This study was designed as a cross-sectional questionnaire-based survey of low back pain (LBP) in 13- to 16-year-old Danish school children. The cohort consisted of 671 boys and 718 girls in eighth and ninth grade in 46 municipal schools in three counties of Sealand. All the pupils filled in a questionnaire with LBP as the main topic and were at the same time examined by the school doctors. The first part of the questionnaire contained questions about leisure time sports activity, TV watching, PC use, job in leisure time and smoking. The second part dealt with LBP in relation to frequency and severity, influence on daily living and use of the health system. The school doctor measured body height and weight, (BMI), degree of hypermobility and the tightness of the hamstring muscles. The results showed a cumulative life-time prevalence of LBP of 58.9%, a 1-year prevalence of 50.8% and an increase in LBP prevalence of 6.4% from 14 to 15 years of age, independent of gender. Fourteen percent (141 F, 54 M) fulfilled the criteria for general hypermobility and 12.2% (45 F, 124 M) had tightness of hamstring muscles of more than 40 °. Recurrent/continuous LBP in a moderate to severe degree was recorded in 19.4% of children (182 F, 88 M). This was positively correlated to female gender, BMI more than 25 kg/m2, competitive sport for boys, poor physical fitness, daily smoking, heavy jobs in leisure time, increased use of the health system and reduced life quality. Stepwise logistic regression analysis indicates that female gender, daily smoking and heavy jobs are important associated factors for severe LBP in adolescents, with an observed probability of 46% if all factors are present. We don’t know yet whether these factors are of any causal importance in the development of severe LBP.
Key words Low back pain; Adolescents; Epidemiology; Smoking; Physical activity; Hypermobility
This cross-sectional study examined factors related to children’s physical fitness and activity levels in Taiwan.
A total of 331 Taiwanese children, aged 7 and 8, and their mothers participated in the study. Children performed physical fitness tests, recorded their physical activities during two weekdays and completed self-esteem questionnaires. Research assistants measured the children’s body mass and stature. Mothers completed demographic, parenting style and physical activity questionnaires.
Attending urban school, lower body mass index (BMI), older age and better muscular endurance contributed to the variance in better aerobic capacity, and attending rural school and better aerobic capacity contributed to the variance in better muscular endurance in boys. Attending urban school, lower BMI and better athletic competence contributed to the variance in better aerobic capacity, and younger age, rural school and higher household income contributed to the variance in better flexibility in girls.
Despite the limitations of the study, with many countries and regions, including Taiwan, now emphasizing the importance of improving physical fitness and activity in children, an intervention that is gender-, geographically, and developmentally appropriate can improve the likelihood of successful physical fitness and activity programmes.
Body Mass Index; Children; Chinese; Physical Activity; Physical Fitness; Taiwan
Athletics is the most prominent extracurricular activity in U.S. secondary schools in terms of student participation and school budgets. The latter is often justified on the grounds that healthy bodies produce healthy minds, that school sports boost school spirit, and that participation in school-based sports increases students’ self-esteem. In this article we examine the interrelationships among participation in a school-based sport and the benefits assumed to be associated with it. Specifically, we test a model that postulates that school spirit, operationalized as attachment to school, and healthy bodies, operationalized as a sense of physical well-being, mediate the relationship between school sports and self-esteem. Data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health on Caucasian and African American girls and boys were employed to test the model. School attachment and physical well-being absorbed the statistical effect of participating in a sport for all four gender-by-race groups. Among Caucasian girls a negative residual effect of sports participation was observed, which suggests that sports participation encapsulates multiple effects with contradictory influences. For African American girls school attachment by itself was not a significant mediator of the effect of sports participation on self-esteem. For all groups a sense of physical well-being was the more powerful mediator.
Family-school collaboration related to children’s physical development has become increasingly important as childhood obesity rates continue to rise. The present study described the development and implementation of a literacy-based, family component of a school-based health education program and investigated its viability, acceptability, and effectiveness. Interactive children’s books were the mechanism by which students, parents, and teachers received consistent messages at home and school regarding nutrition information. The home-school intervention served to bridge home and school cultures in an urban population. Preliminary process evaluation results indicated that the interactive children’s books were feasible to implement in the school context. Parents, children, and teachers had positive perceptions of the books. Parents who received the books demonstrated increased knowledge of 5 a Day, the primary nutrition message communicated in the program. Although not statistically significant, after the first and second years of intervention, parents in the experimental group reported that their children were eating 0.54 and 0.36 additional servings of fruit and vegetables per day compared with children in the control group. The program did not seem to impact the availability and accessibility of fruits and vegetables at home.
