Special Issue "Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence"

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Víctor Arufe-Giráldez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Education, Universidade da Coruña, 15001 A Coruna , Spain
Interests: physical activity; physical education; children; psychomotricity; physical exercise
Prof. Dr. Rubén Navarro Patón
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Education, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15782 Santiago de Compostela, Spain
Interests: physical activity; physical education; first aid; physical exercise
Prof. Dr. Alberto Sanmiguel-Rodríguez
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Language and Education. University of Camilo José Cela. 28692 Madrid. Spain.
Interests: physical activity; physical education; children; healthy life style; physical exercise

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The latest reports prepared and published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and by different institutions dedicated to health in infancy and childhood warn of a high percentage of sedentary population in children.

The promotion of a healthy lifestyle from childhood can combat and reduce pathologies associated with sedentary lifestyle. The promotion of physical activity in children and adolescents must be one of the main objectives of all countries.

This Special Issue of the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (IJERPH) focuses on the current state of knowledge of physical activity in children. New research papers and reviews are welcome to this issue.

We will accept manuscripts from different disciplines, including sports sciences, physical education, medicine, physiotherapy, nutrition, psychology, and sociology, among others, as long as their research theme is physical activity in children.

Prof. Dr. Víctor Arufe-Giráldez
Prof. Dr. Rubén Navarro Patón
Prof. Dr. Alberto Sanmiguel-Rodríguez
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Physical education
  • Physical activity
  • Physical exercise
  • Motor skills
  • Children
  • Adolescents

