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1.  Beverage consumption among European adolescents in the HELENA Study 
Background and Objective
Our objective was to describe the fluid and energy consumption of beverages in a large sample of European adolescents
We used data from 2,741 European adolescents residing in 8 countries participating in the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Cross Sectional Study (HELENA-CSS). We averaged two 24-hour recalls, collected using the HELENA-dietary assessment tool. By gender and age subgroup (12.5–14.9 y and 15–17.5 y), we examined per capita and per consumer fluid (milliliters [mL]) and energy (kilojoules [kJ]) intake from beverages and percent consuming ten different beverage groups.
Mean beverage consumption was 1611 ml/d in boys and 1316 ml/d in girls. Energy intake from beverages was about 1966 kJ/d and 1289 kJ/d in European boys and girls respectively, with sugar-sweetened beverages (carbonated and non-carbonated beverages, including soft drinks, fruit drinks and powders/concentrates) contributing to daily energy intake more than other groups of beverages. Boys and older adolescents consumed the most amount of per capita total energy from beverages. Among all age and gender subgroups sugar-sweetened beverages, sweetened milk (including chocolate milk and flavored yogurt drinks all with added sugar), low-fat milk, and fruit juice provided the highest amount of per capita energy. Water was consumed by the largest percent of adolescents followed by sugar-sweetened beverages, fruit juice, and sweetened milk. Among consumers, water provided the greatest fluid intake and sweetened milk accounted for the largest amount of energy intake followed by sugar-sweetened beverages. Patterns of energy intake from each beverage varied between countries.
European adolescents consume an average of 1455 ml/d of beverages, with the largest proportion of consumers and the largest fluid amount coming from water. Beverages provide 1609 kJ/d, of which 30.4%, 20.7%, and 18.1% comes from sugar-sweetened beverages, sweetened milk, and fruit juice respectively.
PMCID: PMC3392586  PMID: 21952695
adolescents; Europe; sugar-sweetened beverages; sweetened milk; fruit juice
2.  Physical Activity Attenuates the Effect of Low Birth Weight on Insulin Resistance in Adolescents 
Diabetes  2011;60(9):2295-2299.
To examine whether physical activity influences the association between birth weight and insulin resistance in adolescents.
The study comprised adolescents who participated in two cross-sectional studies: the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA) study (n = 520, mean age = 14.6 years) and the Swedish part of the European Youth Heart Study (EYHS) (n = 269, mean age = 15.6 years). Participants had valid data on birth weight (parental recall), BMI, sexual maturation, maternal education, breastfeeding, physical activity (accelerometry, counts/minute), fasting glucose, and insulin. Insulin resistance was assessed by homeostasis model assessment–insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Maternal education level and breastfeeding duration were reported by the mothers.
There was a significant interaction of physical activity in the association between birth weight and HOMA-IR (logarithmically transformed) in both the HELENA study and the EYHS (P = 0.05 and P = 0.03, respectively), after adjusting for sex, age, sexual maturation, BMI, maternal education level, and breastfeeding duration. Stratified analyses by physical activity levels (below/above median) showed a borderline inverse association between birth weight and HOMA-IR in the low-active group (standardized β = −0.094, P = 0.09, and standardized β = −0.156, P = 0.06, for HELENA and EYHS, respectively), whereas no evidence of association was found in the high-active group (standardized β = −0.031, P = 0.62, and standardized β = 0.053, P = 0.55, for HELENA and EYHS, respectively).
Higher levels of physical activity may attenuate the adverse effects of low birth weight on insulin sensitivity in adolescents. More observational data, from larger and more powerful studies, are required to test these findings.
PMCID: PMC3161315  PMID: 21752955
3.  Sedentary behaviours and its association with bone mass in adolescents: the HELENA cross-sectional study 
BMC Public Health  2012;12:971.
We aimed to examine whether time spent on different sedentary behaviours is associated with bone mineral content (BMC) in adolescents, after controlling for relevant confounders such as lean mass and objectively measured physical activity (PA), and if so, whether extra-curricular participation in osteogenic sports could have a role in this association.
Participants were 359 Spanish adolescents (12.5-17.5 yr, 178 boys,) from the HELENA-CSS (2006–07). Relationships of sedentary behaviours with bone variables were analysed by linear regression. The prevalence of low BMC (at least 1SD below the mean) and time spent on sedentary behaviours according to extracurricular sport participation was analysed by Chi-square tests.
In boys, the use of internet for non-study was negatively associated with whole body BMC after adjustment for lean mass and moderate to vigorous PA (MVPA). In girls, the time spent studying was negatively associated with femoral neck BMC. Additional adjustment for lean mass slightly reduced the negative association between time spent studying and femoral neck BMC. The additional adjustment for MVPA did not change the results at this site. The percentage of girls having low femoral neck BMC was significantly smaller in those participating in osteogenic sports (≥ 3 h/week) than in the rest, independently of the cut-off selected for the time spent studying.