Data from the in-school survey of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health on girls and boys who claim a Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban heritage were employed to test two hypotheses: (1) Participating in a school-based sport is associated with self-esteem, and (2) school attachment and a sense of physical well-being mediate this relationship. The first hypothesis was partially confirmed in that participation in school sports was associated with self-esteem among Mexican American adolescent girls and boys, Puerto Rican girls, and Cuban American boys, but not among Cuban American girls nor Puerto Rican boys. The second hypothesis was confirmed in that, where there was a significant relationship between participating in a school sport and self-esteem, school attachment and physical well-being mediated this relationship. The results underscore the need to study psychosocial processes separately among Latino subgroups and to examine gender within each subgroup.
Childhood obesity is multi-factorial and determined to a large extent by dietary habits, physical activity and sedentary behaviours. Previous research has shown that school-based programmes are effective but that their effectiveness can be improved by including a parental component. At present, there is a lack of effective parental support programmes for improvement of diet and physical activity and prevention of obesity in children.
This paper describes the rationale and design of a parental support programme to promote healthy dietary habits and physical activity in six-year-old children starting school. The study is performed in close collaboration with the school health care and is designed as a cluster-randomised controlled trial with a mixed methods approach. In total, 14 pre-school classes are included from a municipality in Stockholm county where there is large variation in socio-economic status between the families. The school classes are randomised to intervention (n = 7) and control (n = 7) groups including a total of 242 children. The intervention is based on social cognitive theory and consists of three main components: 1) a health information brochure; 2) two motivational interviewing sessions with the parents; and 3) teacher-led classroom activities with the children. The primary outcomes are physical activity in the children measured objectively by accelerometry, children's dietary and physical activity habits measured with a parent-proxy questionnaire and parents' self-efficacy measured by a questionnaire. Secondary outcomes are height, weight and waist circumference in the children. The duration of the intervention is six months and includes baseline, post intervention and six months follow-up measurements. Linear and logistic regression models will be used to analyse differences between intervention and control groups in the outcome variables. Mediator and moderator analysis will be performed. Participants will be interviewed.
The results from this study will show if it is possible to promote a healthy lifestyle and a normal weight development among children from low-income districts with relatively limited efforts involving parents. Hopefully the study will provide new insights to the further development of effective programmes to prevent overweight and obesity in children.
Few studies have examined the benefits of regular physical activity, and risks of sedentary behaviour, in young children. This study investigated associations between participation in sports and screen-entertainment (as components of physical activity and sedentary behaviour), and emotional and behavioural problems in this population.
Cross-sectional analysis of data from 13470 children (50.9% boys) participating in the nationally representative UK Millennium Cohort Study. Time spent participating in sports clubs outside of school, and using screen-entertainment, was reported by the child's mother at child age 5 years, when mental health was also measured using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire.
45% of children did not participate in sport clubs and 61% used screen-entertainment for ≥ 2 hours per day. Children who participated in sport had fewer total difficulties; emotional, conduct, hyperactivity-inattention and peer relationship problems; and more prosocial behaviours. These relationships were similar in boys and girls. Boys and girls who used screen-entertainment for any duration, and participated in sport, had fewer emotional and behavioural problems, and more prosocial behaviours, than children who used screen-entertainment for ≥ 2 hours per day and did not participate in sport.
Longer durations of screen-entertainment usage are not associated with mental health problems in young children. However, our findings suggest an association between sport and better mental health. Further research based on longitudinal data is required to examine causal pathways in these associations and to determine the potential role of this and other forms of physical activity in preventing mental health disorders.
The school has been identified as a key arena for physical activity promotion for young people. Effective change of physical activity behaviour requires identification of consistent and modifiable correlates. The study explores students' interests in school physical activity and facilities in the school environment and examines their associations with students' participation in physical activity during recess and their cross-level interaction effect.
