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Special Issue "Emerging Technology Applications to Promote Physical Activity and Health"

A special issue of Journal of Clinical Medicine (ISSN 2077-0383). This special issue belongs to the section "Epidemiology & Public Health".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 October 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Zan Gao

Director of Physical Activity Epidemiology Laboratory,School of Kinesiology, The University of Minnesota at Twin Cities, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: physical activity epidemiology; physical activity interventions; emerging technology applications; physical activity measurement
Guest Editor
Dr. Jung Eun Lee

Department of Applied Human Sciences, The University of Minnesota at Duluth, Duluth, MN 55812, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: psychological correlates of physical activity; technology-based physical activity promotion; motor skill enhancement

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As technology becomes an ever-more prevalent part of everyday life, and population-based physical activity programs seek new ways to increase life­long engagement with physical activity, these two ideas have become increasingly linked. This Special Issue attempts to offer a thorough and critical examination of emerging technolo­gies in physical activity and health promotion, considering technological interventions in different contexts (communities, clinics, schools, homes, etc.) among various populations, exploring the challenges of integ­rating technology into physical activity promotion, and offering solutions for its implementation. This Special Issue aims to occupy a broadly positive stance toward interactive technology initiatives and, while discussing some negative implications of an increased use of technology, offers practical recommendations for promoting physical activity through various emerging technologies, including, but not limited to: Active video games (exergaming); social media; mobile device apps; health wearables; mobile games, augmented reality games, global positioning and geographic information systems; and virtual reality. Offering a logical and clear critique of emerging technologies in physical activity and health promotion, this Special Issue will provide useful suggestions and practical implications for researchers, practitioners, and educators in the fields of public health, kinesiology, physical activity and health, and healthcare.

Prof. Zan Gao
Dr. Jung Eun Lee
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • active video games
  • augmented reality games
  • exergaming
  • global positioning and geographic information systems
  • health wearables
  • mobile device apps
  • physical activity and health promotion
  • social media
  • virtual reality

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Examining Young Children’s Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviors in an Exergaming Program Using Accelerometry
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(10), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7100302
Received: 17 July 2018 / Revised: 11 September 2018 / Accepted: 23 September 2018 / Published: 25 September 2018
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Abstract
Exergaming has been observed to be a viable supplemental approach in promoting physical activity (PA) among children. However, whether sex differences in PA and sedentary behaviors exist during exergaming is inconsistent. Thus, this study aimed to quantify, via accelerometry, young children’s PA and
[...] Read more.
Exergaming has been observed to be a viable supplemental approach in promoting physical activity (PA) among children. However, whether sex differences in PA and sedentary behaviors exist during exergaming is inconsistent. Thus, this study aimed to quantify, via accelerometry, young children’s PA and sedentary behaviors during exergaming as well as examine sex differences in these PA and sedentary behaviors during gameplay. In total, 121 first- and second-grade children (mean age = 6.89 ± 0.9 years; 73 girls) were included in the analysis. Children were a part of a large 18-week parent study. Children wore ActiGraph GT1M accelerometers during exergaming play, with four measurements purposively selected from the 28 total exergaming sessions to capture children’s PA and sedentary behaviors during exergaming play. Outcome variables included mean percentages of time spent in moderate-to-vigorous PA (MVPA), light PA (LPA), and sedentary behavior during each exergaming session. One-way ANOVA was performed to determine whether there were differences in the percentage of time engaged in MVPA, LPA, and sedentary behavior during exergaming by sex. Accelerometry data indicated that children’s mean percentage of exergaming time spent in MVPA, LPA, and sedentary behavior were 19.9%, 32.9%, and 47.2%, respectively. However, no sex differences were present. Observations in this study indicated that boys and girls have similar PA levels during exergaming and suggests that features inherent to exergaming may assist in PA promotion among both sexes. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Gamification through a Virtual Reality on Preoperative Anxiety in Pediatric Patients Undergoing General Anesthesia: A Prospective, Randomized, and Controlled Trial
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(9), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7090284
Received: 8 August 2018 / Revised: 13 September 2018 / Accepted: 14 September 2018 / Published: 17 September 2018
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Abstract
The use of gamification in healthcare has been gaining popularity. This prospective, randomized, clinical trial was designed to evaluate whether gamification of the preoperative process—via virtual reality (VR) gaming that provides a vivid, immersive and realistic experience—could reduce preoperative anxiety in children. Seventy
[...] Read more.
