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There is a growing recognition that social support can potentially exert consistent or opposing effects in influencing health behaviours. The present paper presents a cross-sectional study, including 2,064 adults from Italy, Spain and Greece, who were participants in a multi-centre randomised controlled trial (C4H study), aiming to examine whether social support is correlated with adherence to a healthy Mediterranean diet and physical activity. Social support data were available for 1,572 participants. The majority of the sample reported emotional support availability (84·5 %), financial support availability (72·6 %) and having one or more close friends (78·2 %). Mediterranean diet adherence was significantly associated with emotional support (P = 0·009) and social network support (P = 0·021). No statistically significant associations were found between participant physical activity and the social support aspects studied. In conclusion, emotional and social network support may be associated with increased adherence to the Mediterranean diet. However, further research is needed to evaluate the role of social support in adherence to healthy Mediterranean diet.
Explore the interrelationship between teachers’ personal and professional socio-ecological structures while examining Head Start (HS) teachers’ experiences with (1) trying to eat healthy and engage in physical activity (PA) and (2) promote healthy eating and PA in their classrooms.
In-depth semi-structured interviews were collected from March through June 2017. Researchers designed the data collection and analysis methods using a phenomenological approach. All interviews were recorded using digital audio and transcribed verbatim.
Seven HS centres in two rural eastern North Carolina counties.
Teachers (n 15) who had recently participated in a healthy eating and physical activity intervention. Participants were 100 % female, an average age of 43 years (sd 9·6) and primarily Black/African American (93·3 %).
Eighteen primary themes were identified providing unique insight into individual, social and environmental determinants that may influence teachers’ personal health behaviours and professional health promotion practices. Findings indicated that teachers want to improve health behaviours personally (individual/family health) and professionally (children/families served); however, barriers exist at all levels impacting their ability to improve their own health and facilitate positive behaviours among the children/families they serve. Many teachers observed connections between their personal and professional experiences, but not beyond the individual level.
Study findings highlight the importance of considering and emphasising the potential relationship between personal and professional determinants of health when working with early childhood teachers. Findings from this study may be useful for informing the development, implementation and evaluation of future health promotion interventions using teachers as implementers.
The interdependence among eating behaviour (EB), physical activity (PA) and sedentary time (ST) suggests simultaneously identifying homogeneous profiles and describing their changes. This study aimed to 1) identify cross-sectional lifestyle behaviour profiles and their 2-year changes among French school-aged adolescents and, 2) identify factors associated with these profiles and changes. Longitudinal data from adolescents who participated in the PRomotion de l’ALIMentation et de l’Activité Physique trial were used. PA and ST were assessed with the International Physical Activity Questionnaire and EB with a food frequency questionnaire. Profiles at baseline and their changes were identified by latent transition analysis. Multinomial logistic regression models were used to identify factors associated with profiles and their changes. Among 2390 adolescents included (14-18 years), five baseline profiles that differed mainly in EB were identified: “healthy diet and high PA (7.9%)”, “big eater and moderate to high PA (23.8%)”, “healthy diet and low PA (31.2%)”, “restrictive diet and moderate PA (20.6%)”, “sugar products, nibbling and moderate PA (16.5%)”. Young adolescents, those who were overweight or obese and socially advantaged were more in the “healthy diet and low PA” than others. Boys, older and socially less advantaged adolescents exhibited more “unfavourable” than “mixed” changes, while adolescents with overweight or obesity had less “unfavourable” than “mixed” changes. In conclusion, adolescents were twice the number in the least than the most favourable profile. Findings highlighted the importance of EB among adolescents and suggest taking adolescents’ sociodemographic and weight characteristics into account in interventions aimed at acting on adolescents’ behaviours.
Adolescent diet, physical activity and nutritional status are generally known to be sub-optimal. This is an introduction to a special issue of papers devoted to exploring factors affecting diet and physical activity in adolescents, including food insecure and vulnerable groups.
Eight settings including urban, peri-urban and rural across sites from five different low- and middle-income countries.
Focus groups with adolescents and caregivers carried out by trained researchers.
