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1.  Sitting Tai Chi Improves the Balance Control and Muscle Strength of Community-Dwelling Persons with Spinal Cord Injuries: A Pilot Study 
Objective. To investigate the effects of sitting Tai Chi on muscle strength, balance control, and quality of life (QOL) among survivors with spinal cord injuries (SCI). Methods. Eleven SCI survivors participated in the sitting Tai Chi training (90 minutes/session, 2 times/week for 12 weeks) and eight SCI survivors acted as controls. Dynamic sitting balance was evaluated using limits of stability test and a sequential weight shifting test in sitting. Handgrip strength was also tested using a hand-held dynamometer. QOL was measured using the World Health Organization's Quality of Life Scale. Results. Tai Chi practitioners achieved significant improvements in their reaction time (P = 0.042); maximum excursion (P = 0.016); and directional control (P = 0.025) in the limits of stability test after training. In the sequential weight shifting test, they significantly improved their total time to sequentially hit the 12 targets (P = 0.035). Significant improvement in handgrip strength was also found among the Tai Chi practitioners (P = 0.049). However, no significant within and between-group differences were found in the QOL outcomes (P > 0.05). Conclusions. Twelve weeks of sitting Tai Chi training could improve the dynamic sitting balance and handgrip strength, but not QOL, of the SCI survivors.
PMCID: PMC4320788
2.  Repeatability of self-report measures of physical activity, sedentary and travel behaviour in Hong Kong adolescents for the iHealt(H) and IPEN – Adolescent studies 
BMC Pediatrics  2014;14:142.
Physical activity and sedentary behaviour are important contributors to adolescents’ health. These behaviours may be affected by the school and neighbourhood built environments. However, current evidence on such effects is mainly limited to Western countries. The International Physical Activity and the Environment Network (IPEN)–Adolescent study aims to examine associations of the built environment with adolescent physical activity and sedentary behaviour across five continents.
We report on the repeatability of measures of in-school and out-of school physical activity, plus measures of out-of-school sedentary and travel behaviours adopted by the IPEN – Adolescent study and adapted for Chinese-speaking Hong Kong adolescents participating in the international Healthy environments and active living in teenagers–(Hong Kong) [iHealt(H)] study, which is part of IPEN-Adolescent.
Items gauging in-school physical activity and out-of-school physical activity, and out-of-school sedentary and travel behaviours developed for the IPEN – Adolescent study were translated from English into Chinese, adapted, and pilot tested. Sixty-eight Chinese-speaking 12–17 year old secondary school students (36 boys; 32 girls) residing in areas of Hong Kong differing in transport-related walkability were recruited. They self-completed the survey items twice, 8–16 days apart. Test-retest reliability was assessed for the whole sample and by gender using one-way random effects intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC). Test-retest reliability of items with restricted variability was assessed using percentage agreement.
Overall test-retest reliability of items and scales was moderate to excellent (ICC = 0.47–0.92). Items with restricted variability in responses had a high percentage agreement (92%-100%). Test-retest reliability was similar in girls and boys, with the exception of daily hours of homework (reliability higher in girls) and number of school-based sports teams or after-school physical activity classes (reliability higher in boys).
The translated and adapted self-report measures of physical activity, sedentary and travel behaviours used in the iHealt(H) study are sufficiently reliable. Levels of reliability are comparable or slightly higher than those observed for the original measures.
PMCID: PMC4060092  PMID: 24903156
Adolescents; Physical activity; Sedentary behaviour; Self-reports; Repeatability; Multi-country study; China
3.  Study protocol for “Moving Bright, Eating Smart”– A phase 2 clinical trial on the acceptability and feasibility of a diet and physical activity intervention to prevent recurrence in colorectal cancer survivors 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:487.
Colorectal cancer is the second most common cancer and cancer-killer in Hong Kong with an alarming increasing incidence in recent years. The latest World Cancer Research Fund report concluded that foods low in fibre, and high in red and processed meat cause colorectal cancer whereas physical activity protects against colon cancer. Yet, the influence of these lifestyle factors on cancer outcome is largely unknown even though cancer survivors are eager for lifestyle modifications. Observational studies suggested that low intake of a Western-pattern diet and high physical activity level reduced colorectal cancer mortality. The Theory of Planned Behaviour and the Health Action Process Approach have guided the design of intervention models targeting a wide range of health-related behaviours.
We aim to demonstrate the feasibility of two behavioural interventions intended to improve colorectal cancer outcome and which are designed to increase physical activity level and reduce consumption of a Western-pattern diet. This three year study will be a multicentre, randomised controlled trial in a 2x2 factorial design comparing the “Moving Bright, Eating Smart” (physical activity and diet) programme against usual care. Subjects will be recruited over a 12-month period, undertake intervention for 12 months and followed up for a further 12 months. Baseline, interim and three post-intervention assessments will be conducted.
Two hundred and twenty-two colorectal cancer patients who completed curative treatment without evidence of recurrence will be recruited into the study. Primary outcome measure will be whether physical activity and dietary targets are met at the end of the 12-month intervention. Secondary outcome measures include the magnitude and mechanism of behavioural change, the degree and determinants of compliance, and the additional health benefits and side effects of the intervention.