The use of gamification in healthcare has been gaining popularity. This prospective, randomized, clinical trial was designed to evaluate whether gamification of the preoperative process—via virtual reality (VR) gaming that provides a vivid, immersive and realistic experience—could reduce preoperative anxiety in children. Seventy children scheduled for elective surgery under general anesthesia were randomly divided into either the control or gamification group. Children in the control group received conventional education regarding the preoperative process, whereas those in the gamification group played a 5 min VR game experiencing the preoperative experience. Preoperative anxiety, induction compliance checklist (ICC), and procedural behavior rating scale (PBRS) were measured. Sixty-nine children were included in the final analysis (control group = 35, gamification = 34). Preoperative anxiety (28.3 [23.3–36.7] vs. 46.7 [31.7–51.7]; p < 0.001) and intraoperative compliance measured using ICC (p = 0.038) were lower in the gamification group than in the control group. However, PBRS (p = 0.092) and parent/guardian satisfaction (p = 0.268) were comparable between the two groups. VR experience of the preoperative process could reduce preoperative anxiety and improve compliance during anesthetic induction in children undergoing elective surgery and general anesthesia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Application and Validation of Activity Monitors’ Epoch Lengths and Placement Sites for Physical Activity Assessment in Exergaming
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(9), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7090268
Received: 11 August 2018 / Revised: 28 August 2018 / Accepted: 7 September 2018 / Published: 11 September 2018
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Abstract
We assessed the agreement of two ActiGraph activity monitors (wGT3X vs. GT9X) placed at the hip and the wrist and determined an appropriate epoch length for physical activity levels in an exergaming setting. Forty-seven young adults played a 30-min exergame while wearing wGT3X
[...] Read more.
We assessed the agreement of two ActiGraph activity monitors (wGT3X vs. GT9X) placed at the hip and the wrist and determined an appropriate epoch length for physical activity levels in an exergaming setting. Forty-seven young adults played a 30-min exergame while wearing wGT3X and GT9X on both hip and wrist placement sites and a heart rate sensor below the chest. Intraclass correlation coefficient indicated that intermonitor agreement in steps and activity counts was excellent on the hip and good on the wrist. Bland-Altman plots indicated good intermonitor agreement in the steps and activity counts on both placement sites but a significant intermonitor difference was detected in steps on the wrist. Time spent in sedentary and physical activity intensity levels varied across six epoch lengths and depended on the placement sites, whereas time spent from a 1-s epoch of the hip-worn monitors most accurately matched the relative exercise intensity by heart rate. Hip placement site was associated with better step-counting accuracy for both activity monitors and more valid estimation of physical activity levels. A 1-s epoch was the most appropriate epoch length to detect short bursts of intense physical activity and may be the best choice for data processing and analysis in exergaming studies examining intermittent physical activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Exergaming on Children’s Motor Skill Competence and Health-Related Fitness: A Quasi-Experimental Study
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(9), 261; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7090261
Received: 23 July 2018 / Revised: 16 August 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 7 September 2018
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Abstract
This study was designed to examine the effectiveness of a combined exergaming and physical education (PE) program on children’s motor skill competence (MSC) and health-related fitness (HRF) as compared to traditional PE. A total of 261 second- and third-grade children (127 boys; 8.25
[...] Read more.
