Volume 1 – 2008, Special Issue

Relationship between BMI, physical activity and TV-watching in preschool children.


The aim of this study is to identify the relationship between BMI, physical activity, and hours of watching TV in preschool aged children. The sample consisted of 102 children (49 boys and 53 girls) aged 48 to 79 months (Mean=60.67, S.D.=7.07). Physical activity was measured using an OMRON walking style II pedometer, while hours of TV watching and occupation with “digital” games were recorded using a parent questionnaire. Differences between groups were assessed using one way analysis of variance (ANOVA). From the results was not found any statistically significant effect of BMI in number of steps/week (F =.411, p=.672), in number of covered km/week (F=.411, p=.673) and in hours of TV watching/day (F=.004, p=.996). However, statistically significant difference was found in the level of physical activity between children that watched less than 1h TV per day, (number of steps/week: Mean=61426.75, SD=10766.28) and total km/week: Mean=24.54, SD=4.31) and children that watched above 5h TV per day, (number of steps/week: Mean=37753.25, SD= 2975.89 and km/week: Mean=15.07, SD=1.18). Consequently, ΒMI is not a perfect predictor for preschool aged children to show any differentiations in relation to older children. However a negative association is possible to exist between physical activity and hours of TV watching at a sensitive time period.

A study on the accuracy of three pedometers


A study on the accuracy of three pedometers: Omron Walking style pro HJ-720IT-E2 (OHJ), Omron walking style II (OII) and Yamax SW-200 (YSW). This study examined the effects of walking speed on the accuracy of the above pedometers: Thirty two subjects (271.22 ± 28,4 months) walked on a treadmill at various speeds (54, 67, 80, 94, and 107 mmin-1) for five min stages. Two investigators determined steps simultaneously by a hand counter and a camera was recording all the trial. YSW and OHJ were measured on the right side and OII was measured on the left side. OHJ and OII did not differ a lot from actual steps at any speed (p>0.05), only YSW differed a lot at 54 m*min-1 (p<0.05). OHJ and OII appeared to be accurate at any speed and YSW provide accurate values at 64 m*min-1 and above.

Motor proficiency, physical activity and body mass index in preschool aged children


The purpose of this study was to compare the motor proficiency and the physical activity (PA) of preschool children with different body mass index (BMI). Fifty-three preschoolers (26 boys and 27 girls), aged 4-5 years, were divided, according to their BMI, to those with: a) normal BMI, b) overweight children and c) obese children. Their motor proficiency was determined by the ‘Motorik’ Module test battery and their PA was evaluated by using the interview ‘Interviewleitfaden zur Aktivität für Kinder von 4 bis 6 Jahren’. According to the IOTF standards, the 22.6% and 9.4% of the children were categorized, as overweight and obese, accordingly and they had no statistically significant difference in their motor performance, when compared with children with normal BMI. However, the weekly participation in at least 60 min daily accumulation of physical activity, was significant lower (MD=1.80, p<.05) in obese children than normal weight peers. The results of the present study are particularly useful, for those who are involved in pre-school education, as they suggest that physical inactivity is strongly related to obesity in preschool children and notify the necessity of Physical Education in the Greek nursery school.

Lifestyle and physical activity of young people in Greece: The role of the school and the community in the promotion of active living.


The investigation of young people lifestyles and attempts to influence them to a desirable direction are high priorities on the research agenda for health and education bodies worldwide, since the formulation of the concept of lifestyle begins during childhood with the dynamic interaction between individual characteristics and the physical environment. Physical activity, diet, participation on passive leisure time pursuits, smoking and alcohol  consumption are today important components of the young peoples’ lifestyle. These factors are directly related to the epidemic spread of obesity and a number of physical and psychological disorders. Greeks, of all age-groups, adopted an actually risky lifestyle in these terms of leisure time pursuits. Greek young people spent a great amount of time daily in passive leisure time pursuits and indicate a low interest towards active play and an increase interest for activities of social interaction and sedentary recreation. Furthermore, Greek young people are classified as the most obese between their counterparts of other European countries and they consist the leading group in the adoption of unhealthy behaviours, such as smoking and alcohol consumption. Appropriate intervention programmes are needed. Studies support the notion that interventions must i) target multi-level changes of both individual-level and environmental-level factors in an integrated approach to PA and health promotion, and ii) tailored to the needs, preferences and characteristics of young people. Schools and community can play a decisive role to this direction.

Effectiveness of interventions promoting physical activity in young people in Europe


Despite a significant evidence base about the benefits of physical activity [PA], most children remain resistant to adopting and maintaining active lifestyles. There have been several large studies of the physical activity characteristics of young people in Europe over the last decade. European boys of all ages participate in more physical activity than European girls and the gender difference is more marked when vigorous activity is considered. There is a marked reduction in activity over the adolescent years (Armstrong & Welsman, 2006). Several types of intervention have been used to increase the PA levels of young people in Europe. In a recent systematic review of interventions, Van-Sluijs et al. (2007) identified 57 studies worldwide, of which 17 were conducted in Europe (9 in UK, 3 in Greece, 1 in Ireland, 1 in France, 1 in Finland, 1 in Netherlands, and 1 in Spain). Eight of the 17 EU studies exhibited high methodological quality. The studies (13 out of 17) focusing on children (<12 years) employed educational (6 studies), environmental (4 studies), and multi-component (3 studies) interventions. Three high quality educational studies, 1 high quality environmental study, and 1 high quality multi-component study reported a significant positive effect. All except one (family-based intervention) study of children involved school-based interventions. Five studies were restricted to school setting only and six evaluated school-based interventions which also included family or community components. Four of the school setting only interventions, and four of the school plus family or community interventions reported a significant positive effect. The studies (4 out of 17) focusing on adolescents (>12 years) employed educational (2 studies) and multi-component (2 studies) interventions. Only 1 multi-component study was considered to be of high quality and this study reported a significant positive effect of a school plus family or community component. The limited number of European studies highlights the need for more high quality studies. From the 13 studies conducted with children, 8 reported a significant positive effect and they were all school-based interventions. Only 4 European studies focused on adolescents, stressing the urgent need for interventions targeting this population. Overall, the evidence from the 57 studies worldwide was inconsistent for children with the strongest effects coming from studies with adolescents. Specifically, some evidence of effect was shown for environmental interventions targeting children, whereas multi-component interventions may make important differences in physical activity levels in adolescents. These findings support recent calls for the incorporation of both individual-level and environmental-level factors in an integrated approach to physical activity research and practice. Considering multiple levels (e.g., intrapersonal, interpersonal, home, school, community, policy) of influence on young people’s behaviour will contribute to the understanding of the principal determinants of PA and the causes of the inactivity among young people. This approach requires interventions that are context-specific, expand outside the school setting and are developed locally. Although there are currently no interventions which could be described as a model for “best practice”, new interventions need to mesh better with how the problem of inactivity is dealt in real life settings.

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