The results of this study will establish the feasibility of targeting the two behaviours (diet and physical activity) and demonstrate the magnitude of behaviour change. The information will facilitate the design of a further larger phase III randomised controlled trial with colorectal cancer outcome as the study endpoint to determine whether this intervention model would reduce colorectal cancer recurrence and mortality.
Trial registration No: NCT01708824
PMCID: PMC3716902  PMID: 23688320
Colorectal cancer; Cancer survivor; Diet; Meat; Grains; Physical activity; Behavioural intervention; Feasibility; Acceptability; Randomised
4.  Perceived neighborhood environment and physical activity in 11 countries: Do associations differ by country? 
Increasing empirical evidence supports associations between neighborhood environments and physical activity. However, since most studies were conducted in a single country, particularly western countries, the generalizability of associations in an international setting is not well understood. The current study examined whether associations between perceived attributes of neighborhood environments and physical activity differed by country.
Population representative samples from 11 countries on five continents were surveyed using comparable methodologies and measurement instruments. Neighborhood environment × country interactions were tested in logistic regression models with meeting physical activity recommendations as the outcome, adjusted for demographic characteristics. Country-specific associations were reported.
Significant neighborhood environment attribute × country interactions implied some differences across countries in the association of each neighborhood attribute with meeting physical activity recommendations. Across the 11 countries, land-use mix and sidewalks had the most consistent associations with physical activity. Access to public transit, bicycle facilities, and low-cost recreation facilities had some associations with physical activity, but with less consistency across countries. There was little evidence supporting the associations of residential density and crime-related safety with physical activity in most countries.
There is evidence of generalizability for the associations of land use mix, and presence of sidewalks with physical activity. Associations of other neighborhood characteristics with physical activity tended to differ by country. Future studies should include objective measures of neighborhood environments, compare psychometric properties of reports across countries, and use better specified models to further understand the similarities and differences in associations across countries.
PMCID: PMC3663693  PMID: 23672435
Physical activity; Built environment; Neighborhood environment; International; Generalizability; Moderator
5.  Sharing good NEWS across the world: developing comparable scores across 12 countries for the neighborhood environment walkability scale (NEWS) 
BMC Public Health  2013;13:309.
The IPEN (International Physical Activity and Environment Network) Adult project seeks to conduct pooled analyses of associations of perceived neighborhood environment, as measured by the Neighborhood Environment Walkability Scale (NEWS) and its abbreviated version (NEWS-A), with physical activity using data from 12 countries. As IPEN countries used adapted versions of the NEWS/NEWS-A, this paper aimed to develop scoring protocols that maximize cross-country comparability in responses. This information is also highly relevant to non-IPEN studies employing the NEWS/NEWS-A, which is one of the most popular measures of perceived environment globally.
The following countries participated in the IPEN Adult study: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Participants (N = 14,305) were recruited from neighborhoods varying in walkability and socio-economic status. Countries collected data on the perceived environment using a self- or interviewer-administered version of the NEWS/NEWS-A. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was used to derive comparable country-specific measurement models of the NEWS/NEWS-A. The level of correspondence between standard and alternative versions of the NEWS/NEWS-A factor-analyzable subscales was determined by estimating the correlations and mean standardized difference (Cohen’s d) between them using data from countries that had included items from both standard and alternative versions of the subscales.
Final country-specific measurement models of the NEWS/NEWS-A provided acceptable levels of fit to the data and shared the same factorial structure with six latent factors and two single items. The correspondence between the standard and alternative versions of subscales of Land use mix – access, Infrastructure and safety for walking/cycling, and Aesthetics was high. The Brazilian version of the Traffic safety subscale was highly, while the Australian and Belgian versions were marginally, comparable to the standard version. Single-item versions of the Street connectivity subscale used in Australia and Belgium showed marginally acceptable correspondence to the standard version.
We have proposed country-specific modifications to the original scoring protocol of the NEWS/NEWS-A that enhance inter-country comparability. These modifications have yielded sufficiently equivalent measurement models of the NEWS/NEWS-A. Some inter-country discrepancies remain. These need to be considered when interpreting findings from different countries.
PMCID: PMC3642009  PMID: 23566032
Built environment; Questionnaire; Global; Confirmatory factor analysis; Pooled analyses
6.  Patterns of neighborhood environment attributes related to physical activity across 11 countries: a latent class analysis 
Neighborhood environment studies of physical activity (PA) have been mainly single-country focused. The International Prevalence Study (IPS) presented a rare opportunity to examine neighborhood features across countries. The purpose of this analysis was to: 1) detect international neighborhood typologies based on participants’ response patterns to an environment survey and 2) to estimate associations between neighborhood environment patterns and PA.