Our results show that adolescents, even in poor settings, know about healthy diet and lifestyles. They want to have energy, feel happy, look good and live longer, but their desire for autonomy, a need to ‘belong’ in their peer group, plus vulnerability to marketing exploiting their aspirations, leads them to make unhealthy choices. They describe significant gender, culture and context-specific barriers. For example, urban adolescents had easy access to energy dense, unhealthy foods bought outside the home, whereas junk foods were only beginning to permeate rural sites. Among adolescents in Indian sites, pressure to excel in exams meant that academic studies were squeezing out physical activity time.
Interventions to improve adolescents’ diets and physical activity levels must therefore address structural and environmental issues and influences in their homes and schools, since it is clear that their food and activity choices are the product of an interacting complex of factors. In the next phase of work, the Transforming Adolescent Lives through Nutrition consortium will employ groups of adolescents, caregivers and local stakeholders in each site to develop interventions to improve adolescent nutritional status.
The aim of this paper is to present the engagement of adult Poles in physical activity (PA) before and during the coronavirus pandemic, taking into consideration: frequency, duration and types of the activity depending on the gender and age of the participants.
The study was conducted using an online survey questionnaire. 688 residents of Poland aged 18 to 58 (28.61±9.5) years old participated in the study.
A statistically significant decrease in the frequency of PA was noted in the group of men (p=0.0001) and in the age group of 39 to 58 years old. The analysis of the duration of a single PA before and during the pandemic has shown a statistically significant reduction in the workout time among both men and women and across all age groups (p=0.05). There was a statistically significant increase in the frequency of women undertaking flexibility exercises, e.g. yoga (p=0.000), as well as a decrease in marching and walks (p=0.003). Men significantly less frequently did strength exercises (p=0.002).
During the pandemic, there was a statistically significant decrease in the frequency and duration of PA. The preferences of the participants as to the type of PA undertaken changed as well.
People living with serious mental illness (SMI) experience debilitating symptoms that worsen their physical health and quality of life. Regular physical activity (PA) may bring symptomatic improvements and enhance wellbeing. When undertaken in community-based group settings, PA may yield additional benefits such as reduced isolation. Initiating PA can be difficult for people with SMI, so PA engagement is commonly low. Designing acceptable and effective PA programs requires a better understanding of the lived experiences of PA initiation among people with SMI.
This systematic review of qualitative studies used the meta-ethnography approach by Noblit and Hare (1988). Electronic databases were searched from inception to November 2017. Eligible studies used qualitative methodology; involved adults (≥18 years) with schizophrenia, bipolar affective disorder, major depressive disorder, or psychosis; reported community-based group PA; and captured the experience of PA initiation, including key features of social support. Study selection and quality assessment were performed by four reviewers.
Sixteen studies were included in the review. We identified a “journey” that depicted a long sequence of phases involved in initiating PA. The journey demonstrated the thought processes, expectations, barriers, and support needs of people with SMI. In particular, social support from a trusted source played an important role in getting people to the activity, both physically and emotionally.
The journey illustrated that initiation of PA for people with SMI is a long complex transition. This complex process needs to be understood before ongoing participation in PA can be addressed. Registration—The review was registered on the International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) on 22/03/2017 (registration number CRD42017059948).
Being active in later life is key to remaining physically and mentally healthy, and health in turn influences individuals’ ability to remain active. Activity prevalence figures can disguise the existence of clusters of older people who are very active due to regular participation in multiple categories of activity versus those who are sedentary. The aim of this study was to conduct segmentation analyses based on retired seniors’ engagement in various activities (walking, active sport/exercise, gardening and volunteering) to identify groups characterised by varying patterns of participation. The sample comprised 746 Western Australians aged 60+ years (range 60–95 years, average age 71.66 years, standard deviation = 6.57), 61 per cent of whom were female. Using latent profile analysis, four distinct segments emerged. Those respondents classified as belonging to the most active group exhibited moderate to high levels of participation across all four forms of activity, and tended to be older and more educated than other respondents. Those allocated to the least active group had very low levels of participation across most of the assessed activities and the least favourable physical and mental health scores. Overall, the results indicate the existence of highly divergent segments within the older population in terms of participation across various combinations of health-promoting activities. Segment membership appears to be more closely associated with physical and psychological factors than socio-demographic characteristics.