This cross-sectional study was based on a national representative sample of Norwegian secondary schools and grade 8 students who participated in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) 2005/06 study. The final sample comprised 68 schools and 1347 students. Physical environment characteristics were assessed through questionnaires completed by the principals, and students' physical activity and interests in physical activity were assessed through student self-completion questionnaires.
Most students were interested in more opportunities for physical activity in school. Multilevel logistic regression models demonstrated that students attending schools with many facilities had 4.49 times (95% Confidence Interval (CI) = 1.93–10.44) higher odds of being physically active compared to students in schools with fewer facilities when adjusting for socio-economic status, sex and interests in school physical activity. Also open fields (Odds Ratio (OR) = 4.31, 95% CI = 1.65–11.28), outdoor obstacle course (OR = 1.78, 95% CI = 1.32–2.40), playground equipment (OR = 1.73, 95% CI = 1.24–2.42) and room with cardio and weightlifting equipment (OR = 1.58, 95%CI = 1.18–2.10) were associated with increased participation in physical activity. Both students' overall interests and the physical facilitation of the school environment significantly contributed to the prediction of recess physical activity. The interaction term demonstrated that students' interests might moderate the effect of facilities on recess physical activity.
The findings support the use of an ecological approach and multilevel analyses in the investigation of correlates of physical activity that allows for a broader understanding of the influence of and interaction between factors at multiple levels on physical activity behaviour. In the promotion of physical activity in lower secondary schools, the study suggests that programmes should include a focus on environmental facilitation and incorporate strategies to increase students' interests for school physical activity.
Sport participation makes an important contribution to children’s overall physical activity. Understanding influences on sports participation is important and the family environment is considered key, however few studies have explored the mechanisms by which the family environment influences children’s sport participation. The purpose of this study was to examine whether attitude, perceived behavioural control, health belief and enjoyment mediate associations between the family environment and 10–12 year-old children’s sports participation.
Children aged 10–12 years ( = 7234) and one of their parents (n = 6002) were recruited from 175 schools in seven European countries in 2010. Children self-reported their weekly duration of sports participation, physical activity equipment items at home and the four potential mediator variables. Parents responded to items on financial, logistic and emotional support, reinforcement, modelling and co-participation in physical activity. Cross-sectional single and multiple mediation analyses were performed for 4952 children with complete data using multi-level regression analyses.
Availability of equipment (OR = 1.16), financial (OR = 1.53), logistic (OR = 1.47) and emotional (OR = 1.51) support, and parental modelling (OR = 1.07) were positively associated with participation in ≥ 30mins/wk of sport. Attitude, beliefs, perceived behavioural control and enjoyment mediated and explained between 21-34% of these associations. Perceived behavioural control contributed the most to the mediated effect for each aspect of the family environment.
Both direct (unmediated) and indirect (mediated) associations were found between most family environment variables and children’s sports participation. Thus, family-based physical activity interventions that focus on enhancing the family environment to support children’s sport participation are warranted.
Sport; Physical activity; Children; Family; Home; Determinants; Mediation; Cognitions
It has been suggested that prenatal stress contributes to the risk of obesity later in life. In a population–based cohort study, we examined whether prenatal stress related to maternal bereavement during pregnancy was associated with the risk of overweight in offspring during school age.
We followed 65,212 children born in Denmark from 1970–1989 who underwent health examinations from 7 to 13 years of age in public or private schools in Copenhagen. We identified 459 children as exposed to prenatal stress, defined by being born to mothers who were bereaved by death of a close family member from one year before pregnancy until birth of the child. We compared the prevalence of overweight between the exposed and the unexposed. Body mass index (BMI) values and prevalence of overweight were higher in the exposed children, but not significantly so until from 10 years of age and onwards, as compared with the unexposed children. For example, the adjusted odds ratio (OR) for overweight was 1.68 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08–2.61) at 12 years of age and 1.63 (95% CI 1.00–2.61) at 13 years of age. The highest ORs were observed when the death occurred in the period from 6 to 0 month before pregnancy (OR 3.31, 95% CI 1.71–6.42 at age 12, and OR 2.31, 95% CI 1.08–4.97 at age 13).
Our results suggest that severe pre-pregnancy stress is associated with an increased risk of overweight in the offspring in later childhood.