The use of internet for non-study (in boys) and the time spent studying (in girls) are negatively associated with whole body and femoral neck BMC, respectively. In addition, at least 3 h/week of extra-curricular osteogenic sports may help to counteract the negative association of time spent studying on bone health in girls.
PMCID: PMC3508981  PMID: 23148760
Bone health; Sedentary behaviours; Adolescents; Physical activity and extra-curricular participation in sports
4.  Relationship between self-reported dietary intake and physical activity levels among adolescents: The HELENA study 
Evidence suggests possible synergetic effects of multiple lifestyle behaviors on health risks like obesity and other health outcomes. Therefore it is important to investigate associations between dietary and physical activity behavior, the two most important lifestyle behaviors influencing our energy balance and body composition. The objective of the present study is to describe the relationship between energy, nutrient and food intake and the physical activity level among a large group of European adolescents.
The study comprised a total of 2176 adolescents (46.2% male) from ten European cities participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study. Dietary intake and physical activity were assessed using validated 24-h dietary recalls and self-reported questionnaires respectively. Analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) were used to compare the energy and nutrient intake and the food consumption between groups of adolescents with different physical activity levels (1st to 3rd tertile).
In both sexes no differences were found in energy intake between the levels of physical activity. The most active males showed a higher intake of polysaccharides, protein, water and vitamin C and a lower intake of saccharides compared to less active males. Females with the highest physical activity level consumed more polysaccharides compared to their least active peers. Male and female adolescents with the highest physical activity levels, consumed more fruit and milk products and less cheese compared to the least active adolescents. The most active males showed higher intakes of vegetables and meat, fish, eggs, meat substitutes and vegetarian products compared to the least active ones. The least active males reported the highest consumption of grain products and potatoes. Within the female group, significantly lower intakes of bread and cereal products and spreads were found for those reporting to spend most time in moderate to vigorous physical activity. The consumption of foods from the remaining food groups, did not differ between the physical activity levels in both sexes.
It can be concluded that dietary habits diverge between adolescents with different self-reported physical activity levels. For some food groups a difference in intake could be found, which were reflected in differences in some nutrient intakes. It can also be concluded that physically active adolescents are not always inclined to eat healthier diets than their less active peers.
PMCID: PMC3045277  PMID: 21294914
5.  Clustering patterns of physical activity, sedentary and dietary behavior among European adolescents: The HELENA study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:328.
Evidence suggests possible synergetic effects of multiple lifestyle behaviors on health risks like obesity and other health outcomes. A better insight in the clustering of those behaviors, could help to identify groups who are at risk in developing chronic diseases. This study examines the prevalence and clustering of physical activity, sedentary and dietary patterns among European adolescents and investigates if the identified clusters could be characterized by socio-demographic factors.
The study comprised a total of 2084 adolescents (45.6% male), from eight European cities participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study. Physical activity and sedentary behavior were measured using self-reported questionnaires and diet quality was assessed based on dietary recall. Based on the results of those three indices, cluster analyses were performed. To identify gender differences and associations with socio-demographic variables, chi-square tests were executed.
Five stable and meaningful clusters were found. Only 18% of the adolescents showed healthy and 21% unhealthy scores on all three included indices. Males were highly presented in the cluster with high levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and low quality diets. The clusters with low levels of MVPA and high quality diets comprised more female adolescents. Adolescents with low educated parents had diets of lower quality and spent more time in sedentary activities. In addition, the clusters with high levels of MVPA comprised more adolescents of the younger age category.
In order to develop effective primary prevention strategies, it would be important to consider multiple health indices when identifying high risk groups.
PMCID: PMC3112135  PMID: 21586158
6.  Comparison of uniaxial and triaxial accelerometry in the assessment of physical activity among adolescents under free-living conditions: the HELENA study 
Different types of devices are available and the choice about which to use depends on various factors: cost, physical characteristics, performance, and the validity and intra- and interinstrument reliability. Given the large number of studies that have used uniaxial or triaxial devices, it is of interest to know whether the different devices give similar information about PA levels and patterns. The aim of this study was to compare physical activity (PA) levels and patterns obtained simultaneously by triaxial accelerometry and uniaxial accelerometry in adolescents in free-living conditions.
Sixty-two participants, aged 13-16 years, were recruited in this ancillary study, which is a part of the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence (HELENA). All participants wore a uniaxial accelerometer (ActiGraph GT1M®, Pensacola, FL) and a triaxial accelerometer (RT3®, Stayhealthy, Monrovia, CA) simultaneously for 7 days. The patterns were calculated by converting accelerometer data output as a percentage of time spent at sedentary, light, moderate, and vigorous PA per day. Analysis of output data from the two accelerometers were assessed by two different tests: Equivalence Test and Bland & Altman method.
The concordance correlation coefficient between the data from the triaxial accelerometer and uniaxial accelerometer at each intensity level was superior to 0.95. The ANOVA test showed a significant difference for the first three lower intensities while no significant difference was found for vigorous intensity. The difference between data obtained with the triaxial accelerometer and the uniaxial monitor never exceeded 2.1% and decreased as PA level increased. The Bland & Altman method showed good agreement between data obtained between the both accelerometers (p < 0.05).