This study was designed to examine the effectiveness of a combined exergaming and physical education (PE) program on children’s motor skill competence (MSC) and health-related fitness (HRF) as compared to traditional PE. A total of 261 second- and third-grade children (127 boys; 8.25 ± 0.66 years for male; 8.29 ± 0.74 years for female; 73.6% non-Hispanic white) participated in the nine-month study from 2012 to 2013. Children were assigned to one of the two groups: (a) intervention group (125 min of alternating PE and exergaming weekly); and (b) comparison group (125-min weekly PE). MSC was assessed via product scores in two locomotor and two object control skills. HRF included the cardiorespiratory fitness, musculoskeletal fitness, and body mass index (BMI). A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was performed to analyze the effect of the combined exergaming–PE program on children’s MSC and HRF. There were significant group by time interaction effects for BMI, p < 0.01, η2 = 0.20; musculoskeletal fitness, p < 0.01, η2 = 0.13; and object control skills (the comparison group demonstrating greater improvement), p = 0.01, η2 = 0.03. The findings suggest that the combined exergaming program can have a positive effect on children’s BMI and musculoskeletal fitness, indicating that exergaming can be an alternative school-based program to supplement traditional PE. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Association between Air Quality and Sedentary Time in 3270 Chinese Adults: Application of a Novel Technology for Posture Determination
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(9), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7090257
Received: 18 July 2018 / Revised: 31 August 2018 / Accepted: 2 September 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
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Abstract
This study investigated the association between ambient air quality and sedentary time in Chinese adults. The participants were 3270 Chinese users (2021 men and 1249 women) of wrist-worn activity trackers. The data of participants’ daily activities were collected from July 2015 to October
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This study investigated the association between ambient air quality and sedentary time in Chinese adults. The participants were 3270 Chinese users (2021 men and 1249 women) of wrist-worn activity trackers. The data of participants’ daily activities were collected from July 2015 to October 2015. A novel algorithm based on raw accelerometer data was employed to determine sedentary time. Personal data, including sex, age, weight and height, were self-reported by the participants. Data of air quality, ambient temperature and weather were collected from the data released by the China National Environmental Monitoring Centre and the China Central Meteorological Observatory and matched in accordance with the Global Positioning System and time information. Multilevel regression analyses were conducted to investigate the association between air quality and sedentary time and adjusted for gender, age, region, body mass index, weather, temperature, weekday/weekend and monitored wake time per day. Better air quality index levels and lower concentrations of fine particulate matter were significantly associated with approximately 20 and 45 min reduction in sedentary time, respectively. Poor air quality appears to be an independent factor associated with prolonged sedentary time in Chinese adults. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Safety and Lack of Negative Effects of Wearable Augmented-Reality Social Communication Aid for Children and Adults with Autism
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(8), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7080188
Received: 21 June 2018 / Revised: 18 July 2018 / Accepted: 21 July 2018 / Published: 30 July 2018
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Abstract
There is a growing interest in the use of augmented reality (AR) to assist children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); however, little investigation has been conducted into the safety of AR devices, such as smartglasses. The objective of this report was
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There is a growing interest in the use of augmented reality (AR) to assist children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); however, little investigation has been conducted into the safety of AR devices, such as smartglasses. The objective of this report was to assess the safety and potential negative effects of the Empowered Brain system, a novel AR smartglasses-based social communication aid for people with ASD. The version of the Empowered Brain in this report utilized Google Glass (Google, Mountain View, CA, USA) as its hardware platform. A sequential series of 18 children and adults, aged 4.4 to 21.5 years (mean 12.2 years), with clinically diagnosed ASD of varying severity used the system. Users and caregivers were interviewed about the perceived negative effects and design concerns. Most users were able to wear and use the Empowered Brain (n = 16/18, 89%), with most of them reporting no negative effects (n = 14/16, 87.5%). Caregivers observed no negative effects in users (n = 16/16, 100%). Most users (77.8%) and caregivers (88.9%) had no design concerns. This report found no major negative effects in using an AR smartglasses-based social communication aid across a wide age and severity range of people with ASD. Further research is needed to explore longer-term effects of using AR smartglasses in this population. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Development and Evaluation of Culturally and Linguistically Tailored Mobile App to Promote Breast Cancer Screening
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(8), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7080181
Received: 26 June 2018 / Revised: 12 July 2018 / Accepted: 13 July 2018 / Published: 24 July 2018
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Abstract
Background: While a significant breast cancer burden exists for Korean American immigrant women, their cancer screening behavior is strikingly poor, and few interventions have focused on this population. To promote breast cancer screening behavior in Korean American immigrant women, a mobile phone multimedia
[...] Read more.
