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      A multilevel examination of gender differences in the association between features of the school environment and physical activity among a sample of grades 9 to 12 students in Ontario, Canada

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          Abstract

          Background

          Creating school environments that support student physical activity (PA) is a key recommendation of policy-makers to increase youth PA. Given males are more active than females at all ages, it has been suggested that investigating gender differences in the features of the environment that associate with PA may help to inform gender-focused PA interventions and reduce the gender disparity in PA. The purpose of this cross-sectional study was to explore gender differences in the association between factors of the school environment and students' time spent in PA.

          Methods

          Among a sample of 10781 female and 10973 male students in grades 9 to 12 from 76 secondary schools in Ontario, Canada, student- and school-level survey PA data were collected and supplemented with GIS-derived measures of the built environment within 1-km buffers of the 76 schools.

          Results

          Findings from the present study revealed significant differences in the time male and female students spent in PA as well as in some of the school- and student-level factors associated with PA. Results of the gender-specific multilevel analyses indicate schools should consider providing an alternate room for PA, especially for providing flexibility activities directed at female students. Schools should also consider offering daily physical education programming to male students in senior grades and providing PA promotion initiatives targeting obese male students.

          Conclusions

          Although most variation in male and female students' time spent in PA lies between students within schools, there is sufficient between-school variation to be of interest to practitioners and policy-makers. More research investigating gender differentials in environment factors associated with youth PA are warranted.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Sick individuals and sick populations.

           GEOFFREY ROSE (1985)
          Aetiology confronts two distinct issues: the determinants of individual cases, and the determinants of incidence rate. If exposure to a necessary agent is homogeneous within a population, then case/control and cohort methods will fail to detect it: they will only identify markers of susceptibility. The corresponding strategies in control are the 'high-risk' approach, which seeks to protect susceptible individuals, and the population approach, which seeks to control the causes of incidence. The two approaches are not usually in competition, but the prior concern should always be to discover and control the causes of incidence.
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            New Canadian physical activity guidelines.

            The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), in cooperation with ParticipACTION and other stakeholders, and with support from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), has developed the new Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for Children (aged 5-11 years), Youth (aged 12-17 years), Adults (aged 18-64 years), and Older Adults (aged >=65 years). The new guidelines include a preamble to provide context and specific guidelines for each age group. The entire guideline development process was guided by the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research Evaluation (AGREE) II instrument, which is the international standard for clinical practice guideline development. Thus, the guidelines have gone through a rigorous and transparent developmental process; we based the recommendations herein on evidence from 3 systematic reviews, and the final guidelines benefitted from an extensive online and in-person consultation process with hundreds of stakeholders and key informants, both domestic and international. Since 2006, the products of our efforts resulted in the completion of 21 peer-reviewed journal articles (including 5 systematic reviews) that collectively guided this work. The process that Canadian researchers undertook to update the national physical activity guidelines represents the most current synthesis, interpretation, and application of the scientific evidence to date.
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              The development of a walkability index: application to the Neighborhood Quality of Life Study.

               Erik P Hess,  K Cain,  L Leary (2010)
              Emerging evidence supports a link between neighbourhood built environment and physical activity. Systematic methodologies for characterising neighbourhood built environment are needed that take advantage of available population information such as census-level demographics. Based on transportation and urban planning literatures, an integrated index for operationalising walkability using parcel-level information is proposed. Validity of the walkability index is examined through travel surveys among areas examined in the Neighborhood Quality of Life Study (NQLS), a study investigating built environment correlates of adults' physical activity.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BMC Public Health
                BioMed Central
                1471-2458
                2012
                24 January 2012
                : 12
                : 74
                Affiliations
                [1 ]School of Public Health and Health Systems, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada
                [2 ]Propel Centre for Population Health Impact, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada
                [3 ]Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada
                [4 ]Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1, Canada
                [5 ]School of Public Health, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2T4, Canada
                Article
                1471-2458-12-74
                10.1186/1471-2458-12-74
                3330023
                22272717
                Copyright ©2012 Hobin et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Research Article

                Public health

                gender, physical activity, environment, prevention, school, adolescents

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