Uniaxial and triaxial accelerometers do not differ in their measurement of PA in population studies, and either could be used in such studies.
PMCID: PMC3378459  PMID: 22409718
Accelerometers; Human locomotion; Energy expenditure; Youth
7.  Reliability and validity of the Adolescent Stress Questionnaire in a sample of European adolescents - the HELENA study 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:717.
Since stress is hypothesized to play a role in the etiology of obesity during adolescence, research on associations between adolescent stress and obesity-related parameters and behaviours is essential. Due to lack of a well-established recent stress checklist for use in European adolescents, the study investigated the reliability and validity of the Adolescent Stress Questionnaire (ASQ) for assessing perceived stress in European adolescents.
The ASQ was translated into the languages of the participating cities (Ghent, Stockholm, Vienna, Zaragoza, Pecs and Athens) and was implemented within the HELENA cross-sectional study. A total of 1140 European adolescents provided a valid ASQ, comprising 10 component scales, used for internal reliability (Cronbach α) and construct validity (confirmatory factor analysis or CFA). Contributions of socio-demographic (gender, age, pubertal stage, socio-economic status) characteristics to the ASQ score variances were investigated. Two-hundred adolescents also provided valid saliva samples for cortisol analysis to compare with the ASQ scores (criterion validity). Test-retest reliability was investigated using two ASQ assessments from 37 adolescents.
Cronbach α-values of the ASQ scales (0.57 to 0.88) demonstrated a moderate internal reliability of the ASQ, and intraclass correlation coefficients (0.45 to 0.84) established an insufficient test-retest reliability of the ASQ. The adolescents' gender (girls had higher stress scores than boys) and pubertal stage (those in a post-pubertal development had higher stress scores than others) significantly contributed to the variance in ASQ scores, while their age and socio-economic status did not. CFA results showed that the original scale construct fitted moderately with the data in our European adolescent population. Only in boys, four out of 10 ASQ scale scores were a significant positive predictor for baseline wake-up salivary cortisol, suggesting a rather poor criterion validity of the ASQ, especially in girls.
In our European adolescent sample, the ASQ had an acceptable internal reliability and construct validity and the adolescents' gender and pubertal stage systematically contributed to the ASQ variance, but its test-retest reliability and criterion validity were rather poor. Overall, the utility of the ASQ for assessing perceived stress in adolescents across Europe is uncertain and some aspects require further examination.
PMCID: PMC3188495  PMID: 21943341
8.  Reduced incidence of admissions for myocardial infarction associated with public smoking ban: before and after study 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2004;328(7446):977-980.
Objective To determine whether there was a change in hospital admissions for acute myocardial infarction while a local law banning smoking in public and in workplaces was in effect.
Design Analysis of admissions from December 1997 through November 2003 using Poisson analysis.
Setting Helena, Montana, a geographically isolated community with one hospital serving a population of 68 140.
Participants All patients admitted for acute myocardial infarction.
Main outcome measures Number of monthly admissions for acute myocardial infarction for people living in and outside Helena.
Results During the six months the law was enforced the number of admissions fell significantly (- 16 admissions, 95% confidence interval - 31.7 to - 0.3), from an average of 40 admissions during the same months in the years before and after the law to a total of 24 admissions during the six months the law was effect. There was a non-significant increase of 5.6 (- 5.2 to 16.4) in the number of admissions from outside Helena during the same period, from 12.4 in the years before and after the law to 18 while the law was in effect.
Conclusions Laws to enforce smoke-free workplaces and public places may be associated with an effect on morbidity from heart disease.
PMCID: PMC404491  PMID: 15066887
9.  Stress Response and the Adolescent Transition: Performance versus Peer Rejection Stressors 
Little is known about normative variation in stress response over the adolescent transition. This study examined neuroendocrine and cardiovascular responses to performance and peer rejection stressors over the adolescent transition in a normative sample. Participants were 82 healthy children (ages 7-12 years, n=39, 22 females) and adolescents (ages 13-17, n=43, 20 females) recruited through community postings. Following a habituation session, participants completed a performance (public speaking, mental arithmetic, mirror tracing) or peer rejection (exclusion challenges) stress session. Salivary cortisol, alpha amylase (sAA), systolic and diastolic blood pressure (SBP, DBP), and heart rate (HR) were measured throughout. Adolescents showed significantly greater cortisol, sAA, SBP and DBP stress response relative to children. Developmental differences were most pronounced in the performance stress session for cortisol and DBP, and in the peer rejection session for sAA and SBP. Heightened physiological stress responses in typical adolescents may facilitate adaptation to new challenges of adolescence and adulthood. In high-risk adolescents, this normative shift may tip the balance toward stress response dysregulation associated with depression and other psychopathology. Specificity of physiological response by stressor type highlights the importance of a multi-system approach to the psychobiology of stress and may also have implications for understanding trajectories to psychopathology.
