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Sedentary Behavior and Physical Inactivity in the Asia-Pacific Region: Challenges and Opportunities in a Century of Change

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Exercise and Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2023) | Viewed by 8168

Special Issue Editor

Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University, Tokyo 202-021, Japan
Interests: environmental influences on physical activity; determinants of healthy and active aging; sports mega events and population health behavior; environmental health

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Many adults and children across the Asia-Pacific are not sufficiently physically active to support their health. Rates of obesity, metabolic disorders, and vascular diseases are increasing in both developed and developing societies in this region, which are driven by complex interactions between inactivity, urban lifestyles, population aging, and new modalities of work and leisure. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has added to the challenge through enforced lockdowns, online work/learning, and social distancing, which have further disrupted activity opportunities. This Special Issue aims to highlight emerging research concerning the public health challenge of sedentary behavior and inactivity and elucidate strategies for intervening to improve population health. Manuscripts that are appropriate for this Special Issue should address sedentary behavior and physical inactivity/activity in Asia-Pacific nations as central issues and may consider environmental, behavioral, policy or socio-cultural determinants or interventions. An inclusive definition of the Asia-Pacific is employed in this issue, which encompasses the regions of Oceania and the Pacific, South and Southeast Asia, North-east Asia, and Central Asia. If authors have questions about the suitability of their manuscript or target population, we encourage them to contact the editor of this Special Issue.

Dr. Michael Annear
Guest Editor

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 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 2500 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

  • physical activity
  • inactivity
  • sedentary behavior
  • lifestyle diseases
  • population aging
  • pandemic
  • urban environment
  • vulnerable populations
  • physical fitness

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Editorial

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6 pages, 277 KiB  
Editorial
Sedentary Behavior and Physical Inactivity in the Asia-Pacific Region: Current Challenges and Emerging Concerns
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(15), 9351; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19159351 - 30 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1655
Abstract
This editorial sets the scene for our Special Issue on the growing problem of sedentary behavior and physical inactivity in the Asia-Pacific region. In many societies, more than 40% of the adult population and growing numbers of children are insufficiently physically active to [...] Read more.
This editorial sets the scene for our Special Issue on the growing problem of sedentary behavior and physical inactivity in the Asia-Pacific region. In many societies, more than 40% of the adult population and growing numbers of children are insufficiently physically active to safeguard their health. This is contributing to high rates of cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other deleterious health outcomes across the region. The Asia-Pacific is heterogeneous and complex, with diverse social, cultural, and environmental barriers that affect intentions and opportunities for regular physical activity. Recently, the problem has been compounded by the acceleration of population aging, the worsening effects of anthropogenic climate change, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Without strong leadership, enduring funding support, and innovative interventions that cut across policy and society, we may yet be facing a century of unmitigated expansion of morbidity across the Asia-Pacific. Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial

13 pages, 738 KiB  
Article
Habitual Physical Activity and Dietary Profiles in Older Japanese Males with Normal-Weight Obesity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(14), 6408; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20146408 - 20 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1146
Abstract
Normal-weight obesity is defined as having high body fat but a normal body mass index (BMI). This study examined whether there are differences in habitual physical activity and diet between individuals with normal-weight obesity and obese or non-obesity. This study included 143 males [...] Read more.
Normal-weight obesity is defined as having high body fat but a normal body mass index (BMI). This study examined whether there are differences in habitual physical activity and diet between individuals with normal-weight obesity and obese or non-obesity. This study included 143 males aged 65–75 years, and they were classified into the following three groups according to BMI and visceral fat area (VFA): obese group (n = 27 (BMI: ≥25 kg/m2 and VFA: ≥100 cm2)), normal-weight obese group (n = 35 (BMI: <25 kg/m2 and VFA: ≥100 cm2)) and non-obese group (n = 81 (BMI: <25 kg/m2 and VFA < 100 cm2)). Lowered high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and elevated triglyceride and alanine transaminase were observed in the normal-weight obese group than in the non-obese group (all for p ≤ 0.04, effect size ≥ 0.50). No differences were found in physical activity and dietary habits between non-obese and normal-weight obese groups (all for p > 0.05). Although impaired lipid and liver function parameters were observed in older males with normal-weight obesity compared with older males with non-obesity, physical activity and dietary profiles in themselves were not shown these differences in the present study. Full article
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12 pages, 1921 KiB  
Article
Geographical Disparity in Cardiorespiratory Fitness among 3,189,540 Japanese Children and Adolescents before and during the Coronavirus 2019 Pandemic: An Ecological Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(7), 5315; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20075315 - 29 Mar 2023
Viewed by 1177
Abstract
This ecological study aimed to use nationally representative physical fitness (PF) data to investigate the geographical disparities in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) among Japanese children across prefectures before and during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The publicly available descriptive PF data of children from [...] Read more.
This ecological study aimed to use nationally representative physical fitness (PF) data to investigate the geographical disparities in cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) among Japanese children across prefectures before and during the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. The publicly available descriptive PF data of children from Grade 5 (10–11 years; n = 1,946,437) and adolescents from Grade 8 (13–14 years; n = 1,243,103) at the prefecture level (47 prefectures) were obtained from the annual census PF survey in 2019 (before the pandemic) and 2021 (during the pandemic). The 20 m shuttle run performance was used as a measure of CRF. Geographical disparity was evaluated using the coefficient of variation (CV) for CRF across prefectures. There were significant negative relationships between the magnitude of infections (evaluated as the number of confirmed cases) and changes in CRF at the prefecture level (r ≤ −0.293, p < 0.05). This study also found a substantial increase in CVs of CRF across prefectures for Grade 8 students, suggesting that COVID-19-related restrictions had widened the geographical disparity in CRF among Japanese adolescents. Adolescents’ CRF is an important marker for current and future health; hence, the findings of widening geographical disparities in CRF are suggestive of widening geographical disparities in health among the Japanese population. Full article
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16 pages, 1823 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Physical Tests in 6–11 Years Old Children: Findings from the Play Lifestyle and Activity in Youth (PLAY) Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2023, 20(3), 2552; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph20032552 - 31 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1584
Abstract
The purpose was to evaluate selected physical tests in children and to compare the outcomes by sex. A cross-sectional study design was used to evaluate children 6–11 years who completed five physical tests: hand grip, vertical jump, sit and reach, Y-balance, and obstacle [...] Read more.
The purpose was to evaluate selected physical tests in children and to compare the outcomes by sex. A cross-sectional study design was used to evaluate children 6–11 years who completed five physical tests: hand grip, vertical jump, sit and reach, Y-balance, and obstacle course (time and score). The outcome measures including test results were descriptively examined and compared by sex. The study participants consisted of 133 children (62 males and 71 females, with a median age of 7.8 years). Girls showed superior sit and reach performance (p = 0.002) compared with boys. Boys demonstrated better Y-balance scores (p = 0.007) and faster obstacle time (p = 0.042) than girls. Sex comparison within three age groups (6–<8 years, 8–<10 years, and 10–<12 years) showed that girls performed better on the sit and reach compared with boys in the in 6–<8 years (p = 0.009). Boys demonstrated higher Y-balance scores (p = 0.017) and faster obstacle time (p = 0.007) compared with girls in the 8–<10-year age group. These data will serve to guide future efforts to evaluate normative measures of physical literacy and guide targeted training interventions to promote sustained physical activity in children with deficits relative to their age and sex norms. Full article
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11 pages, 915 KiB  
Article
Risky Play and Social Behaviors among Japanese Preschoolers: Direct Observation Method
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(13), 7889; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19137889 - 27 Jun 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1850
Abstract
While limited evidence is available, preliminary studies highlight the potential health benefits of risky play. However, most of the studies have used subjective methods (i.e., questionnaires) to evaluate children’s risky play, which limits their validity and reliability. The purpose of the present study [...] Read more.
While limited evidence is available, preliminary studies highlight the potential health benefits of risky play. However, most of the studies have used subjective methods (i.e., questionnaires) to evaluate children’s risky play, which limits their validity and reliability. The purpose of the present study was to examine the relationship between the frequency of risky play and social behavior among Japanese preschoolers by using a valid and reliable method such as direct observation. A total of 32 Japanese preschoolers (71.4 ± 3.5 months old) participated in the study, and their social behaviors were measured by the Strength and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Data regarding the frequency of risky play was collected through direct observation. Results stated that, in a non-adjusted model, there was no significant association between children’s risky play and prosocial behavior. However, the association became significant after adjusting for covariates such as gender, parental employment status, and physical activity. In contrast, there was no significant association between children’s risky play and problem behavior (hyperactivity and aggression) after adjusting for covariates. In conclusion, covariates such as parental employment should be considered when examining the benefits of risky play. Full article
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