Background: While a significant breast cancer burden exists for Korean American immigrant women, their cancer screening behavior is strikingly poor, and few interventions have focused on this population. To promote breast cancer screening behavior in Korean American immigrant women, a mobile phone multimedia messaging intervention (mMammogram) was developed. Objective: The current study explores the impact of mMammogram on changes to study participants’ screening behavior and proposes suggestions for how the intervention can be improved for wide dissemination and implementation in the Korean American community. Material and Methods: Data were collected through qualitative research methods. Three focus groups were conducted with 14 Korean immigrant women who completed the mMammogram. Findings: Three themes emerged: (1) better understanding of breast cancer and screening through mMammogram (e.g., increased knowledge on breast cancer and screening methods, increased understanding of the importance of regular mammography, and reduced anxiety about mammography); (2) health navigators as a trigger to promote mammography (e.g., providing resources for free or low-cost mammograms and scheduling mammogram appointments); and (3) suggestions for mMammogram (e.g., technical issues and program period). Conclusions: Mobile app intervention that is culturally tailored, along with health navigation services, can be a feasible, effective, and acceptable tool to promote breast cancer screening behaviors in underserved immigrant women. A mobile app can cover a broad range of breast cancer health topics and the health navigator can further help women overcome barriers to screening. A health navigation service is critical in overcoming language, transportation, and health accessibility barriers and triggering a positive change in their health screening behavior, especially for newly arrived immigrant populations. Full article
Open AccessArticle Technology-Enhanced Classroom Activity Breaks Impacting Children’s Physical Activity and Fitness
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(7), 165; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7070165
Received: 10 June 2018 / Revised: 25 June 2018 / Accepted: 28 June 2018 / Published: 29 June 2018
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Abstract
Background: This study examined the effects of a 4-week technology-enhanced physical activity (PA) interventions on students’ real-time daily PA and aerobic fitness levels. Methods: 116 fifth-graders were assigned to one intervention group (n = 31) participating in daily physical activity engaging the
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Background: This study examined the effects of a 4-week technology-enhanced physical activity (PA) interventions on students’ real-time daily PA and aerobic fitness levels. Methods: 116 fifth-graders were assigned to one intervention group (n = 31) participating in daily physical activity engaging the brain with Fitbit Challenge (PAEB-C), another intervention group (n = 29) wearing Fitbits only (Fitbit-O) daily, five days per week, or the comparison group (n = 56). Four-week real-time PA data were collected from the intervention students via Fitbase. Three groups were pre- and post-tested aerobic fitness. Results: The PAEB-C students showed significantly higher steps and minutes of being very active and fairly active (F = 7.999, p = 0.014, ŋ = 0.121; F = 5.667, p = 0.021, ŋ = 0.089; F = 10.572, p = 0.002, ŋ = 0.154) and lower minutes of being sedentary daily (F = 4.639, p = 0.035, ŋ = 0.074) than the Fitbit-O group. Both Fitbit groups exhibited significantly greater increases in aerobic fitness scores than the comparison group over time (F = 21.946, p = 0.001, ŋ = 0.303). Boys were more physically active and fit than girls. Conclusions: Technology-enhanced PA intervention was effective for improving real-time PA and aerobic fitness. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effectiveness of Combined Smartwatch and Social Media Intervention on Breast Cancer Survivor Health Outcomes: A 10-Week Pilot Randomized Trial
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(6), 140; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7060140
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 3 June 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 7 June 2018
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Abstract
Physical activity (PA) among breast cancer survivors (BCS) can improve this population’s health and quality of life (QoL). This study evaluated the effectiveness of a combined smartwatch- and social media-based health education intervention on BCS’s health outcomes. Thirty BCS ( X¯age
[...] Read more.