To explore perceptions of how context shapes adolescent diet and physical activity in eight low- and middle-income (LMIC) sites at different stages of societal and economic transition.
Novel qualitative secondary analysis of eight data sets generated as part of the international Transforming Adolescent Lives through Nutrition (TALENT) collaboration.
Diverse sites in India and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Fifty-two focus group discussions with 491 participants (303 adolescents aged 10–17 years; 188 caregivers).
Analysis of pooled qualitative data identified three themes: (1) transitions in generational nutrition education and knowledge; (2) transition in caregiver–adolescent power balance and (3) the implications of societal and economic transition for diet and physical activity. Adolescents in urban and peri-urban areas could readily access ‘junk’ food. Diets in rural settings were determined by tradition, seasonality and affordability. Physical activity was inhibited by site-specific factors including lack of space and crime in urban settings, and the prioritisation of academic performance. Gender influenced physical activity across all sites, with girls afforded fewer opportunities.
Interventions to improve adolescent diet and physical activity in LMIC need to be complex, context-specific and responsive to transitions at the individual, economic and societal levels. Moreover, solutions need to acknowledge gender inequalities in different contexts, as well as structural and cultural influences on diet and physical activity in resource-limited settings. Programmes need to be effective in engaging and reconciling adolescents’ and caregivers’ perspectives. Consequently, there is a need for action at both the community-household level and also through policy.
To explore determinants of dietary and physical activity behaviours among women of reproductive age.
Data were collected through focus group discussions (FGD). The FGD guide was based on a modified theoretical framework; theory of planned behaviour was incorporated with constructs of health belief model, precaution adoption process model, social cognitive and social support theory. Discussions were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and analysed thematically.
Women were categorised into young adults; 18–34 years and adults; 35–45 years
Separate FGD with independent participants were conducted for dietary and physical activity behaviours until data saturation was achieved. Six FGD were conducted per behaviour. Determinants of dietary behaviours at intra-individual level included gaps in food skills, knowledge and self-efficacy, food safety concerns, convenience, finances and physiological satisfaction. The social-cultural norms were relationship between vegetable consumption and low social status, consideration of fruits as a snack for children and not food and habitual orientation towards carbohydrate foods. At environment level, social networks and increased availability of energy-dense, nutrient poor, street and processed foods influence dietary behaviour. For physical activity, intra-individual determinants were knowledge gaps and self-efficacy, while socio-cultural norms included gender stereotypes. Home (limited space and sedentary entertainment like social media and TV) and physical environment (cheap motorised transportation) influence physical activity.
The existing cultural beliefs promote dietary and physical activity behaviours which are divergent from healthy recommendations. Therefore, a comprehensive intervention is needed to address socio-cultural misconceptions, financial and time limitations in urban Uganda.
The aim of the present study was to describe Mediterranean diet (MD) adherence within a population of adolescents and to analyse the association of multiple factors with adherence. This included a consideration of diverse physical and mental health indicators. The present study was conducted with a representative sample of 761 adolescents (14·51 (sd 1·63) years) from twenty-five educational centres in a northern region of Spain. MD adherence was evaluated, alongside their health-related quality of life, self-esteem, body image satisfaction, BMI, physical activity (PA) level, maximum oxygen consumption, hours of nightly sleep, socio-demographic factors and academic performance. Of the adolescent population, 49 % reported high MD adherence. Being female and having higher levels of PA were found to be predictive factors of adherence to the MD. In addition, maximum oxygen consumption, the presence of environments favourable towards PA engagement and higher self-esteem were also predictive in females, whilst better academic performance and more nightly sleep were additional predictors in males. The associations found between the MD and other health indicators and habits highlight the need to develop promotion strategies from an inter-disciplinary and transversal standpoint.