Latino children spend more time in sedentary activities than other American children, and only ~1 in 5 Latino children in public elementary and middle schools meet all 6 fitness standards in statewide fitness testing. Schools that facilitate physical activity (PA) by maintaining playgrounds and providing physical education classes have children who are more active and less overweight. The aims of the present study were to examine the extent to which several social and physical environmental changes in school settings resulted in observed changes in area characteristics and children’s activity levels during recess. Thirteen elementary schools serving predominately Mexican American children were randomized into control or activity and nutrition environmental intervention conditions. Playgrounds and activities were restructured in 6 intervention schools to promote more PA. After 1 y, there were no overall statistical differences between treatment groups in PA or sedentary behavior in these settings and results did not differ by gender. Changing the social and physical environments to promote children’s moderate-to-vigorous PA is important to the design of active and healthy recess environments. The present results are not conclusive as to the link between these interventions and actual behavior, but show sufficient promise for further population and setting specific research.
Schools can be effective settings for improving eating habits and physical activity, whereas it is more difficult to prevent obesity. A key challenge is the “implementation gap”. Trade-off must be made between expert-driven programmes on the one hand and contextual relevance, flexibility, participation and capacity building on the other. The aim of the Stockholm County Implementation Programme was to improve eating habits, physical activity, self-esteem, and promote a healthy body weight in children aged 6–16 years. We describe the programme, intervention fidelity, impacts and outcomes after two years of intervention.
Nine out of 18 schools in a middle-class municipality in Sweden agreed to participate whereas the other nine schools served as the comparison group (quasi-experimental study). Tailored action plans were developed by school health teams on the basis of a self-assessment questionnaire called KEY assessing strengths and weaknesses of each school’s health practices and environments. Process evaluation was carried out by the research staff. Impacts at school level were assessed yearly by the KEY. Outcome measures at student level were anthropometry (measured), and health behaviours assessed by a questionnaire, at baseline and after 2 years. All children in grade 2, 4 and 7 were invited to participate (n=1359) of which 59.8% consented. The effect of the intervention on health behaviours, self-esteem, weight status and BMIsds was evaluated by unilevel and multilevel regression analysis adjusted for gender and baseline values.
Programme fidelity was high demonstrating feasibility, but fidelity to school action plans was only 48% after two years. Positive and significant (p<.05) impacts were noted in school health practices and environments after 2 years. At student level no significant intervention effects were seen for the main outcomes.
School staff has the capacity to create their own solutions and make changes at school level on the basis of self-assessment and facilitation by external agents. However these changes were challenging to sustain over time and had little impact on student behaviours or weight status. Better student outcomes could probably be attained by a more focused and evidence-based approach with stepwise implementation of action plans.
Children; Eating habits; Exercise; Fidelity; Health promotion; Obesity prevention; Process evaluation; Quasi-experimental study; Self-esteem
Parents can set household practices that influence children’s behaviors. The objective of this study was to determine whether children (children and adolescents aged 9–18 y) who live in a household that has healthful practices related to behaviors associated with obesity have a lower body mass index (BMI).
We analyzed data from the 2005 Styles mail panel survey (N = 1,685 parents and children). We used multiple logistic regression to assess associations between 4 household practices and 3 children’s behaviors: watching television, participating in vigorous physical activity, and purchasing sodas and snacks at school.
Children watched more television if they had a television in their bedrooms, were less active as a family, and had no junk food restrictions at home. Children in less active families participated in about half as much VPA as children in more active families. Children purchased more sodas and snacks at school if they had a television in their bedrooms and their family consumed more meals at fast-food restaurants. Children whose families were less active were more likely to have a self-reported BMI at or above the 85th percentile. In addition, children who watched more television were more likely to have a self-reported BMI at or above the 85th percentile.
Household practices were associated with children’s behaviors and self-reported BMI. A household profile that includes being active as a family may counteract the increase in childhood obesity.
Smoking prevalence remains high, particularly among adolescents and young adults with lower educational levels, posing a serious public health problem. There is limited evidence of effective smoking cessation interventions in this population.
To test the efficacy of an individually tailored, fully automated text messaging (short message service, SMS)–based intervention for smoking cessation in young people.
