on a FS day and a PE school day compared to a regular school day and children reported feeling both happier and relaxed as a consequence of the intervention. From the qualitative data, boys and girls reported different likes of the FS interventions, whereas their dislikes of FS were comparable. Findings from this research provide evidence for such outdoor, nature-based learning within the school curriculum contributing to daily PA in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Wrist-Based Accelerometer Cut-Points to Identify Sedentary Time in 5–11-Year-Old Children
Children 2018, 5(10), 137; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5100137
Received: 13 August 2018 / Revised: 21 September 2018 / Accepted: 24 September 2018 / Published: 26 September 2018
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Abstract
Background: The objective of this paper is to derive a wrist-placed cut-point threshold for distinguishing sedentary behaviors from light-intensity walking using the ActiGraph GT3X+ in children. Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional study design, typically used in measurement-related studies. A sample of 167
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Background: The objective of this paper is to derive a wrist-placed cut-point threshold for distinguishing sedentary behaviors from light-intensity walking using the ActiGraph GT3X+ in children. Methods: This study employed a cross-sectional study design, typically used in measurement-related studies. A sample of 167 children, ages 5–11 years (mean ± SD: 8.0 ± 1.8 years), performed up to eight seated sedentary activities while wearing accelerometers on both wrists. Activities included: reading books, sorting cards, cutting and pasting, playing board games, eating snacks, playing with tablets, watching TV, and writing. Direct observation verified sedentary behavior from light activity. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) analyses were used to determine optimal cut-point thresholds. Quantile regression models estimated differences between dominant and non-dominant placement. Results: The optimal cut-point threshold for the non-dominant wrist was 203 counts/5 s with sensitivity, specificity, and area under the curve (AUC) of 71.56, 70.83, and 0.72, respectively. A 10-fold cross-validation revealed an average AUC of 0.70. Statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05) differences in median counts ranging from 7 to 46 counts/5 s were found between dominant and non-dominant placement in five out of eight sedentary activities, with the dominant wrist eliciting higher counts/5 s. Conclusion: Results from this study support the recommendation to place accelerometers on the non-dominant wrist to minimize “noise” during seated sedentary behaviors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of a Walking-Track Intervention to Increase Children’s Physical Activity during Primary School Break Times
Children 2018, 5(10), 135; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5100135
Received: 1 September 2018 / Revised: 18 September 2018 / Accepted: 21 September 2018 / Published: 25 September 2018
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Abstract
Despite the known benefits of engaging in daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), only 22% of children in England are meeting the recommended guidelines. School break times have been advocated as a key part of children’s daily routines in which their MVPA
[...] Read more.
Despite the known benefits of engaging in daily moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), only 22% of children in England are meeting the recommended guidelines. School break times have been advocated as a key part of children’s daily routines in which their MVPA can be increased. The main aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of installing a walking-track on children’s MVPA during school break times. A mixed method design was employed which allowed for the quantitative measurement of children’s PA at three time points (baseline, mid-intervention (1–5 weeks) and follow-up (6–9 weeks)), using pedometers (n = 81, 5–9 years) and systematic observation (n = 23, 7–9 years). A semi-structured interview (n = 1) was also conducted at 10 weeks’ follow-up. The installation of the walking-track was grounded in a unique set of theoretical constructs to aid the behaviour change of the teachers. Short term positive increases in girls’ and boys’ MVPA and longer term increases in boys’ vigorous PA (VPA) were found. Qualitative data highlighted that boys dominated the walking-track and the inconsistent behaviour of school staff negatively impacted upon children’s MVPA. A set of principles to guide the installment of walking-tracks in school playgrounds are recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle The Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Patterns of Children in Kindergarten and Grade 2
Children 2018, 5(10), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5100131
Received: 28 July 2018 / Revised: 5 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
Accompanying the transition from early to middle childhood are substantial changes in children’s educational and recreational circumstances. These changes may affect physical activity levels. This study examined levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviours in kindergarten (age range 5–6 years) and grade 2