Walk or Run to Quit was a national program targeting smoking cessation through group-based running clinics. Increasing physical activity may facilitate smoking cessation as well as lead to additional health benefits beyond cessation.
To evaluate the impact of Walk or Run to Quit over 3 years.
Adult male and female participants (N = 745) looking to quit smoking took part in 156 running-based cessation clinics in 79 locations across Canada. Using a pre-post design, participants completed questionnaires assessing physical activity, running frequency and smoking at the beginning and end of the 10-week program and at 6-months follow-up. Carbon monoxide testing pre- and post- provided an objective indicator of smoking status and coach logs assessed implementation.
55.0% of program completers achieved 7-day point prevalence (intent-to-treat = 22.1%) and carbon monoxide significantly decreased from weeks 1 to 10 (P < 0.001). There was an increase in physical activity and running from baseline to end-of-program (P's<0.001). At 6-month follow-up, 28.9% of participants contacted self-reported prolonged 6-month abstinence (intent-to-treat = 11.4%) and 35.6% were still running regularly.
Although attrition was a concern, Walk or Run to Quit demonstrated potential as a scalable behaviour change intervention that targets both cessation and physical activity.
The present study aimed to investigate the association of early-life exposure to famine with abdominal fat accumulation and function and further evaluate the influence of first-degree family history of diabetes and physical activity on this association. The present work analysed parts of the REACTION study. A total of 3033 women were enrolled. Central obesity was defined as waist circumferences (W) ≥ 85 cm. Chinese visceral adiposity index (CVAI) was used to evaluate visceral adipose distribution and function. Partial correlation analysis showed BMI, W, glycated Hb and CVAI were associated with early-life exposure to famine (both P < 0·05). Logistic regression showed that the risks of overall overweight/obesity and central obesity in fetal, early-childhood, mid-childhood and late-childhood exposed subgroups were increased significantly (all P < 0·05). Compared with the non-exposed group, the BMI, W and CVAI of fetal, early- to late-childhood exposed subgroups were significantly increased both in those with or without first-degree family history of diabetes and in those classified as physically active or inactive, respectively (all P < 0·05). The associations of BMI, W and CVAI with early-life exposure to famine were independent of their associations with first-degree family history of diabetes (all P < 0·01) or physical activity status (all P < 0·001). Early-life exposure to famine contributed to abdominal fat accumulation and dysfunction, which was independent of the influence of genetic background and exercise habits. Physical activity could serve as a supplementary intervention for women with high risk of central obesity.
To explore, from the perspectives of adolescents and caregivers, and using qualitative methods, influences on adolescent diet and physical activity in rural Gambia.
Six focus group discussions (FGD) with adolescents and caregivers were conducted. Thematic analysis was employed across the data set.
Rural region of The Gambia, West Africa.
Participants were selected using purposive sampling. Four FGD, conducted with forty adolescents, comprised: girls aged 10–12 years; boys aged 10–12 years; girls aged 15–17 years, boys aged 15–17 years. Twenty caregivers also participated in two FGD (mothers and fathers).
All participants expressed an understanding of the association between salt and hypertension, sugary foods and diabetes, and dental health. Adolescents and caregivers suggested that adolescent nutrition and health were shaped by economic, social and cultural factors and the local environment. Adolescent diet was thought to be influenced by: affordability, seasonality and the receipt of remittances; gender norms, including differences in opportunities afforded to girls, and mother-led decision-making; cultural ceremonies and school holidays. Adolescent physical activity included walking or cycling to school, playing football and farming. Participants felt adolescent engagement in physical activity was influenced by gender, seasonality, cultural ceremonies and, to some extent, the availability of digital media.
These novel insights into local understanding should be considered when formulating future interventions. Interventions need to address these interrelated factors, including misconceptions regarding diet and physical activity that may be harmful to health.
Little is known about parents’ compensatory health beliefs (CHB) surrounding their children’s engagement in physical activity (PA). Our aim was to provide evidence regarding the nature of, and factors underpinning, parents’ PA-related compensatory beliefs for their children.