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Article
Gender-Differentiated Analysis of the Correlation between Active Commuting to School vs. Active Commuting to Extracurricular Physical Activity Practice during Adolescence
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 5520; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18115520 - 21 May 2021
Viewed by 624
Abstract
Active commuting to school in children and adolescents can help achieve compliance with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for physical activity. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between the mode of transport used to go to school and the mode of [...] Read more.
Active commuting to school in children and adolescents can help achieve compliance with the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations for physical activity. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between the mode of transport used to go to school and the mode of transport used to go to extracurricular sports practice. Multistage random cluster sampling was conducted to include 128 schools with the participation of 11,017 students between the ages of 5 and 19. Participants completed the survey of sports habits designed by the National Sports Council. The results revealed that the mode of transport used to go to school is significantly related to the mode of transport used to go to sports practice. A total of 54.3% of students aged 5 to 19 years walk to school. A total of 23.7% of boys walk and 7.9% bike to extracurricular physical activities vs. 24.1% of girls who walk. The fact that girls only walk to extracurricular physical activities implies that the organized sports activities were nearby. Therefore, it seems crucial to have a wide range of physical activities on offer locally to promote extracurricular physical activity participation for girls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
Article
Association between Tobacco Consumption and Problematic Internet Use and the Practice of Physical Activity in Spanish Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(10), 5464; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18105464 - 20 May 2021
Viewed by 639
Abstract
The practice of physical activity (PA) is a healthy habit that offers health benefits. In contrast, the lack thereof may be associated with an increase in diseases, even at an early age. The objective of this study was to analyze the association between [...] Read more.
The practice of physical activity (PA) is a healthy habit that offers health benefits. In contrast, the lack thereof may be associated with an increase in diseases, even at an early age. The objective of this study was to analyze the association between unhealthy behaviors, such as tobacco consumption and problematic internet use, and the practice of PA in adolescents. Protective factors (physical activity and sport) and risk factors (leading a sedentary life, tobacco use, and problematic internet use) were evaluated. Other variables such as sex, the intensity of physical activity, and being a member of a sports federation were also evaluated. The sample consisted of a total of 1222 Spanish adolescents. Univariate descriptive analysis and multiple linear regression were used, and confirmatory factor analyses and structural models were also estimated. The results confirm a significant positive association between physical activity, intensity, and being a member of a sports federation, as well as between cigarette consumption and internet use. It is advisable to implement public policies that promote the practice of sports as a direct investment in health, preventing the consumption of tobacco and other habits that are harmful to the health of adolescents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
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Article
What Do Children Think of Their Perceived and Ideal Bodies? Understandings of Body Image at Early Ages: A Mixed Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4871; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094871 - 03 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 676
Abstract
Research into children’s body perceptions and ideals is scarce despite evidence of body dissatisfaction in childhood. This study aimed to understand preschoolers’ body image by employing a mixed design. Using a novel figural scale (Preschoolers’ Body Scale) that comprises four child figures ranging [...] Read more.
Research into children’s body perceptions and ideals is scarce despite evidence of body dissatisfaction in childhood. This study aimed to understand preschoolers’ body image by employing a mixed design. Using a novel figural scale (Preschoolers’ Body Scale) that comprises four child figures ranging in BMI, 395 children ages 4–6 (54% boys) selected their perceived and ideal body and explained why they picked these bodies. Children tended to underestimate their body size and many of them desired slimmer bodies, especially girls and older participants, although body-size perception improved with age. Most children showed body satisfaction, especially boys and younger children. Ideal body choices were not always explained by beauty ideals but by physical abilities, desire to grow up, mothers’ comments, and nutrition. Many responses reflected limited body awareness, suggesting body image may not yet be fully formed in preschoolers due to their incipient cognitive development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
Article
Teaching Methodologies and School Organization in Early Childhood Education and Its Association with Physical Activity
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3836; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18073836 - 06 Apr 2021
Viewed by 972
Abstract
Early childhood represents a crucial period for child development. Physical activity is essential in this process, but studies show that children are very inactive and do not meet the recommended minimums. Due to the large proportion of time they spend at school, it [...] Read more.
Early childhood represents a crucial period for child development. Physical activity is essential in this process, but studies show that children are very inactive and do not meet the recommended minimums. Due to the large proportion of time they spend at school, it is necessary to examine active and sedentary behaviors in these environments. The aim of the study is to analyze the amount and intensity of physical activity in preschool children during the school day according to the methodology used. Using accelerometry, the amount and intensity of physical activity and sedentary behavior of 156 children aged 4–6 years at different times of the school day were evaluated. The results revealed that preschoolers spend most of their class time sedentary, with children participating in active methodologies registering the highest amount and intensity of physical activity. Recess and specific motor sessions are the most active times, although the latter should increase the time of intense activity that they imply. To increase physical activity during the school day, it is necessary to establish movement integration methodologies, while increasing the number and adjusting the duration of specific motor sessions and of recesses, so that the maximum possible use is made of them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
Article
Gender Differences on Motor Competence in 5-Year-Old Preschool Children Regarding Relative Age
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3143; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063143 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 738
Abstract
The aim of this study was to evaluate the differences on motor competence between 5-year-old boys and girls and to investigate the existence of Relative Age Effect (RAE) on their motor competence. A total of 232 preschool children were evaluated of whom 134 [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to evaluate the differences on motor competence between 5-year-old boys and girls and to investigate the existence of Relative Age Effect (RAE) on their motor competence. A total of 232 preschool children were evaluated of whom 134 (57.8%) were boys and 98 (42.2%) were girls. The Movement Assessment Battery for Children-2 (MABC-2) was used to collect data. The data show a main effect on gender factor; there was a main effect in total score of manual dexterity (MD; p = 0.010), in total score of balance (Bal; p < 0.001), in total test score (TTS; p < 0.001), and in total percentile score (TPS, p < 0.001). In the semester of birth factor, there were differences in aiming and catching (A&C, p < 0.001), in Bal (p = 0.029) and in total percentile score (TPS, p = 0.010). Girls perform better in MD, Bal, TTS, and TPS than boys. Preschool children born in the first semester obtain, in general, a higher percentage and a higher percentile than their peers born in the second one. RAE is present in A&C, Bal, and TPS, with higher scores obtained by preschool children born in the first semester compared to those born in the second one. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