PMCID: PMC2700625  PMID: 19144222
adolescent; child; stress; cortisol; cardiovascular; amylase; depression
10.  Motivational Cluster Profiles of Adolescent Athletes: An Examination of Differences in Physical-Self Perception 
The primary purpose of the present study was to identify motivational profiles of adolescent athletes using cluster analysis in non-Western culture. A second purpose was to examine relationships between physical self-perception differences of adolescent athletes and motivational profiles. One hundred and thirty six male (Mage = 17.46, SD = 1.25 years) and 80 female adolescent athletes (Mage = 17.61, SD = 1.19 years) from a variety of team sports including basketball, soccer, volleyball, and handball volunteered to participate in this study. The Sport Motivation Scale (SMS) and Physical Self-Perception Profile (PSPP) were administered to all participants. Hierarchical cluster analysis revealed a four-cluster solution for this sample: amotivated, low motivated, moderate motivated, and highly motivated. A 4 x 5 (Cluster x PSPP Subscales) MANOVA revealed no significant main effect of motivational clusters on physical self-perception levels (p > 0.05). As a result, findings of the present study showed that motivational types of the adolescent athletes constituted four different motivational clusters. Highly and moderate motivated athletes consistently scored higher than amotivated athletes on the perceived sport competence, physical condition, and physical self-worth subscales of PSPP. This study identified motivational profiles of competitive youth-sport participants.
Key pointsHighly motivated athletes have a tendency to perceive themselves competent in psychomotor domains as compared to the amotivated athletesAs the athletes feel more competent in psychomotor domain, they are more intrinsically motivated.The information about motivational profiles of adolescent athletes could be used for developing strategies and interventions designed to improve the strength and quality of sport participants’ motivation.
PMCID: PMC3761730  PMID: 24149690
Motivational profile; cluster; adolescent athletes; physical self-perception
11.  Factor Structure of the Hare Psychopathy Checklist: Youth Version (PCL: YV) in Adolescent Females 
Psychological assessment  2012;25(1):71-83.
Despite substantial evidence for the fit of the three- and four-factor models of Psychopathy Checklist-based ratings of psychopathy in adult males and adolescents, evidence is less consistent in adolescent females. However, prior studies used samples much smaller than recommended for examining model fit. To address this issue, we conducted a confirmatory factor analysis of 646 adolescent females to test the fit of the three- and four-factor models. We also investigated the fit of these models in more homogeneous subsets of the full sample to examine whether fit was invariant across geographical region and setting. Analyses indicated adequate fit for both models in the full sample and was generally acceptable for both models in North American and European subsamples and for participants in less restrictive (probation/detention/clinic) settings. However, in the incarcerated subsample, the four-factor model achieved acceptable fit on only two of four indices. Although model fit was not invariant across continent or setting, invariance could be achieved in most cases by simply allowing factor loadings on one PCL: YV item to vary across groups. In summary, in contrast to prior studies with small samples, current findings show that both the three- and four-factor models fit adequately in a large sample of adolescent females, and the factor loadings are largely similar for North American and European samples and for long-term incarcerated and shorter-term incarcerated/probation/clinic samples.
PMCID: PMC3963811  PMID: 22731675
adolescents; psychopathy; confirmatory factor analysis; antisocial behavior; sex differences
12.  Older adolescents’ views regarding participation in Facebook research 
Facebook continues to grow in popularity among adolescents as well as adolescent researchers. Guidance on conducting this research with appropriate attention to privacy and ethics is scarce. To inform such research efforts, the purpose of this study was to determine older adolescents’ responses after learning that they were participants in a research study that involved identification of participants using Facebook.
Public Facebook profiles of older adolescents age 18 to 19 years from a large state university were examined. Profile owners were then interviewed. During the interview participants were informed that they were identified by examining publicly available Facebook profiles. Participants were asked to discuss their views on this research method.
A total of 132 participants completed the interview (70% response rate), the average age was 18.4 years (SD=0.5) and our sample included 64 males (48.5%). Participant responses included: endorsement (19.7%), fine (36.4%), neutral (28.8%), uneasy (9.1%) and concerned (6.1%). Among participants who were uneasy or concerned, the majority voiced confusion regarding their current profile security settings (p=0.00).
The majority of adolescent participants viewed the use of Facebook for research positively. These findings are consistent with the approach taken by many US courts. Researchers may consider these findings when developing research protocols involving Facebook.
PMCID: PMC3478668  PMID: 23084164
Adolescent; college student; social networking sites; research ethics; privacy; qualitative research
13.  Lessons Learned from a Community Based Lifestyle Intervention for Youth at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes 
Journal of obesity & weight loss therapy  2013;1:10.4172/2165-7904.1000191.
This pilot study examined the feasibility and acceptability of a peer led diabetes prevention intervention for youth in an underserved community.
Children and adolescents randomized to the intervention group participated in a one year program which included peer support, physical activity, and family nutrition, and behavior modification sessions. Participants were asked about their satisfaction with the study and possible benefits, what they learned, and whether they would recommend participation to a friend. Youth randomized to the control group received monthly healthy lifestyle educational materials through the mail.