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Accompanying the transition from early to middle childhood are substantial changes in children’s educational and recreational circumstances. These changes may affect physical activity levels. This study examined levels of physical activity and sedentary behaviours in kindergarten (age range 5–6 years) and grade 2 (age range 7–8 years). Participants were 96 kindergarten children recruited in the 2010–2011 and 2011–2012 school years and 94 grade 2 children recruited in the 2012–2013 and 2013–2014 school years. A sub-cohort of children was tracked longitudinally from kindergarten to grade 2. Accelerometers were used to measure physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Independent t-tests revealed that children in grade 2 spent significantly less time engaged in physical activity compared to those in kindergarten (292 min/day compared with 354 min/day) and more in sedentary behaviours (443 min/day compared with 368 min/day). For the longitudinal sample, the pattern was similar. Repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant decrease in physical activity levels (364 min/day to 292 min/day) and a significant increase in sedentary behaviour (368 min/day to 435 min/day) over time. There is a critical need to invest in strategies to maintain higher levels of physical activity across the primary years and reduce sedentary time, since these behaviours affect health outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
Open AccessArticle School Bag Weight as a Barrier to Active Transport to School among New Zealand Adolescents
Children 2018, 5(10), 129; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5100129
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 14 September 2018 / Accepted: 17 September 2018 / Published: 20 September 2018
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Abstract
Background: Excessive school bag weight is a barrier to active transport to school (ATS). This study examined parents’ and adolescents’ perceptions of school bag weights and actual school bag weights for adolescents in New Zealand. Methods: Parents (n = 331; 76.7% women) completed
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Background: Excessive school bag weight is a barrier to active transport to school (ATS). This study examined parents’ and adolescents’ perceptions of school bag weights and actual school bag weights for adolescents in New Zealand. Methods: Parents (n = 331; 76.7% women) completed a survey. Adolescents (n = 682; age 15.1 ± 1.4 years; 57.3% boys) completed a survey, underwent anthropometry, and had their school bags weighed. Results: Overall, 68.3% of parents perceived that adolescents’ school bags were too heavy to carry to school. This parental perception differed by adolescents’ mode of transport to school (active/motorized/combined: 35.1%/78.4%/68.8%, p < 0.001). Adolescents perceived that their school bags were too heavy to carry to walk (57.8%) or cycle (65.8%) to school. Adolescent perceptions differed by mode of transport to school (for walking (active/motorized/combined): 30.9%/69.2%/55.9% agree, p < 0.001; for cycling: 47.9%/72.8%/67.7%; p < 0.001). Actual school bag weight was, on average, 5.6 ± 2.1 kg. Relative school bag weight (% of body weight) was higher for boys and underweight adolescents compared to their counterparts. Neither absolute nor relative school bag weight differed by mode of transport to school. Conclusions: School bag weight was perceived a barrier to ATS and was a greater perceived barrier among users of motorized versus active transport. Perceptions of school bag weights should be considered in future ATS interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle The Feasibility and Acceptability of The Girls Peer Activity (G-PACT) Peer-led Mentoring Intervention
Children 2018, 5(9), 128; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5090128
Received: 7 August 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 18 September 2018 / Published: 19 September 2018
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Abstract
Enjoyment of physical activity (PA) is positively correlated with PA engagement. The inclusion of peers has been found to increase the likelihood of PA enjoyment in youth. Peer-led strategies, incorporating peer networks in the intervention delivery, is relatively underused and consequently understudied in
[...] Read more.
Enjoyment of physical activity (PA) is positively correlated with PA engagement. The inclusion of peers has been found to increase the likelihood of PA enjoyment in youth. Peer-led strategies, incorporating peer networks in the intervention delivery, is relatively underused and consequently understudied in school-based PA interventions. The purpose of this investigation was to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of the novel Girls Peer Activity (G-PACT) peer-led mentoring intervention. Two-hundred and forty-nine Year 9 adolescent girls (13–14 years old) from three mixed-sex secondary schools located in West Lancashire, North-West England were invited to participate in the G-PACT project. The study employed a novel approach by using a three-tier model, including (Tier 1) Mentors (undergraduate students), (Tier 2) Leaders (Year 9 girls selected by teachers), and (Tier 3) Peers (whole Year 9 cohort). Mentors delivered a series of educational and leadership training to the Leaders in each respective school who then disseminated this information to their Peers and encouraged them to engage in more physical activities. Eight focus groups were conducted with Leaders (n = 40), 28 focus groups with Peers (n = 185), two focus groups with Mentors (n = 6), and three interviews with teachers (n = 4). Thematic analysis was used to analyze the pooled data and identify the key themes. The study found that the G-PACT intervention was feasible and acceptable for adolescent PA Leaders and their Mentors. The relationship between Leaders and their Peers required refinement to improve the communication processes to increase Peer engagement in the G-PACT project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Youth Physical Activity Patterns During School and Out-of-School Time
Children 2018, 5(9), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5090118
Received: 23 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 27 August 2018 / Published: 30 August 2018
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Abstract
This study describes age, sex, and season patterns in children’s physical activity behaviors during discrete time periods, both in school and at home. Participants were 135 elementary, 67 middle, and 89 high-school students (128 boys and 163 girls) involved in a larger school
[...] Read more.