A 2-arm cluster randomized controlled trial, using school class as the randomization unit, was conducted to test the efficacy of the SMS text messaging intervention compared to an assessment-only control group. Students who smoked were proactively recruited via online screening in vocational school classes. Text messages, tailored to demographic and smoking-related variables, were sent to the participants of the intervention group at least 3 times per week over a period of 3 months. A follow-up assessment was performed 6 months after study inclusion. The primary outcome measure was 7-day smoking abstinence. Secondary outcomes were 4-week smoking abstinence, cigarette consumption, stage of change, and attempts to quit smoking. We used regression models controlling for baseline differences between the study groups to test the efficacy of the intervention. Both complete-case analyses (CCA) and intention-to-treat analyses (ITT) were performed. Subgroup analyses were conducted for occasional and daily smokers.
A total of 2638 students in 178 vocational school classes in Switzerland participated in the online screening. Overall, 1012 persons met the inclusion criteria for study participation, and 755 persons (74.6%) participated in the study (intervention: n=372; control: n=383). Of the 372 program participants, 9 (2.4%) unsubscribed from the program during the intervention period. Six-month follow-up data were obtained for 559 study participants (74.0%). The 7-day smoking abstinence rate at follow-up was 12.5% in the intervention group and 9.6% in the control group (ITT: P=.92). No differences between the study groups were observed in 4-week point prevalence abstinence rates. The decrease in the mean number of cigarettes smoked per day from baseline to follow-up was higher in the intervention group than in the control group (ITT: P=.002). No differences between the groups were observed in stage of change (ITT: P=.82) and quit attempts (ITT: P=.38). The subgroup analyses revealed lower cigarette consumption in both occasional and daily smokers in the intervention group compared to the control group. Occasional smokers in the intervention group made more attempts to quit smoking than occasional smokers in the control group.
This study demonstrated the potential of an SMS text message–based intervention to reach a high proportion of young smokers with low education levels. The intervention did not have statistically significant short-term effects on smoking cessation; however, it resulted in statistically significant lower cigarette consumption. Additionally, it resulted in statistically significant more attempts to quit smoking in occasional smokers.
International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number (ISRCTN): 19739792; http://www.controlled-trials.com/ISRCTN19739792 (Archived by WebCite at http://webcitation.org/6IGETTHmr).
smoking cessation; text messaging (SMS); young people; school; students
This study examined physical activity opportunities and barriers at 36 geographically diverse middle schools participating in the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls.
Principals, physical education and health education department heads, and program leaders were interviewed to assess policies and instructional practices that support physical activity.
Schools provided approximately 110 hours per year in physical education instruction. Approximately 20% of students walked or bicycled to school. Eighty-three percent of schools offered interscholastic sports and 69% offered intramural sports. Most schools offered programs for girls, but on average, only 24 girls (~5%) in the schools attended any programs. Only 25% of schools allowed after school free play. An overall score created to assess school environmental support for physical activity indicated that, on average, schools met 6.7 items of 10 items. Free/reduced lunch program participation versus not (p = .04), perceived priority of physical education instruction over coaching (p = .02), and safety for walking/bicycling to school (p = .02) predicted environmental support score.
Schools have policies and practices that support physical activity, although unfavorable practices exist. Schools must work with community partners and officials to provide environments that optimally support physical activity, especially schools that serve low-income students.
middle schools; physical activity; adolescents; socioeconomic status
A positive association between time spent on sedentary screen-based activities and physical complaints has been reported, but the cumulative association between different types of screen-based activities and physical complaints has not been examined thoroughly.
The cross-sectional association between screen-based activity and physical complaints (backache and headache) among students was examined in a sample of 31022 adolescents from Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Greenland, as part of the Health behaviour in school-aged children 2005/06 (HBSC) study. Daily hours spent on screen-based activities and levels of physical complaints were assessed using self-reports.
Logistic regression analysis indicated that computer use, computer gaming and TV viewing contributed uniquely to prediction of weekly backache and headache. The magnitude of associations was consistent across types of screen based activities, and across gender.
The observed associations indicate that time spent on screen-based activity is a contributing factor to physical complaints among young people, and that effects accumulate across different types of screen-based activities.
Organized sport provides one option for children to be physically active. However, there is a paucity of information about the relationship between children’s participation in organized sport and their diet, and specifically their sports drink consumption. Therefore, the relationship between sports participation in children and the consumption of sports drinks, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and other components of diet was examined.
A cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted using baseline data from the Action Schools! BC Dissemination study cohort (n = 1421; 9.90 (0.58) y; 736 girls, 685 boys). The differences between the dietary behaviours of children participating in organized sport (sport) versus those that did not participate (non-sport) was examined. A modified Physical Activity Questionnaire for Older Children (PAQ-C) was used to measure physical activity levels and participation in organized sport. A Food Frequency Questionnaire (FFQ) and 24-hour dietary recall were used to assess eating behaviour and macronutrient intake (including protein, fat, and carbohydrate as well as sugar, fibre and total calories). Fruit, vegetable and beverage quantities were hand-tallied from the dietary recall. Fruit, vegetable and beverage frequency was assessed using the FFQ. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used to analyse differences between groups and a chi-square test of association was use to determine if participation in sport was significantly associated with the proportion of children consuming sports drinks and SSBs, and with gender.
Children involved in sport had a lower body mass index (BMI) and were more physically active than children in the non-sport group (p < 0.01). Only a small number (n = 20/1421) of children consumed sports drinks and no difference in consumption of sports drink between sport and non-sport participants (p > .05) was observed. However, children involved in organized sport consumed more total calories, fat, fibre, fruit, vegetables and non-flavoured milk (p < 0.01) than non-sport children.
Children involved in organized sport were more physically active, consumed a healthier diet than non-participants and on average had lower BMI’s despite consuming more calories. As consumption of sports drinks among this age group was low, this may be an ideal time to begin educating children and their parents about the appropriate consumption of sports drinks and the perils of consuming too many SSBs, specifically.
Organized sport; Children; Diet; Physical activity; Sugar-sweetened beverage; Sports drink
The implementation of school policies to support the adoption of physical activity is one of the main strategies recommended to increase physical activity levels among this age group. However, documentation of the effect of such policies is so far limited. The purpose of this study was to explore policy-related practices to support physical activity in Norwegian secondary schools and their association with recess physical activity. Emphasis was given to examine the association between policies and physical activity, over and beyond, individual level interests and environmental factors and to examine cross-level interaction effects. This cross-sectional study was based on a nationally representative sample of Norwegian secondary schools and grade 8 students who participated in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) 2005/06 study. The final sample comprised 68 schools and 1347 students. Data were collected through questionnaires. The results showed that schools with a written policy for physical activity and schools offering organized non-curricular physical activity several times a week had a higher proportion of students reporting daily participation in recess physical activity. Multilevel logistic regression analysis demonstrated a cross-level main effect of the policy index after controlling for sex, socio-economic status, individual-level interests and the physical environment. A significant contribution of adding the policy index to the prediction of recess physical activity above that provided by the individual-level interests and the physical environment was demonstrated. The results are encouraging and give scientific support to policy documents recommending the implementation of school policies to increase physical activity.
physical activity; school; adolescents; policies
In June 1997, the American Academy of Pediatrics introduced a resolution asking the American Medical Association (AMA) to support efforts to place certified athletic trainers in all secondary schools. The AMA Council on Scientific Affairs studied that resolution and presented this report to the AMA House of Delegates in June 1998.
To identify the professional responsibilities, educational requirements, and current use of certified athletic trainers in the prevention and care of high school sports injuries.
MEDLINE and HealthSTAR databases were searched for English-language articles published from 1980 to 1998. Additional references were derived from references in pertinent articles, communication with experts, and the Internet sites of athletic training and sports medicine associations.
One in 5 of approximately 6 million adolescents who participate in high school sports each year sustains a sport-related injury. Most of these injuries are minor and occur during practices rather than competitions. Approximately 1 of every 100000 high school athletes will sustain a catastrophic injury. About 35% of US high schools use the services of a certified athletic trainer, who, under a physician's supervision, is responsible for the prevention and care of athletic injuries and coordination of the school athletic health program.
Emphasis should be given to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of participants in high school sports. Whereas most high school sports injuries are minor, adequately trained personnel should be present on site to ensure that such injuries are recognized early, treated immediately, and allowed to heal properly, thereby reducing the risk of more serious injury or reinjury. For such care, team physicians and coaches should have the assistance of a certified athletic trainer.
athletic injuries; athletic training; high school sports; injury prevention; adolescent health
Physical aggression is an important issue in North American populations. The importance of student social environments in the occurrence of physical aggression requires focused study. In this study, reports of physical aggression were examined in relation to social environment factors among national samples of students from Canada and the United States.