Children and adolescents (n=67) with an average age of 12.5 years and BMI greater than or equal to 85 percentile for age and sex were enrolled in the study. The average monthly participation rate varied between 90 and 50 percent with a mean rate of 82 percent. Ninety four percent of parents reported being very satisfied with the program and all (100%) reported they would recommend the program to a friend. All the children and adolescents (100%) reported that they enjoyed working with the youth peer coaches and 94% felt their assigned coach was a good role model. The observed changes in BMI z-score trended towards improvement in the intervention group, but this study was underpowered to detect differences between groups.
The peer led diabetes prevention program was feasible and acceptable and demonstrated potential for improving health behaviors.
PMCID: PMC3863905  PMID: 24353925
Type 2 diabetes; Obesity; Adolescents; Children; Youth; Prevention
14.  African American Adolescent Girls' Initiation of Sexual Activity: Survival Analysis 
African American adolescent females tend to initiate participation in sexual activity at an earlier age than Caucasian adolescent females. Early initial participation in sexual activity is associated with increased HIV risk. However, limited prospective data are available on the rate at which African American adolescent females delay their initial participation in sexual activity. The purpose is to determine low-income inner city African American adolescent females' survival or continued non-participation in sexual activity over a 20-month period and to determine predictors associated with survival.
A longitudinal quasi-experimental research design with multiple data collection points was used. The convenience sample consisted of 396 African American females with a mean age of 12.4 years (SD = 1.1 years) and their mothers. The adolescents completed questionnaires assessing perceptions of maternal monitoring, HIV transmission knowledge, self-efficacy to refuse sex, intention to refuse sex, and age. Their mothers completed questionnaires assessing perception of maternal monitoring, safer sex self-efficacy, marital status, and educational level. At baseline, the adolescents reported non-participation in sexual activity. Survival analysis was conducted to determine the timing and predictors of sexual activity initiation for these adolescents.
Of the 396 adolescents, 28.5% did not survive; they participated in sexual activity within the 20-month period. Predictors of non-survival were the adolescents' age, perception of maternal monitoring, and intention to refuse sex.
Findings suggest interventions that increase maternal monitoring and adolescents' intentions to refuse sex could be beneficial in delaying sexual activity.
PMCID: PMC3718845  PMID: 20144551
15.  Associations between Community Attachments and Adolescent Substance Use in Nationally Representative Samples 
Social capital and social attachment theories of substance use argue that positive bonds to society and the conventional values they promote deter adolescents from substance use. Using nationally representative samples of U.S. high school seniors, we hypothesized that adolescents’ community attachments, measured by social trust, social responsibility, and religiosity, would be negatively associated with lifetime and 30-day substance use.
We used repeated cross-sectional nationally representative high school senior data from 1976–2008 Monitoring the Future Study cohorts (weighted N = 64,246; 51.6% female). Participation rate ranged from 77% to 86% across years. A series of multiple linear and logistic regressions examined unique associations of adolescents’ social trust, social responsibility, and religiosity with lifetime and 30-day use of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, hallucinogens, cocaine, amphetamines, barbiturates, tranquilizers, and narcotics. Models controlled for gender, race, college aspirations, high school grades, parents’ education, and survey year.
Social trust, social responsibility, and religiosity showed independent negative associations with use of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, and six other types of drugs. After accounting for controls, community attachments related to lower lifetime and past 30-day use. Associations were consistent across measures, except social responsibility was not associated with binge drinking or lifetime illicit drugs besides marijuana.
Study strengths included the nationally representative sample, diverse substance use measures, and inclusion of controls. We extend theory by suggesting that distinct aspects of adolescents’ community attachments uniquely relate to lower substance use. Results suggest potential public health benefits of integrating promotion of community attachments with substance use prevention.
PMCID: PMC3699306  PMID: 22999832
substance use; drugs; social trust; social responsibility; religiosity; values; adolescence; social capital; Monitoring the Future; prosocial development; protective factors
16.  A Unique Patient Population? Health-Related Quality of Life in Adolescent Athletes Versus General, Healthy Adolescent Individuals 
Journal of Athletic Training  2013;48(2):233-241.
Normative scores for patient-rated outcome (PRO) instruments are important for providing patient-centered, whole-person care and making informed clinical decisions. Although normative values for the Pediatric Quality of Life Generic Core Scale (PedsQL) have been established in the general, healthy adolescent population, whether adolescent athletes demonstrate similar values is unclear.
To compare PedsQL scores between adolescent athletes and general, healthy adolescent individuals.
Cross-sectional study.
Secondary schools.
Patients or Other Participants:
A convenience sample of 2659 interscholastic athletes (males = 2059, females = 600, age = 15.7 ± 1.1 years) represented the athlete group (ATH), and a previously published normative dataset represented the general, healthy adolescent group (GEN).
All participants completed the PedsQL during 1 testing session.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
The PedsQL consists of 2 summary scores (total, psychosocial) and 4 subscale scores (physical, emotional, social, school), with higher scores indicating better health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Groups were stratified by age (14, 15, or 16 years old). Independent-samples t tests were conducted to compare between-groups and sex differences.