This study describes age, sex, and season patterns in children’s physical activity behaviors during discrete time periods, both in school and at home. Participants were 135 elementary, 67 middle, and 89 high-school students (128 boys and 163 girls) involved in a larger school activity monitoring project. We examined time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at recess, physical education (PE), lunch, commuting to/from school, before-school, after-school, evening, and weekend segments. Differences in MVPA by age, sex, and season were examined using a three-way analysis of variance and separately for each individual segment. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity levels varied by context and were higher during recess (15.4 ± 8.5 min) while at school, and on Saturdays (97.4 ± 89.5 min) when youth were out-of-school. Elementary children were more active than their older counterparts only during lunch time, after-school, and Sunday (p < 0.05). Boys were consistently more active than girls at all segments. Participants were only more active during non-winter than winter months during PE (p = 0.006), after-school (p < 0.001), and Sunday (p = 0.008) segments. These findings showed that activity levels in youth vary during the day and season. The segments reflect discrete time periods that can potentially be targeted and evaluated to promote physical activity in this population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Preliminary Efficacy and Feasibility of “Thinking While Moving in English”: A Program with Physical Activity Integrated into Primary School English Lessons
Children 2018, 5(8), 109; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5080109
Received: 25 July 2018 / Revised: 3 August 2018 / Accepted: 8 August 2018 / Published: 10 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: The physical, cognitive, and learning benefits of physical activity for children have already been established. However, many schools are failing to provide children with sufficient activity at school due to a crowded school curriculum. Physical activity interventions that integrate physical activity
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Background: The physical, cognitive, and learning benefits of physical activity for children have already been established. However, many schools are failing to provide children with sufficient activity at school due to a crowded school curriculum. Physical activity interventions that integrate physical activity with learning is a way to enhance physical and cognitive benefits without loss of academic time. This study evaluated the preliminary efficacy and feasibility of “Thinking While Moving in English”, a primary school program that integrates physical activity into English lessons. Method: Two classes of Grade 4 students (n = 55, 10–11 years old) were randomly assigned to the intervention (n = 29) or control (n = 26) conditions. The program components consisted of 3 × 40 min physically active academic lessons per week, delivered over a 4-week period. The following measures were taken at baseline and immediate post-intervention: on-task behavior, cognition (inhibition and working memory), and learning outcomes (spelling and grammar). Results: Results revealed significant improvements in on-task behavior and spelling in the intervention group, compared to the control group. There were no observed improvements in cognitive outcomes or grammar. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary evidence for the efficacy of physically active English lessons to enhance children’s educational outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
Open AccessArticle Comparison of Accelerometer-Based Cut-Points for Children’s Physical Activity: Counts vs. Steps
Children 2018, 5(8), 105; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5080105
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 29 July 2018 / Accepted: 1 August 2018 / Published: 3 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: Accelerometers measure complex movements of children’s free play moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), including step and non-step movements. Current accelerometer technology has introduced algorithms to measure steps, along with counts. Precise interpretation of accelerometer-based cadence (steps/min) cut-points is necessary for accurately measuring and
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Background: Accelerometers measure complex movements of children’s free play moderate-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), including step and non-step movements. Current accelerometer technology has introduced algorithms to measure steps, along with counts. Precise interpretation of accelerometer-based cadence (steps/min) cut-points is necessary for accurately measuring and tracking children’s MVPA. The purpose of this study was to assess the relationships and agreement between accelerometer-based cut-points (cadence and counts/min) to estimate children’s MVPA compared to measured values. Methods: Forty children (8–12 years; 25 boys) played 6–10 games while wearing a portable metabolic analyzer and GT3X+ to measure and estimate