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      Mandatory Physical Education Classes of Two Hours per Week Can Be Comparable to Losing More than Five Kilograms for Chinese College Students


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          Despite releases of governmental guidelines for promoting physical fitness among the youth in China, the performance of college students in fitness tests has been declining over the past three decades. Obesity and physical inactivity have been proposed as two main causes. However, their relative importance for improving physical fitness remains unclear. To address this knowledge gap, we collected longitudinal data spanning four consecutive years on the physical fitness test for students from Nanjing University, China. Physical education classes of two hours per week were mandatory for the first two years. Using mixed effects models, we quantify the within-subject effects of weight, muscular endurance, sex, and mandatory physical education courses, among other variables, on physical fitness total score. We found that, in spite of the dominance of normal weight among the students, losing weight was positively associated with the total score, with significant sex differences in the associations. Compulsory exercise provided by physical education classes per week had strong positive impacts on the total score, comparable to losing weight of roughly 15–17 kg for males and 5–10 kg for females. Half sex difference in the total score was explained by male students’ poor performance in the muscular endurance represented by pull-ups. Our results suggest that college students in China should engage in physical activity of higher levels to improve their physical fitness, with a heightened awareness of extra fat under normal weight and insufficient muscular endurance.

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          Fitting Linear Mixed-Effects Models Usinglme4

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            Physical activity in the United States measured by accelerometer.

            To describe physical activity levels of children (6-11 yr), adolescents (12-19 yr), and adults (20+ yr), using objective data obtained with accelerometers from a representative sample of the U.S. population. These results were obtained from the 2003-2004 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES), a cross-sectional study of a complex, multistage probability sample of the civilian, noninstitutionalized U.S. population in the United States. Data are described from 6329 participants who provided at least 1 d of accelerometer data and from 4867 participants who provided four or more days of accelerometer data. Males are more physically active than females. Physical activity declines dramatically across age groups between childhood and adolescence and continues to decline with age. For example, 42% of children ages 6-11 yr obtain the recommended 60 min x d(-1) of physical activity, whereas only 8% of adolescents achieve this goal. Among adults, adherence to the recommendation to obtain 30 min x d(-1) of physical activity is less than 5%. Objective and subjective measures of physical activity give qualitatively similar results regarding gender and age patterns of activity. However, adherence to physical activity recommendations according to accelerometer-measured activity is substantially lower than according to self-report. Great care must be taken when interpreting self-reported physical activity in clinical practice, public health program design and evaluation, and epidemiological research.
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              Physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research.

              "Physical activity," "exercise," and "physical fitness" are terms that describe different concepts. However, they are often confused with one another, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. This paper proposes definitions to distinguish them. Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure. The energy expenditure can be measured in kilocalories. Physical activity in daily life can be categorized into occupational, sports, conditioning, household, or other activities. Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and has as a final or an intermediate objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness. Physical fitness is a set of attributes that are either health- or skill-related. The degree to which people have these attributes can be measured with specific tests. These definitions are offered as an interpretational framework for comparing studies that relate physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness to health.

                Author and article information

                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                Int J Environ Res Public Health
                International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
                08 December 2020
                December 2020
                : 17
                : 24
                [1 ]Department of Physical Education, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China; baodawei851219@ 123456126.com (D.B.); chengang121@ 123456nju.edu.cn (G.C.)
                [2 ]School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China; 161140062@ 123456smail.nju.edu.cn (Z.X.); zhang_yyyuan@ 123456163.com (Y.Z.); miaoxy@ 123456smail.nju.edu.cn (X.M.); bowang@ 123456smail.nju.edu.cn (B.W.); jing.li.mail99@ 123456gmail.com (J.L.)
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: xuchi@ 123456nju.edu.cn (C.X.); shuqingteng@ 123456nju.edu.cn (S.N.T.)
                © 2020 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


                Public health
                physical inactivity,physical fitness tests,within-subject effects,muscular endurance,institutional interventions,sex differences


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