The ATH group scored higher than the GEN group across all ages for total and psychosocial summary scores and for emotional and social functioning subscale scores (P ≤ .005). For physical functioning, scores of the 15-year-old ATH were higher than for their GEN counterparts (P = .001). Both 14- and 15-year-old ATH scored higher than their GEN counterparts for the school functioning subscale (P ≤ .013), but differences between 16-year olds were not significant (P = .228). Male adolescent athletes reported higher scores than female adolescent athletes across all scores (P ≤ .001) except for social functioning (P = .229).
Adolescent athletes reported better HRQOL than GEN, particularly in emotional functioning. These findings further support the notion that ATH constitutes a unique population that requires its own set of normative values for self-reported, patient-rated outcome instruments.
PMCID: PMC3600926  PMID: 23672388
patient outcome assessment; patient-centered care; physical activity
17.  Low Back Pain in Adolescents: A Comparison of Clinical Outcomes in Sports Participants and Nonparticipants 
Journal of Athletic Training  2010;45(1):61-66.
Back pain is common in adolescents. Participation in sports has been identified as a risk factor for the development of back pain in adolescents, but the influence of sports participation on treatment outcomes in adolescents has not been adequately examined.
To examine the clinical outcomes of rehabilitation for adolescents with low back pain (LBP) and to evaluate the influence of sports participation on outcomes.
Observational study.
Outpatient physical therapy clinics.
Patients or Other Participants:
Fifty-eight adolescents (age  =  15.40 ± 1.44 years; 56.90% female) with LBP referred for treatment. Twenty-three patients (39.66%) had developed back pain from sports participation.
Patients completed the Modified Oswestry Disability Questionnaire and numeric pain rating before and after treatment. Treatment duration and content were at the clinician's discretion. Adolescents were categorized as sports participants if the onset of back pain was linked to organized sports. Additional data collected included diagnostic imaging before referral, clinical characteristics, and medical diagnosis.
Main Outcome Measure(s):
Baseline characteristics were compared based on sports participation. The influence of sports participation on outcomes was examined using a repeated-measures analysis of covariance with the Oswestry and pain scores as dependent variables. The number of sessions and duration of care were compared using t tests.
Many adolescents with LBP receiving outpatient physical therapy treatment were involved in sports and cited sports participation as a causative factor for their LBP. Some differences in baseline characteristics and clinical treatment outcomes were noted between sports participants and nonparticipants. Sports participants were more likely to undergo magnetic resonance imaging before referral (P  =  .013), attended more sessions (mean difference  =  1.40, 95% confidence interval [CI]  =  0.21, 2.59, P  =  .022) over a longer duration (mean difference  =  12.44 days, 95% CI  =  1.28, 23.10, P  =  .024), and experienced less improvement in disability (mean Oswestry difference  =  6.66, 95% CI  =  0.53, 12.78, P  =  .048) than nonparticipants. Overall, the pattern of clinical outcomes in this sample of adolescents with LBP was similar to that of adults with LBP.
Adolescents with LBP due to sports participation received more treatment but experienced less improvement in disability than nonparticipants. This may indicate a worse prognosis for sports participants. Further research is required.
PMCID: PMC2808757  PMID: 20064050
spine; athletes; disability
18.  The Role of Family Obligations and School Adjustment in Explaining the Immigrant Paradox 
Journal of Youth and Adolescence  2009;40(2):187-196.
This study examined the role of family obligations and school adjustment in explaining immigrant adolescents’ adaptation. Despite a relatively low socio-economic status, immigrant adolescents have been found to have a pattern of adaptation superior to that of national adolescents. Immigrant adolescents’ strong sense of family obligations and positive school adjustment have been used to explain these positive adaptation outcomes. Using self-reports in a sample of 277 national adolescents (45.5% female) and a sample of 175 non-western immigrant adolescents (58.9% female), both samples with a mean age of 15 years, it was found that despite a lower socio-economic status, the adaptation of immigrant adolescents was as good as the nationals’ adaptation. Immigrant adolescents scored higher on family obligations and school adjustment. Family obligations and school adjustment were found positively related to adaptation outcomes in the national and the immigrant adolescent sample. Findings suggest that, in underprivileged environments, a strong sense of family obligations may help immigrants as well as national adolescents achieve a positive pattern of adaptation.
PMCID: PMC3018245  PMID: 19859793
Family obligations; Immigrant adolescents; Adaptation
19.  Development and Validation of a Tool for Assessing Glucose Impairment in Adolescents 
Childhood obesity is associated with an increased risk for type 2 diabetes. Early identification of adolescents at risk for impaired fasting blood glucose may lead to earlier and more comprehensive evaluation and intervention. Because widespread blood glucose testing of adolescents is not recommended, community-based tools are needed to identify those who could benefit from further testing. One such tool, developed for adults, was the Tool for Assessing Glucose ImpairmenT (TAG-IT). Our objective was to validate whether a similar tool could be useful for community-based screening of glucose impairment risk among adolescents.
