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Physical Activity Design Guidelines for School Architecture

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      Abstract

      Increasing children’s physical activity at school is a national focus in the U.S. to address childhood obesity. While research has demonstrated associations between aspects of school environments and students’ physical activity, the literature currently lacks a synthesis of evidence to serve as a practical, spatially-organized resource for school designers and decision-makers, as well as to point to pertinent research opportunities. This paper describes the development of a new practical tool: Physical Activity Design Guidelines for School Architecture. Its aims are to provide architects and designers, as well as school planners, educators, and public health professionals, with strategies for making K-12 school environments conducive to healthy physical activity, and to engage scientists in transdisciplinary perspectives toward improved knowledge of the school environment’s impact. We used a qualitative review process to develop evidence-based and theory-driven school design guidelines that promote increased physical activity among students. The design guidelines include specific strategies in 10 school design domains. Implementation of the guidelines is expected to enable students to adopt healthier physical activity behaviors. The tool bridges a translational gap between research and environmental design practice, and may contribute to setting new industry and education standards.

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      The prevalence of childhood obesity increased in the 1980s and 1990s but there were no significant changes in prevalence between 1999-2000 and 2007-2008 in the United States. To present the most recent estimates of obesity prevalence in US children and adolescents for 2009-2010 and to investigate trends in obesity prevalence and body mass index (BMI) among children and adolescents between 1999-2000 and 2009-2010. Cross-sectional analyses of a representative sample (N = 4111) of the US child and adolescent population (birth through 19 years of age) with measured heights and weights from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2010. Prevalence of high weight-for-recumbent length (≥95th percentile on the growth charts) among infants and toddlers from birth to 2 years of age and obesity (BMI ≥95th percentile of the BMI-for-age growth charts) among children and adolescents aged 2 through 19 years. Analyses of trends in obesity by sex and race/ethnicity, and analyses of trends in BMI within sex-specific age groups for 6 survey periods (1999-2000, 2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2007-2008, and 2009-2010) over 12 years. In 2009-2010, 9.7% (95% CI, 7.6%-12.3%) of infants and toddlers had a high weight-for-recumbent length and 16.9% (95% CI, 15.4%-18.4%) of children and adolescents from 2 through 19 years of age were obese. There was no difference in obesity prevalence among males (P = .62) or females (P = .65) between 2007-2008 and 2009-2010. However, trend analyses over a 12-year period indicated a significant increase in obesity prevalence between 1999-2000 and 2009-2010 in males aged 2 through 19 years (odds ratio, 1.05; 95% CI, 1.01-1.10) but not in females (odds ratio, 1.02; 95% CI, 0.98-1.07) per 2-year survey cycle. There was a significant increase in BMI among adolescent males aged 12 through 19 years (P = .04) but not among any other age group or among females. In 2009-2010, the prevalence of obesity in children and adolescents was 16.9%; this was not changed compared with 2007-2008.
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        Evidence based physical activity for school-age youth.

        To review the effects of physical activity on health and behavior outcomes and develop evidence-based recommendations for physical activity in youth. A systematic literature review identified 850 articles; additional papers were identified by the expert panelists. Articles in the identified outcome areas were reviewed, evaluated and summarized by an expert panelist. The strength of the evidence, conclusions, key issues, and gaps in the evidence were abstracted in a standardized format and presented and discussed by panelists and organizational representatives. Most intervention studies used supervised programs of moderate to vigorous physical activity of 30 to 45 minutes duration 3 to 5 days per week. The panel believed that a greater amount of physical activity would be necessary to achieve similar beneficial effects on health and behavioral outcomes in ordinary daily circumstances (typically intermittent and unsupervised activity). School-age youth should participate daily in 60 minutes or more of moderate to vigorous physical activity that is developmentally appropriate, enjoyable, and involves a variety of activities.
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          Breaks in sedentary time: beneficial associations with metabolic risk.

          Total sedentary (absence of whole-body movement) time is associated with obesity, abnormal glucose metabolism, and the metabolic syndrome. In addition to the effects of total sedentary time, the manner in which it is accumulated may also be important. We examined the association of breaks in objectively measured sedentary time with biological markers of metabolic risk. Participants (n = 168, mean age 53.4 years) for this cross-sectional study were recruited from the 2004-2005 Australian Diabetes, Obesity and Lifestyle study. Sedentary time was measured by an accelerometer (counts/minute(-1) or = 100) was considered a break. Fasting plasma glucose, 2-h plasma glucose, serum triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, weight, height, waist circumference, and resting blood pressure were measured. MatLab was used to derive the breaks variable; SPSS was used for the statistical analysis. Independent of total sedentary time and moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity time, increased breaks in sedentary time were beneficially associated with waist circumference (standardized beta = -0.16, 95% CI -0.31 to -0.02, P = 0.026), BMI (beta = -0.19, -0.35 to -0.02, P = 0.026), triglycerides (beta = -0.18, -0.34 to -0.02, P = 0.029), and 2-h plasma glucose (beta = -0.18, -0.34 to -0.02, P = 0.025). This study provides evidence of the importance of avoiding prolonged uninterrupted periods of sedentary (primarily sitting) time. These findings suggest new public health recommendations regarding breaking up sedentary time that are complementary to those for physical activity.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]University of Nebraska Medical Center, College of Public Health, Department of Health Promotion, Social & Behavioral Health, Omaha, NE, United States of America
            [2 ]VMDO Architects, Charlottesville, VA, United States of America
            [3 ]University of Virginia School of Medicine, Department of Emergency Medicine, Charlottesville, VA, United States of America
            [4 ]New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY, United States of America
            [5 ]Federal Institute for Posture and Mobilisation Support, Wiesbaden, Germany
            [6 ]University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Center for Health Equity, Chapel Hill, NC, United States of America
            [7 ]City University of New York, School of Public Health, New York, NY, United States of America
            Arizona State University, UNITED STATES
            Author notes

            Competing Interests: The authors have the following interests. Dina Sorensen is employed by VMDO Architects. Terry Huang and Jeri Brittin have been consultants to VMDO Architects, in a capacity unrelated to this project. There are no patents, products in development or marketed products to declare. This does not alter the authors' adherence to all the PLOS ONE policies on sharing data and materials, as detailed online in the guide for authors.

            Wrote the paper: JB DS MT KKL DB LF TH. Contributed to literature searches: JB DS LF KKL. Contributed to qualitative analysis and review of literature: JB DS MT KKL DB LF TH. Developed strength of evidence ratings for sources and for design strategies: JB. Contributed to translation of findings to school design guidelines tool: JB DS MT KKL DB LF TH.

            Contributors
            Role: Editor
            Journal
            PLoS One
            PLoS ONE
            plos
            plosone
            PLoS ONE
            Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
            1932-6203
            31 July 2015
            2015
            : 10
            : 7
            26230850
            4521876
            10.1371/journal.pone.0132597
            PONE-D-14-41737
            (Editor)

            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 author and source are credited

            Counts
            Figures: 3, Tables: 1, Pages: 30
            Product
            Funding
            This work was supported by funding from YOUTH-NEX, the University of Virginia Center to Promote Effective Youth Development (MT and TH). The funder had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. VMDO Architects provided support in the form of a salary for author DS, but did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript. Unrelated to this project, authors TS and JB have been consultants to VMDO Architects. The specific roles of the authors are articulated in the ‘author contributions’ section.
            Categories
            Research Article
            Custom metadata
            All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files.

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