Students in grades 6–10 from the US (n=14,049) and Canada (n=7,058) who had participated in the Health Behaviour in School-aged Children Survey were studied. Rates of student physical aggression were compared between the two countries. School, family, socioeconomic, and peer-related factors were considered as potential risk factors. A simple social environment risk score was developed using the US data and was subsequently tested in the Canadian sample.
Risks for physical aggression were consistently higher among US vs. Canadian students, but the magnitude of these differences was modest. The relative odds of physical aggression increased with reported environmental risk. To illustrate, US boys in grades 6 to 8 reporting the highest social-environment risk score (5+) experienced a relative odds of physical aggression 4.02 (95% CI 2.7–5.9) times higher than those reporting the lowest score (adjusted OR for risk scores 0 through 5+: 1.00, 1.19, 2.10, 2.01, 3.71, 4.02; ptrend<0.001).
Unexpectedly, rates of physical aggression and associations between social environments and student aggression were remarkably similar in Canada and the United States. Family, peer, and school social environments serve as risk or protective factors, with significant cumulative impact on physical aggression in both countries. Given the observed high rates and the many negative effects of aggression on long-term health, school policies aimed at the reduction of such behavior remain a clear priority.
adolescents; aggression; fighting; social environments; violence
Low self-esteem in adolescents has been associated with a number of risk and protective factors in previous studies, but results have been mixed. Our objective was to examine characteristics associated with low self-esteem in a large national sample of young adolescents.
Population-based correlational study. A sample of 6522 adolescents, aged 12-16 years, was surveyed by phone as part of a national study of media and substance use. Self-esteem was measured with three questions that assessed global self worth and physical appearance. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine the relation between self-esteem and socio-demographics, child personality characteristics, weight status, daily TV time, parenting style, school performance and team sports participation. Interactions among gender, race, and weight status were examined.
In multivariate analysis, female gender, Hispanic race, overweight and obesity, sensation seeking, rebelliousness, and daily TV time were each independently associated with lower self-esteem. Teens of Black race, with higher parental responsiveness and demandingness, better school performance or involvement in team sports were less likely to report low self-esteem. Black females were at lower risk and Hispanic males were at higher risk for low esteem than peers of similar gender of other races.
Low self-esteem was associated with a number of modifiable risk factors including obesity, television time, team sports participation, school performance and parenting style that should be discussed with teens and parents at health supervision visits. Further research examining race and gender-specific factors that serve to moderate risk for poor self-esteem in adolescents is warranted.
Adolescent; self-esteem; obesity
OBJECTIVE--To examine the effect of physical training on physical fitness and blood pressure in children aged 9-11 years. DESIGN--Prospective randomised controlled intervention study of a sample of children drawn from a population survey of coronary risk factors in children. SETTING--Odense, Denmark. SUBJECTS--69 children with mean blood pressure greater than or equal to 95th centile (hypertensive group) and 68 with mean blood pressure less than 95th centile (normotensive group), randomly selected from a population of 1369 children. INTERVENTION--67 children were randomised to receive three extra lessons a week of an ordinary school physical education programme for eight months. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Physical fitness assessed by calculation of maximum oxygen uptake and blood pressure recorded by one unblinded observer. RESULTS--After three months neither blood pressure nor physical fitness had changed significantly. After adjustment for values in weight, height, heart rate, and the variable in question before training physical fitness rose significantly at the end of eight months' training, by 3.7 mlO2/kg/min (95% confidence interval 2.2 to 5.3) in the normotensive training subgroup and by 2.1 mlO2/kg/min (0.1 to 4.2) in the hypertensive training subgroup compared with that in the controls. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures in the training subgroups fell significantly by 6.5 mm Hg (3.2 to 9.9) and 4.1 mm Hg (1.7 to 6.6) respectively in the normotensive group and by 4.9 mm Hg (0.7 to 9.2) and 3.8 mm Hg (0.9 to 6.6) respectively in the hypertensive group. CONCLUSIONS--Physical training lowers blood pressure and improves physical fitness in children and might have implications for an important non-pharmacological approach to primary prevention of essential hypertension.
To examine the relationship between quality of life, self-rated health, and well-being and to establish the relationship between discontent with familial financial situation and health in adolescents living in the Tuzla Canton.