Our study sample consisted of 3,050 adolescents aged 12 to18 years who had participated in the 1999-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Half of participants were female and 40% were nonwhite. NHANES measured fasting blood glucose and height, weight, and resting heart rate. We used Pearson correlations and regression analysis to determine key variables for predicting glucose impairment. From these measurements, we created a composite TAG-IT score for adolescents called TAG-IT-A. We then applied the TAG-IT-A model to 1988-1994 NHANES data, using linear regression analysis and receiver operating characteristic analysis to determine how well the TAG-IT-A score predicted a fasting blood glucose at or above 100 mg/dL.
We determined that age, sex, body mass index, and resting heart rate were predictors of impaired fasting blood glucose and that TAG-IT-A was a better predictor of impaired fasting blood glucose than body mass index alone (area under the curve, 0.61, P < .001 vs 0.55, P = .10, respectively). A TAG-IT-A score of 3 or higher correctly identified 50% of adolescents with impaired fasting blood glucose, while a score of 5 or higher correctly identified 76% .
The TAG-IT-A score is a simple screening tool that clinicians and public health professionals could use to easily identify adolescents who may have impaired fasting blood glucose and need a more comprehensive evaluation.
PMCID: PMC3457764  PMID: 22632741
In a rope works handling manila, sisal, and St. Helena hemps, the prevalence of respiratory symptoms and the change in forced expiratory volume (F.E.V.1·0) during the work shift were studied in a group of 41 women and 41 men who represented 93% of the population at risk.
Dust concentrations, measured with a modified Hexhlet, ranged from 0·11 to 4·51 mg./m.3 for total dust and 0·02 to 1·46 mg./m.3 for fine dust. The highest concentrations were found in the preparing rooms, in which the workers, all of whom were women, showed on the average a fall in ventilatory capacity during the shift. The workers in the rope walk, all of whom were men, showed a rise in ventilatory capacity during the shift. The difference between the men and women was statistically significant (p < 0·05). No worker gave a characteristic history of byssinosis, although nine women complained of chest tightness associated with their work.
Undue breathlessness on exertion and persistent cough and phlegm were also more common among the women, but they were on the average 18 years older than the men. When the ventilatory capacities and the prevalence of respiratory symptoms of women rope workers were compared with those of a group of women employed elsewhere in the dockyard, the only significant difference was that the rope workers had more chest tightness associated with their work (p < 0·02).
Exposure of volunteers to St. Helena hemp, which is apparently the most likely of the hard hemps to give rise to respiratory symptoms, caused only a slight fall in ventilatory capacity and a small rise in airways resistance.
A sample of St. Helena hemp assayed on guinea-pig ileum had only a relatively small degree of contractor activity. The evidence suggests that the dusts of hard hemps do not cause byssinosis under the conditions in this factory. However, the irritant nature of the dust indicates the need to prevent total dust levels exceeding about 2 mg./m.3.
PMCID: PMC1008297
21.  Utilizing Ecological Momentary Assessment in Pediatric Obesity to Quantify Behavior, Emotion, and Sleep 
Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.)  2009;18(6):1270-1272.
This study examined the feasibility of using Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) to examine important domains relevant to interregulatory health processes in overweight adolescent females in their natural environments. Participants were 20 overweight adolescent females engaged in a cognitive–behavioral and motivational interviewing intervention aimed at weight loss and improving mood (11–19 years old, 80% white, 15% African American, mean BMI = 39). During this EMA protocol, participants were asked to report their physical activity (PA), nutrition, mood, and sleep during 14 cellular phone calls over three extended weekends (Thursday to Monday). Simultaneously, participants wore an actigraph (armband and watch communicator) that provided instantaneous PA feedback (steps taken and kilocalories) and sleep parameters (duration and efficiency). EMA compliance rates for the armband and phone calls were 74.7 ± 0.3% and 64.2 ± 0.3%, respectively. Data from the armband and phone calls are presented to illustrate the depth of information acquired by utilizing this innovative methodology.
PMCID: PMC2896245  PMID: 20019675
22.  Adolescents’ Views Regarding Uses of Social Networking Websites and Text Messaging for Adolescent Sexual Health Education 
Adolescents frequently report barriers to obtaining sexual health education.
The purpose of this study was to determine adolescents’ views regarding how new technologies could be used for sexual health education.
Focus groups were conducted with a purposeful sample of adolescents between 14 and 19 years old. Facilitators asked participants for their views regarding use of social networking web sites (SNSs) and text messaging for sexual health education. Tape-recorded data was transcribed; transcripts were manually evaluated then discussed to determine thematic consensus.
A total of 29 adolescents participated in 5 focus groups. Participants were 65.5% female. Three themes emerged from our data. First, adolescents preferred sexual health education resources that are accessible. Second, adolescents preferred online resources that are trustworthy. Third, adolescents discussed preference for “safe” resources.