A qualitative descriptive approach and thematic content analysis were employed.
Parents were recruited from community sport and PA programmes.
Eighteen parents aged 32–52 years (mean age = 40·8 (sd 5·4) years; six males; twelve females).
Analyses indicated that parents compensate through ‘passive’ or ‘active’ means. Among parents who compensated, most described their provision of ‘treat’ foods/drinks and a minority described allowing extended sedentary time to their children. Parents’ reasons underpinning these beliefs related to their child’s general physical/health status and psychological characteristics, and their own motivation and mood state.
These findings provide the first evidence of unhealthy dietary and sedentary behaviour CHB that parents may hold regarding their children’s involvement in PA.
Aerobic exercise has demonstrated antidepressant efficacy among adults with major depression. There is a poor understanding of the neural mechanisms associated with these effects. Deficits in reward processing and cognitive control may be two candidate targets and predictors of treatment outcome to exercise in depression.
Sixty-six young adults aged 20.23 years (s.d. = 2.39) with major depression were randomized to 8 weeks of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (n = 35) or light stretching (n = 31). Depressive symptoms were assessed across the intervention to track symptom reduction. Reward processing [reward positivity (RewP)] and cognitive control [error-related negativity (ERN)] were assessed before and after the intervention using event-related brain potentials.
Compared to stretching, aerobic exercise resulted in greater symptom reduction (gs = 0.66). Aerobic exercise had no impact on the RewP (gav = 0.08) or ERN (gav = 0.21). In the aerobic exercise group, individuals with a larger pre-treatment RewP [odds ratio (OR) = 1.45] and increased baseline depressive symptom severity (OR = 1.18) were more likely to respond to an aerobic exercise program. Pre-treatment ERN did not predict response (OR = 0.74).
Aerobic exercise is effective in alleviating depressive symptoms in adults with major depression, particularly for those with increased depressive symptom severity and a larger RewP at baseline. Although aerobic exercise did not modify the RewP or ERN, there is preliminary support for the utility of the RewP in predicting who is most likely to respond to exercise as a treatment for depression.
Maternal protein restriction and physical activity can affect the interaction mother–placenta–fetus. This study quantified the gene expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), neurothrophin 4, tyrosine kinase receptor B (TrkB/NTRK2), insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1), and insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1r) in the different areas of mother’s brain (hypothalamus, hippocampus, and cortex), placenta, and fetus’ brain of rats. Female Wistar rats (n = 20) were housed in cages containing a running wheel for 4 weeks before gestation. According to the distance spontaneously traveled daily, rats were classified as inactive or active. During gestation, on continued access to the running wheel, active and inactive groups were randomized to receive normoprotein diet (18% protein) or a low-protein (LP) diet (8% protein). At day 20 of gestation, gene expression of neurotrophic factors was analyzed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction in different brain areas and the placenta. Dams submitted to a LP diet during gestation showed upregulation of IGF-1r and BDNF messenger RNA in the hypothalamus, IGF-1r and NTRK2 in the hippocampus, and BDNF, NTRK2, IGF-1 and IGF-1r in the cortex. In the placenta, there was a downregulation of IGF-1. In the brain of pups from mothers on LP diet, IGF-1r and NTRK2 were downregulated. Voluntary physical activity attenuated the effects of LP diet on IGF-1r in the hypothalamus, IGF-1r and NTRK2 in the hippocampus, IGF-1 in the placenta, and NTRK2 in the fetus’ brain. In conclusion, both maternal protein restriction and spontaneous physical activity influence the gene expression of BDNF, NTRK2, IGF-1, and IGF-1r, with spontaneous physical activity being able to normalize in part the defects caused by protein restriction during pregnancy.