Physical activity (PA) among breast cancer survivors (BCS) can improve this population’s health and quality of life (QoL). This study evaluated the effectiveness of a combined smartwatch- and social media-based health education intervention on BCS’s health outcomes. Thirty BCS ( X ¯ age = 52.6 ± 9.3 years; X ¯ Wt = 80.2 ± 19.6 kg) participated in this 10-week, 2-arm randomized trial, with BCS randomized into: (1) experimental group (n = 16): received Polar M400 smartwatches for daily PA tracking and joined a Facebook group wherein Social Cognitive Theory-related PA tips were provided twice weekly; and (2) comparison group (n = 14): only joined separate, but content-identical Facebook group. Outcomes included PA, physiological, psychosocial, and QoL variables. Specifically, PA and energy expenditure (EE) was assessed by ActiGraph GT3X+ accelerometers while physiological, psychosocial, and QoL were examined via validated instruments at baseline and post-intervention. No baseline group differences were observed for any variable. Ten BCS dropped out of the study (experimental: 4; comparison: 6). Compared to completers, dropouts differed significantly on several outcomes. Thus, a per-protocol analysis was performed, revealing significant group differences for changes in social support (t = −2.1, p = 0.05) and barriers (t = −2.2, p = 0.04). Interestingly, the comparison group demonstrated improvements for both variables while the intervention group demonstrated slightly decreased social support and no change in barriers. Notably, both groups demonstrated similarly increased daily light PA, moderate-to-vigorous PA, EE, and steps of 7.7 min, 5.1 min, 25.1 kcals, and 339 steps, respectively, over time. Despite extensive user training, several experimental BCS found the Polar M400 use difficult—possibly decreasing intervention adherence. Future interventions should utilize simpler smartwatches to promote PA among middle-aged clinical/non-clinical populations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Preschoolers’ Technology-Assessed Physical Activity and Cognitive Function: A Cross-Sectional Study
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(5), 108; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7050108
Received: 19 April 2018 / Revised: 4 May 2018 / Accepted: 7 May 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
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Abstract
Early childhood is a critical period for development of cognitive function, but research on the association between physical activity and cognitive function in preschool children is limited and inconclusive. This study aimed to examine the association between technology-assessed physical activity and cognitive function
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Early childhood is a critical period for development of cognitive function, but research on the association between physical activity and cognitive function in preschool children is limited and inconclusive. This study aimed to examine the association between technology-assessed physical activity and cognitive function in preschool children. A cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Physical Activity and Cognitive Development Study was conducted in Shanghai, China. Physical activity was measured with accelerometers for 7 consecutive days, and cognitive functions were assessed using the Chinese version of Wechsler Young Children Scale of Intelligence (C-WYCSI). Linear regression analyses were used to assess the association between physical activity and cognitive function. A total of 260 preschool children (boys, 144; girls, 116; mean age: 57.2 ± 5.4 months) were included in analyses for this study. After adjusting for confounding factors, we found that Verbal Intelligence Quotient, Performance Intelligence Quotient, and Full Intelligence Quotient were significantly correlated with light physical activity, not moderate to vigorous physical activity, in boys. Standardized coefficients were 0.211, 0.218, and 0.242 (all p < 0.05) in three different models, respectively. However, the correlation between physical activity and cognitive functions were not significant in girls (p > 0.05). These findings suggest that cognitive function is apparently associated with light physical activity in boys. Further studies are required to clarify the sex-specific effect on physical activity and cognitive functions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Reliability of Using Motion Sensors to Measure Children’s Physical Activity Levels in Exergaming
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(5), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7050100
Received: 2 April 2018 / Revised: 27 April 2018 / Accepted: 30 April 2018 / Published: 2 May 2018
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Abstract
Objectives: This study examined the reliability of two objective measurement tools in assessing children’s physical activity (PA) levels in an exergaming setting. Methods: A total of 377 children (190 girls, Mage = 8.39, SD = 1.55) attended the 30-min exergaming class every
[...] Read more.
Objectives: This study examined the reliability of two objective measurement tools in assessing children’s physical activity (PA) levels in an exergaming setting. Methods: A total of 377 children (190 girls, Mage = 8.39, SD = 1.55) attended the 30-min exergaming class every other day for 18 weeks. Children’s PA levels were concurrently measured by NL-1000 pedometer and ActiGraph GT3X accelerometer, while children’s steps per min and time engaged in sedentary, light, and moderate-to-vigorous PA were estimated, respectively. Results: The results of intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) indicated a low degree of reliability (single measures ICC = 0.03) in accelerometers. ANOVA did detect a possible learning effect for 27 classes (p < 0.01), and the single measures ICC was 0.20 for pedometers. Moreover, there was no significant positive relationship between steps per min and time spent in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Finally, only 1.3% variance was explained by pedometer as a predictor using Hierarchical Linear Modeling to further explore the relationship between pedometer and accelerometer data. Conclusions: The NL-1000 pedometers and ActiGraph GT3X accelerometers have low reliability in assessing elementary school children’s PA levels during exergaming. More research is warranted in determining the reliable and accurate measurement information regarding the use of modern devices in exergaming setting. Full article
Open AccessArticle Cross-Sectional Associations of Environmental Perception with Leisure-Time Physical Activity and Screen Time among Older Adults
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(3), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7030056
Received: 14 February 2018 / Revised: 9 March 2018 / Accepted: 10 March 2018 / Published: 13 March 2018
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Abstract
This study investigated associations of perceived environmental factors with leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and screen time (ST) among older adults. A cross-sectional study was conducted by administering computer-assisted telephone interviews to 1028 older Taiwanese adults in November 2016. Data on personal factors, perceived
[...] Read more.