Adolescents were enthusiastic and insightful regarding technology for enhancing sexual health education. The themes that influence adolescents’ preferences in sexual health education using technology are similar to barriers that exist in other aspects of adolescent health communication.
Translation to Health Education Practice
Findings suggest ways in which health organizations can understand adolescents’ views and concerns about how their interactions with professionals take place regarding sexual health.
PMCID: PMC3251629  PMID: 22229150
23.  Physical activity at 36 years: patterns and childhood predictors in a longitudinal study. 
OBJECTIVE--The aim was to describe the sex and socioeconomic differences in patterns of physical activity at work and in leisure time of men and women aged 36 years, and to investigate factors in childhood and adolescence which predict high rates of participation in sports and recreational activities in later life. DESIGN--Data collected in childhood, adolescence, and at 36 years on members of a national prospective birth cohort study were used. SETTING--The population sample was resident in England, Scotland, and Wales. SUBJECTS--A stratified sample of about 3500 men and women was studied regularly from birth until 43 years. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--More men than women reported high rates of sports and recreational activities, gardening, and do-it-yourself. In contrast women reported higher rates of bicycling and walking. Higher levels of education were associated with frequent participation in sports. Individuals often engaged in one type of activity without necessarily engaging in other types. Those who were most active in sport had been above average at sports in school, more outgoing socially in adolescence, had fewer health problems in childhood, were better educated, and had more mothers with a secondary education than those who were less active. CONCLUSIONS--Studies that examine the relationship between physical activity and chronic disease should consider a broad range of pursuits rather than extrapolating from only one area of physical activity, and in their explanations should take account of the possible role of childhood characteristics. The findings suggest the importance of developing skills and habits in childhood as well as of encouraging healthier exercise habits in adults who may have had few opportunities or low motivation previously.
PMCID: PMC1059517  PMID: 1583424
24.  Measuring health-related quality of life in adolescents and young adults: Swedish normative data for the SF-36 and the HADS, and the influence of age, gender, and method of administration 
There is a paucity of research about health-related quality of life (HRQL) among adolescents, as studies have to a large extent focused on adults. The main aim was to provide information for future studies in this growing field by presenting normative data for the Short Form 36 (SF-36) and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) for Swedish adolescents and young adults. Additionally, the influence of age and gender, as well as method of administration, was investigated.
A sample of 585 persons aged 13–23 was randomly chosen from the general population, and stratified regarding age group (young adolescents: 13–15 years; older adolescents: 16–19 years, and young adults: 20–23 years) and gender (an equal amount of males and females). Within each stratum, the participants were randomized according to two modes of administration, telephone interview and postal questionnaire, and asked to complete the SF-36 and the HADS. Descriptive statistics are presented by survey mode, gender, and age group. A gender comparison was made by independent t-test; and one-way ANOVA was conducted to evaluate age differences.
Effects of age and gender were found: males reported better health-related quality of life than females, and the young adolescents (13–15 years old) reported better HRQL than the two older age groups. The older participants (16–23 years old) reported higher scores when interviewed over the telephone than when they answered a postal questionnaire, a difference which was more marked among females. Interestingly, the 13–15-year-olds did not react to the mode of administration to the same extent.
The importance of taking age, gender, and method of administration into consideration, both when planning studies and when comparing results from different groups, studies, or over time, is stressed.
PMCID: PMC1697805  PMID: 17140436
25.  Blood Lead Level and Kidney Function in US Adolescents 
Archives of internal medicine  2010;170(1):75-82.
Chronic, high-level lead exposure is a known risk factor for kidney disease. The effect of current low-level environmental lead exposure is less well known, particularly among children, a population generally free from kidney disease risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the association between lead exposure and kidney function in a representative sample of US adolescents.
Participants included 769 adolescents aged 12 to 20 years for whom whole blood lead and serum cystatin C were measured in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted from 1988–1994. The association between blood lead level and level of kidney function (glomerular filtration rate [GFR]), determined by cystatin C–based and creatinine-based estimating equations, was examined.
Median whole blood lead level was 1.5 μg/dL (to convert to micromoles per liter, multiply by 0.0483), and median cystatin C–estimated GFR was 112.9 mL/min/1.73 m2. Participants with lead levels in the highest quartile (≥3.0 μg/dL) had 6.6 mL/min/1.73 m2–lower estimated GFR (95% confidence interval, −0.7 to −12.6 mL/min/1.73 m2) compared with those in the first quartile (<1 μg/dL). A doubling of blood lead level was associated with a 2.9 mL/min/1.73 m2–lower estimated GFR (95% confidence interval, −0.7 to −5.0 mL/min/1.73 m2). Lead levels were also associated with lower creatinine-based estimated GFR levels, but the association was weaker than with cystatin C–based GFR and not statistically significant.
Higher blood lead levels in a range below the current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention–designated level of concern (10 μg/dL) were associated with lower estimated GFRs in a representative sample of US adolescents. This finding contributes to the increasing epidemiologic evidence indicating an adverse effect of low-level environmental lead exposure.
PMCID: PMC3718466  PMID: 20065202

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