Community-based physical activity programs, such as the Recreovía, are effective in promoting healthy behaviors in Latin America. To understand Recreovías’ challenges and scalability, we characterized its social network longitudinally while studying its participants’ social cohesion and interactions. First, we constructed the Main network of the program’s Facebook profile in 2013 to determine the main stakeholders and communities of participants. Second, we studied the Temporal network growth of the Facebook profiles of three Recreovía locations from 2008 to 2016. We implemented a Time Windows in Networks algorithm to determine observation periods and a scaling model of cities’ growth to measure social cohesion over time. Our results show physical activity instructors as the main stakeholders (20.84% nodes of the network). As emerging cohesion, we found: (1) incremental growth of Facebook users (43–272 nodes), friendships (55–2565 edges), clustering coefficient (0.19–0.21), and density (0.04–0.07); (2) no preferential attachment behavior; and (3) a social cohesion super-linear growth with 1.73 new friendships per joined user. Our results underscore the physical activity instructors’ influence and the emergent cohesion in innovation periods as a co-benefit of the program. This analysis associates the social and healthy behavior dimensions of a program occurring in natural environments under a systemic approach.
The present study aimed to investigate an interaction between energy intake, physical activity and UCP2 gene variation on weight gain and adiposity changes in Indonesian adults. This is a prospective cohort study conducted in 323 healthy adults living in the city of Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Energy intake, physical activity, body weight, BMI, percentage body fat and waist:hip ratio (WHR) were measured at baseline and after 2 years while UCP2 -866G/A gene variation was determined at baseline. We reported that after 2 years subjects had a significant increment in body weight, BMI, body fat and reduction in WHR (all P < 0·05). In all subjects, total energy intake was significantly correlated with changes in body weight (β = 0·128, P = 0·023) and body fat (β = 0·123, P = 0·030). Among subjects with the GG genotype, changes in energy intake were positively correlated with changes in body weight (β = 0·232, P = 0·016) and body fat (β = 0·201, P = 0·034). These correlations were insignificant among those with AA + GA genotypes (all P > 0·05). In summary, we show that UCP2 gene variation might influence the adiposity response towards changes in energy intake. Subjects with the GG genotype of UCP2 -866G/A gene were more responsive to energy intake, thus more prone to weight gain due to overeating.
Obesity is a risk factor for severe complications and death from the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Public health efforts to control the pandemic may alter health behaviors related to weight gain, inflammation, and poor cardiometabolic health, exacerbating the prevalence of obesity, poor immune health, and chronic diseases.
We reviewed how the pandemic adversely influences many of these behaviors, specifically physical activity, sedentary behaviors, sleep, and dietary intakes, and provided individual level strategies that may be used to mitigate them.
At the community level and higher, public health and health care professionals need to advocate for intervention strategies and policy changes that address these behaviors, such as increasing nutrition assistance programs and creating designated areas for recreation and active transportation, to reduce disparities among vulnerable populations.
The long-lasting impact of the pandemic on health behaviors, and the possibility of a second COVID-19 wave, emphasize the need for creative and evolving, multi-level approaches to assist individuals in adapting their health behaviors to prevent both chronic and infectious diseases.
To conduct formative research using qualitative methods among stakeholders of secondary schools to explore their perceptions, barriers and facilitators related to healthy eating and physical activity (PA) among Malaysian adolescents.
A qualitative study involving eight focus groups and twelve in-depth interviews. Focus groups and interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. An inductive thematic analysis approach was used to analyse the data.
Four secondary schools in Perak and Selangor states (two urban and two rural schools) in Malaysia.
Focus groups were conducted with seventy-six adolescents aged 13–14 years, and in-depth interviews were conducted with four headmasters, four PA education teachers and four food canteen operators.
Stakeholders thought that adolescents’ misperceptions, limited availability of healthy options, unhealthy food preferences and affordability were important challenges preventing healthy eating at school. Low-quality physical education (PE) classes, limited adolescent participation and teachers’ commitment during lessons were perceived as barriers to adolescents being active at school. Affordability was the main challenge for adolescents from rural schools. Stakeholders perceived that a future school-based intervention should improve the availability and subsidies for healthy foods, provide health education/training for both adolescents and PE teachers, enhance active adolescent participation in PE and develop social support mechanisms to facilitate engagement with PA.
These findings provide important insights into developing school-based lifestyle interventions to improve healthy eating and strengthening PA of Malaysian adolescents.