This study investigated associations of perceived environmental factors with leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) and screen time (ST) among older adults. A cross-sectional study was conducted by administering computer-assisted telephone interviews to 1028 older Taiwanese adults in November 2016. Data on personal factors, perceived environmental factors, LTPA, and ST were included. Odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated to examine associations of environmental perception with LTPA and ST by using logistic regression analyses. The results showed that after adjusting for potential confounders, older adults who perceived their neighborhood with good access to shops (AS) and to public transportation (AT) were more likely to have sufficient LTPA (AS: OR = 1.64, 95% CI: 1.16–2.32; AT: OR = 1.43; 95% CI, 1.00–2.03) and less likely to have excessive ST (AS: OR = 0.70; 95% CI: 0.50–0.97; AT: OR = 0.64; 95% CI: 0.46–0.90). Different perceived environmental factors were also associated with LTPA and ST, respectively. This study highlights environment perception as a crucial factor for LTPA and ST. These findings suggest that policy makers and physical activity intervention designers should develop both common and individual environmental strategies to improve and increase awareness of the neighborhood environment to promote LTPA and reduce ST among older adults. Full article

Review

Jump to: Research

Open AccessReview Exergaming for Children and Adolescents: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(11), 422; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7110422
Received: 15 October 2018 / Revised: 31 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
Exergaming, or active video gaming, has become an emerging trend in fitness, education and health sectors. It is defined as digital games that require bodily movements to play, stimulating an active gaming experience to function as a form of physical activity (PA). Since
[...] Read more.
Exergaming, or active video gaming, has become an emerging trend in fitness, education and health sectors. It is defined as digital games that require bodily movements to play, stimulating an active gaming experience to function as a form of physical activity (PA). Since exergaming is becoming more popular, claims have been made on the usefulness of exergaming. It has, for example, been entitled as being “the future of fitness” by the American College of Sports Medicine, promoting PA and health in children and adolescents. However, research also suggests that long-term engagement in exergaming is difficult to achieve, and there is a noticeable reservation towards exergaming by parents, teachers and caregivers. To provide an overview and to outline the future directions of exergaming, the aim of this review was to critically illustrate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of exergaming to promote PA and health in children and youth. The available evidence indicates that exergaming has the potential to improve health via an increase in PA. However, it seems that this potential is frequently underexploited, and further developments such as customized exergames are needed. Full article
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Open AccessReview Virtual Reality Exercise for Anxiety and Depression: A Preliminary Review of Current Research in an Emerging Field
J. Clin. Med. 2018, 7(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm7030042
Received: 20 December 2017 / Revised: 28 February 2018 / Accepted: 28 February 2018 / Published: 4 March 2018
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Abstract
Objective: Although current evidence supports the use of virtual reality (VR) in the treatment of mental disorders, it is unknown whether VR exercise would be beneficial to mental health. This review synthesized literature concerning the effect of VR exercise on anxiety and depression
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Objective: Although current evidence supports the use of virtual reality (VR) in the treatment of mental disorders, it is unknown whether VR exercise would be beneficial to mental health. This review synthesized literature concerning the effect of VR exercise on anxiety and depression among various populations. Methods: Ten electronic databases were searched for studies on this topic from January 2000 through October 2017. Studies were eligible if the article: (1) was peer-reviewed; (2) was published in English; and (3) used quantitative measures in assessing anxiety- and depression-related outcomes. Results: A total of five empirical studies met the eligibility criteria. These studies included two randomized clinical trials, one control trial, and two cross-sectional studies. Four studies reported significant improvements in anxiety- and depression-related measures following VR exercise, including reduced tiredness and tension, in addition to increased energy and enjoyment. Nonetheless, one study failed to support the effectiveness of VR exercise over traditional exercise alone on depressive symptoms. Conclusions: Findings favor VR exercise in alleviating anxiety and depression symptomology. However, existing evidence is insufficient to support the advantages of VR exercise as a standalone treatment over traditional therapy in the alleviation of anxiety and depression given the paucity of studies, small sample sizes, and lack of high-quality research designs. Future studies may build upon these limitations to discern the optimal manner by which to employ VR exercise in clinical settings. Full article
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