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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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      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.


      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.


      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.


      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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      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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        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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          These guidelines for the treatment of persons who have or are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) were updated by CDC after consultation with a group of professionals knowledgeable in the field of STDs who met in Atlanta on April 18-30, 2009. The information in this report updates the 2006 Guidelines for Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (MMWR 2006;55[No. RR-11]). Included in these updated guidelines is new information regarding 1) the expanded diagnostic evaluation for cervicitis and trichomoniasis; 2) new treatment recommendations for bacterial vaginosis and genital warts; 3) the clinical efficacy of azithromycin for chlamydial infections in pregnancy; 4) the role of Mycoplasma genitalium and trichomoniasis in urethritis/cervicitis and treatment-related implications; 5) lymphogranuloma venereum proctocolitis among men who have sex with men; 6) the criteria for spinal fluid examination to evaluate for neurosyphilis; 7) the emergence of azithromycin-resistant Treponema pallidum; 8) the increasing prevalence of antimicrobial-resistant Neisseria gonorrhoeae; 9) the sexual transmission of hepatitis C; 10) diagnostic evaluation after sexual assault; and 11) STD prevention approaches.

            Author and article information

            [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
            BMC Public Health
            BMC Public Health
            BMC Public Health
            BioMed Central
            24 January 2012
            : 12
            : 74
            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 (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

            Research Article

            Public health

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


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