The study comprised a random sample of 356 high school students aged 16, coming from 15 different classes of 16 high schools in the Tuzla municipality. Data were obtained using a validated self-reporting questionnaire on demographic and socioeconomic background, structure, and dynamics of the adolescent’s family, life-style, perception, and satisfaction with the financial situation and current health status, as well as social relationships and health care provided in school settings.
In 11% (n = 40) of students’ households several poverty indicators were present. Twenty three percent (n = 82) of the examinees were dissatisfied with the financial situation in their families, and 73% of them came from local, non-refugee families. They presented with progressive symptoms of unhappiness and expressed discontent with their health condition, and even self-hate in comparison with adolescents who were satisfied with the financial situation in their families (χ2 = 21.5; P = 0.001). The prevalence of self-rated mental symptoms was significantly lower among adolescents who were satisfied with their financial situation than in those who were dissatisfied (symptoms of depression 57/274 vs 40/82, P = 0.001; sadness 73/274 vs 45/82, P = 0.001; moroseness 34/274 vs 19/82, P = 0.001; under-sedation 29/274 vs 18/82, P = 0.001; bad marks and school failures 31/274 vs 20/82, P = 0.001; suicidal attempts 11/274 vs 7/82, P = 0.001, respectively). Using linear regression analysis we found that adolescents’ satisfaction with the financial situation was a major factor predicting depression (OR, 1.57; 95% CI, 1.158-1.855), loss of appetite (OR, 0.82; 95% CI, 0.561-1.235), distraction (OR, 1.19; 95% CI, 0.837-1.154), unhappiness (OR, 1.05; 95% CI, 0.686-1.405), and inability to perform at school as expected (OR, 1.24; 95% CI, 0.903-1.581).
Discontent with the financial situation significantly reduces the quality of mental health, leads to inappropriate patterns of behavior, and endangers future perspectives and well-being of adolescents.
Physical inactivity has been deemed a significant, contributing factor to childhood overweight and obesity. In recent years, many school systems removed recess and/or physical education from their curriculum due to growing pressure to increase academic scores. With the vast majority of children’s time spent in school, alternative strategies to re-introduce physical activity back into schools are necessary. A creative yet underutilized solution to engage children in physical activity may be in before-school programs. The objective of the proposed study is to examine the effect of an unstructured, moderate to vigorous, before-school physical activity program on academic performance, classroom behavior, emotions, and other health related measures.
Children in 3rd–5th grade will participate in a before-school (7:30–8:15 a.m.), physical activity program for 12 weeks, 3 days a week. Children will be able to choose their preferred activity and asked to sustain physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity with individual heart rate monitored during each session.
The proposed study explores an innovative method of engaging and increasing physical activity in children. The results of this study will provide evidence to support the feasibility of an unstructured, moderate to vigorous, before-school physical activity program in children and provide insight regarding the ideal physical activity intensity and duration necessary to achieve a positive increase in academic performance.
ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01505244
Before-school physical activity; Physical activity and academics; School health
Physical activity is associated with better health. Two sources of activity for children are walking to school and taking part in organised sports and activities. This study uses a large national cohort to examine factors associated with participation in these activities.
The Millennium Cohort study contains 5 year follow-up of 17,561 singleton children recruited between 2000-2002 in the UK. All participants were interviewed in their own homes at 9 months, 3 years and 5 years follow-up and all measures were self reports. Logistic regression and likelihood ratio tests were used.
Children are less likely to walk to school as income and parental education increase [Adjusted odds: 0.7 (95%CI: 0.6-0.8) for higher income/education compared to low income/no qualifications]. However, if the parent plays with the child in high income families the child is more likely to walk to school [Adjusted odds: 1.67 (95%CI: 1.3-2.1)]. Children taking part in organised activities are from higher income, higher education families, with a car, in a "good" area with non-working mothers. However, in low socio-economic families where the parent plays with the child the child is more likely to take part in organised activities [Adjusted odds: 2.0 (95% CI: 1.5-2.7)].
Income is an important determinant of the type of activity available to children. Families that report good health behaviours (non-smoking, low TV viewing) and play with their children show higher levels of physical activity. Thus, parenting practice appears to have a strong impact on their child's physical activity.