A Latent Class Analysis (LCA) was conducted on pooled IPS adults (N=11,541) aged 18 to 64 years old (mean=37.5 ±12.8 yrs; 55.6% women) from 11 countries including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Hong Kong, Japan, Lithuania, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and the U.S. This subset used the Physical Activity Neighborhood Environment Survey (PANES) that briefly assessed 7 attributes within 10–15 minutes walk of participants’ residences, including residential density, access to shops/services, recreational facilities, public transit facilities, presence of sidewalks and bike paths, and personal safety. LCA derived meaningful subgroups from participants’ response patterns to PANES items, and participants were assigned to neighborhood types. The validated short-form International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) measured likelihood of meeting the 150 minutes/week PA guideline. To validate derived classes, meeting the guideline either by walking or total PA was regressed on neighborhood types using a weighted generalized linear regression model, adjusting for gender, age and country.
A 5-subgroup solution fitted the dataset and was interpretable. Neighborhood types were labeled, “Overall Activity Supportive (52% of sample)”, “High Walkable and Unsafe with Few Recreation Facilities (16%)”, “Safe with Active Transport Facilities (12%)”, “Transit and Shops Dense with Few Amenities (15%)”, and “Safe but Activity Unsupportive (5%)”. Country representation differed by type (e.g., U.S. disproportionally represented “Safe but Activity Unsupportive”). Compared to the Safe but Activity Unsupportive, two types showed greater odds of meeting PA guideline for walking outcome (High Walkable and Unsafe with Few Recreation Facilities, OR= 2.26 (95% CI 1.18-4.31); Overall Activity Supportive, OR= 1.90 (95% CI 1.13-3.21). Significant but smaller odds ratios were also found for total PA.
Meaningful neighborhood patterns generalized across countries and explained practical differences in PA. These observational results support WHO/UN recommendations for programs and policies targeted to improve features of the neighborhood environment for PA.
PMCID: PMC3615945  PMID: 23497187
Built environment; International; Recreation; Surveillance; Exercise
7.  Physical activity for cancer survivors: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials 
Objective To systematically evaluate the effects of physical activity in adult patients after completion of main treatment related to cancer.
Design Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials with data extraction and quality assessment performed independently by two researchers.
Data sources Pubmed, CINAHL, and Google Scholar from the earliest possible year to September 2011. References from meta-analyses and reviews.
Study selection Randomised controlled trials that assessed the effects of physical activity in adults who had completed their main cancer treatment, except hormonal treatment.
Results There were 34 randomised controlled trials, of which 22 (65%) focused on patients with breast cancer, and 48 outcomes in our meta-analysis. Twenty two studies assessed aerobic exercise, and four also included resistance or strength training. The median duration of physical activity was 13 weeks (range 3-60 weeks). Most control groups were considered sedentary or were assigned no exercise. Based on studies on patients with breast cancer, physical activity was associated with improvements in insulin-like growth factor-I, bench press, leg press, fatigue, depression, and quality of life. When we combined studies on different types of cancer, we found significant improvements in body mass index (BMI), body weight, peak oxygen consumption, peak power output, distance walked in six minutes, right handgrip strength, and quality of life. Sources of study heterogeneity included age, study quality, study size, and type and duration of physical activity. Publication bias did not alter our conclusions.
Conclusions Physical activity has positive effects on physiology, body composition, physical functions, psychological outcomes, and quality of life in patients after treatment for breast cancer. When patients with cancer other than breast cancer were also included, physical activity was associated with reduced BMI and body weight, increased peak oxygen consumption and peak power output, and improved quality of life.
PMCID: PMC3269661  PMID: 22294757
8.  Validity of the international physical activity questionnaire short form (IPAQ-SF): A systematic review 
The International Physical Activity Questionnaire - Short Form (IPAQ-SF) has been recommended as a cost-effective method to assess physical activity. Several studies validating the IPAQ-SF have been conducted with differing results, but no systematic review of these studies has been reported.
The keywords "IPAQ", "validation", and "validity" were searched in PubMed and Scopus. Studies published in English that validated the IPAQ-SF against an objective physical activity measuring device, doubly labeled water, or an objective fitness measure were included.
Twenty-three validation studies were included in this review. There was a great deal of variability in the methods used across studies, but the results were largely similar. Correlations between the total physical activity level measured by the IPAQ-SF and objective standards ranged from 0.09 to 0.39; none reached the minimal acceptable standard in the literature (0.50 for objective activity measuring devices, 0.40 for fitness measures). Correlations between sections of the IPAQ-SF for vigorous activity or moderate activity level/walking and an objective standard showed even greater variability (-0.18 to 0.76), yet several reached the minimal acceptable standard. Only six studies provided comparisons between physical activity levels derived from the IPAQ-SF and those obtained from objective criterion. In most studies the IPAQ-SF overestimated physical activity level by 36 to 173 percent; one study underestimated by 28 percent.
The correlation between the IPAQ-SF and objective measures of activity or fitness in the large majority of studies was lower than the acceptable standard. Furthermore, the IPAQ-SF typically overestimated physical activity as measured by objective criterion by an average of 84 percent. Hence, the evidence to support the use of the IPAQ-SF as an indicator of relative or absolute physical activity is weak.
PMCID: PMC3214824  PMID: 22018588

Results 1-8 (8)