MVPA, respectively. Correlation, kappa, sensitivity, and specificity assessed the relationships and agreement between measured and estimated MVPA. Results: Games elicited, on average, 6.3 ± 1.6 METs, 64.5 ± 24.7 steps/min, and 3318 ± 1262 vertical (V) and 5350 ± 1547 vector-magnitude (VM) counts/min. The relationship between measured and estimated MVPA intensity was higher for cadence (r = 0.50) than V and VM counts/min (r = 0.38 for both). Agreement using V and VM counts/min for measuring PA intensity varied by cut-points (range: 6.8% (κ = −0.02) to 97.6% (κ = 0.49)), while agreement was low using cadence cut-points (range: 4.0% (κ = 0.0009) to 11.3% (κ = 0.001)). Conclusion: While measured and estimated values were well correlated, using cadence tended to misclassify children’s free-play MVPA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Regional Variations in Physical Fitness and Activity in Healthy and Overweight Ecuadorian Adolescents
Children 2018, 5(8), 104; https://doi.org/10.3390/children5080104
Received: 28 June 2018 / Revised: 31 July 2018 / Accepted: 31 July 2018 / Published: 2 August 2018
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Abstract
Background: Insufficient physical activity (PA) and excessive sedentary behavior (SB) are the main contributors to adolescent obesity. However, it is uncertain whether recent economic growth and urbanization in Ecuador are contributing to an obesogenic environment. This study assessed the relationships among fitness, PA,
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Background: Insufficient physical activity (PA) and excessive sedentary behavior (SB) are the main contributors to adolescent obesity. However, it is uncertain whether recent economic growth and urbanization in Ecuador are contributing to an obesogenic environment. This study assessed the relationships among fitness, PA, SB, and perceived social support for PA in adolescents from urban (Quito) and rural (Loja) Ecuador. Methods: Fitness was estimated using 3-min step test and PA and SB participation and social support for PA were self-reported in 407 adolescents. T-tests and analysis of variance assessed differences by sex, obesity status, and region of Ecuador. Pearson correlations assessed relationships among PA, SB, fitness, and social support. Results: Males and rural adolescents (48.3 ± 9.4 and 47.1 ± 9.6 mL/kg/min) were more fit than females and urban adolescents (41.1 ± 7.5 and 39.7 ± 6.1 mL/kg/min). Fitness was negatively correlated with obesity only in rural Ecuador. Few adolescents reported ≥60 min/day of PA (8.4%) or ≤2 h/day of SB (30.2%), with greater SB participation in rural Ecuador. Weak correlations were observed among fitness, PA, SB, and parental/peer support for PA (r = −0.18 to 0.19; p < 0.05). Conclusion: While fitness varied by sex, weight status, and region, SB participation and parent/peer support for PA, not PA participation itself, predicted fitness in rural Ecuadorean adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle Self-Reported Physical Activity is Not a Valid Method for Measuring Physical Activity in 15-Year-Old South African Boys and Girls
Received: 27 February 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 1 June 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
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Abstract
Physical activity plays an important role in the prevention of chronic lifestyle-related diseases. The development of valid instruments for the assessment of physical activity remains a challenge in field studies. The purpose of the present study was therefore to determine the level of
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Physical activity plays an important role in the prevention of chronic lifestyle-related diseases. The development of valid instruments for the assessment of physical activity remains a challenge in field studies. The purpose of the present study was therefore to determine the level of agreement between physical activity objectively measured by the ActiHeart® (Cambridge Neurotechnology Ltd, Cambridge, UK) device and subjectively reported physical activity by means of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form (IPAQ-SF) among adolescents attending schools in the Tlokwe Local Municipality, South Africa. A cross-sectional study design was used with a total of 63 boys and 45 girls aged 15 years who took part in the Physical Activity and Health Longitudinal Study (PHALS). Stature and weight were measured according to standard International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK) protocols. Objective physical activity (PA) was measured by a combined heart rate and accelerometer device (ActiHeart®) for seven consecutive days. Time spent in moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) was assessed. Subjective physical activity was assessed with the self-reported IPAQ-SF. Objective PA indicated that 93% of the participants were inactive and only 6% were highly active. The IPAQ-SF showed that 24% were inactive, with 57% active. A non-significant correlation (r = 0.11; p = 0.29) between the ActiHeart® measure of activity energy expenditure (AEE) and total physical activity (IPAQ-SF) was observed. The Bland–Altman plot showed no agreement between the two measurement instruments and also a variation in the level of equivalence. When Cohen’s kappa (κ) was run to determine the agreement between the two measurement instruments for estimated physical activity, a poor agreement (κ = 0.011, p < 0.005) between the two was found. The poor level of agreement between the objective measure of physical activity (ActiHeart®) and the IPAQ-SF questionnaire should be interpreted cautiously. Future physical activity research using a combination of subjective and objective assessment methods in a large-scale cohort in adolescents is recommended. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Open AccessArticle The Feasibility of a Novel School Peer-Led Mentoring Model to Improve the Physical Activity Levels and Sedentary Time of Adolescent Girls: The Girls Peer Activity (G-PACT) Project
Received: 27 April 2018 / Revised: 27 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 31 May 2018
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Abstract
Regular physical activity (PA) is associated with numerous physical and psychological health benefits. Adolescents, specifically girls, are at risk of physical inactivity. To date, there is limited research on PA interventions involving peers, which could encourage more adolescent girls to engage in PA.
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Regular physical activity (PA) is associated with numerous physical and psychological health benefits. Adolescents, specifically girls, are at risk of physical inactivity. To date, there is limited research on PA interventions involving peers, which could encourage more adolescent girls to engage in PA. The investigation aimed to evaluate the feasibility of a novel school three-tier peer-led mentoring model designed to improve PA levels and reduce sedentary time (ST) of adolescent girls. Two-hundred and forty-nine Year 9 adolescent girls (13–15 years old) from three UK secondary schools were invited to participate in a peer-led mentoring intervention (Girls Peer Activity (G-PACT) project). The peer-led mentoring model was delivered in all three schools. Two of the schools received an additional after-school PA component. PA and ST were assessed through wrist-worn accelerometry. Girls who received an exercise class after-school component significantly increased their whole day moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA) (3.2 min, p = 0.009, d = 0.33). Girls who received no after-school component significantly decreased their MVPA (3.5 min, p = 0.016, d = 0.36) and increased their ST (17.2 min, p = 0.006, d = 0.43). The G-PACT intervention demonstrated feasibility of recruitment and data collection procedures for adolescent girls. The peer-led mentoring model shows promise for impacting girls’ MVPA levels when combined with an after-school club PA opportunity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Review of Short-Form Questions for the Evaluation of a Diet, Physical Activity, and Sedentary Behaviour Intervention in a Community Program Targeting Vulnerable Australian Children
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 28 June 2018 / Accepted: 2 July 2018 / Published: 13 July 2018
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Abstract
Childhood obesity is associated with low socioeconomic status in developed countries, and community programs can deliver cost-effective obesity interventions to vulnerable children and adolescents at scale. Evaluating these programs in a low-cost, time-efficient, and culturally appropriate way with valid and reliable measures is
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Childhood obesity is associated with low socioeconomic status in developed countries, and community programs can deliver cost-effective obesity interventions to vulnerable children and adolescents at scale. Evaluating these programs in a low-cost, time-efficient, and culturally appropriate way with valid and reliable measures is essential to determining their effectiveness. We aimed to identify existing valid and reliable short-form instruments (≤50 items for diet, ≤15 items for physical activity) suitable for the assessment of change in diet, physical activity, and sedentary behaviour in an Australian obesity intervention program for children and adolescents aged 7–13 years from low socioeconomic groups, with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Relevant electronic databases were searched, with a focus on Australian literature. Validity and/or reliability studies using diet instruments (5), physical activity/sedentary behaviour instruments (12), and diet and physical activity/sedentary behaviour instruments used with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (3) children were identified. Seven questions on diet, one question on physical activity, and no questions on sedentary behaviour were recommended. These questions can be used for evaluation in community-based obesity programs among Australian children and adolescents, including those from low socioeconomic groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour in Children and Adolescents)
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