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Article
Associations between Sociodemographic, Dietary, and Substance Use Factors with Self-Reported 24-Hour Movement Behaviors in a Sample of Brazilian Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(5), 2527; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18052527 - 04 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 729
Abstract
We aimed to identify sociodemographic, dietary, and substance use factors associated with self-reported sleep duration, physical activity (PA), and sedentary behavior (SB) indicators in a sample of Brazilian adolescents. Adolescents (n = 731, 51% female, mean age: 16.4 years) answered a questionnaire. [...] Read more.
We aimed to identify sociodemographic, dietary, and substance use factors associated with self-reported sleep duration, physical activity (PA), and sedentary behavior (SB) indicators in a sample of Brazilian adolescents. Adolescents (n = 731, 51% female, mean age: 16.4 years) answered a questionnaire. The volume of total PA, sports, non-sports, total SB, leisure-time SB, involuntary SB, sleep duration, dietary behaviors, sociodemographic, and substance use indicators were self-reported. Multilevel linear models were fitted. Females engaged in less total PA, sports, total SB, and leisure-time SB, but in more involuntary SB than males. Age was positively associated with non-sports and involuntary SB. Socioeconomic status was positively associated with total PA. Adolescents who lived with the mother only practiced more sports compared to those living with two parents. Unprocessed food was positively associated with total PA and sports. Processed food was inversely associated with total PA and non-sports, and positively associated with total SB and leisure-time SB. Alcohol use was positively associated with total PA, and tobacco smoking was negatively associated with total PA. No associations were observed for sleep duration. In conclusion, sociodemographic, dietary, and substance use factors are associated with the 24 h movement behaviors among Brazilian adolescents, and some associations are type specific. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
Article
Internal and External Load Variations in Young Students: Comparisons between Small-Sided Games and Small-Sided Games Combined with Strength Training during Physical Education Classes
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(4), 1926; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18041926 - 17 Feb 2021
Viewed by 1223
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of internal and external load in soccer small-sided games (SSGs) and a strength program based on CrossFit combined with SSGs for 7 weeks. Fifty-five students participated in this research (age: 9.04 ± 0.19 [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to compare the effects of internal and external load in soccer small-sided games (SSGs) and a strength program based on CrossFit combined with SSGs for 7 weeks. Fifty-five students participated in this research (age: 9.04 ± 0.19 years) and were randomly assigned to SSGs (n = 27) or strength combined with SSGs (n = 29) group. Two sessions/week were implemented. The results revealed that internal load on SSGs promoted higher levels (p ≤ 0.001; d = 0.35) of light physical activity (PA) (12.24 cpm) compared with strength combined with SSGs (11.46) and % heart rate (%HR) max (p = 0.002; d = 0.48) between SSGs (96.21) regarding strength combined with SSGs (92.09). On external load, significant differences appear in total distance (p ≤ 0.001; d = 0.80) on SSGs (1326 m) compared with strength combined with SSGs (1004 m) and mean velocity (p ≤ 0.001; d = 0.63) in both groups; 2.71 km/h on SSGs and 2.26 km/h on strength combined with SSGs. The SSGs seem to be more appropriate at the beginning of sessions, but as the weeks advance, strength combined with SSGs results in improved internal load compared with SSGs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
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Article
Physical Activity and Daily Routine among Children Aged 0–12 during the COVID-19 Pandemic in Spain
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 703; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020703 - 15 Jan 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1710
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of many people. Objective: The aim of the present study was to analyse the physical activity (PA) and daily routine among children (0–12 years) during lockdown and to establish the main relationships among the variables. Methods: [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the lives of many people. Objective: The aim of the present study was to analyse the physical activity (PA) and daily routine among children (0–12 years) during lockdown and to establish the main relationships among the variables. Methods: A quantitative study with a descriptive–comparative and cross-sectional design carried out. The sample, selected for convenience, consisted of 837 Spanish children aged 0–12. The “Children and confinement” questionnaire was used, distributed electronically through Google Forms and social networks and activated for 45 days. The individuals participating in this study were mainly children (50.2%) who were in primary education (44.8%). Predominantly, the families of participants were biparental (87.9%), with established routines and schedules (85.7%). Results and conclusions: The use of digital screens is an important part of children’s daily routine. Their daily activities were practiced for more than three–six years, with more by girls. The time children devoted to sleep was directly proportional to the time they devoted to physical activity and indirectly proportional to the time they spent watching screens. The children who slept the most were those aged zero–three years, especially girls, who belonged to large families. The levels of physical activity in the sample were low, as were the times spent on activities such as music or games. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
Article
How Does the Execution of the Pilates Method and Therapeutic Exercise Influence Back Pain and Postural Alignment in Children Who Play String Instruments? A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(20), 7436; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17207436 - 13 Oct 2020
Viewed by 1751
Abstract
Background: Inappropriate posture in children while playing some string instruments can cause back pain and alterations of the spine. To date, there is no research on the effect of exercise on children who play a musical instrument, although it is known that [...] Read more.
Background: Inappropriate posture in children while playing some string instruments can cause back pain and alterations of the spine. To date, there is no research on the effect of exercise on children who play a musical instrument, although it is known that transversus abdominis muscle control through the Pilates method has shown pain reduction and posture improvement in this population. Objective: To assess the effectiveness of the Pilates method combined with therapeutic exercise with respect to therapeutic exercise exclusively in reducing pain and improving postural alignment in children playing string instruments applying a protocol of low dose to increase children’s adherence to training. Methods: A randomized controlled pilot study was designed with two parallel intervention groups. Twenty-five children (10–14 years old) were randomized in two intervention groups: Pilates method with therapeutic exercise (experimental) and therapeutic exercise (control) for 4 weeks (50 min per day, one day per week). Two assessments were performed (before and after treatment) to assess back pain and shoulders and hips alignment using a visual analog scale and the Kinovea program. Results: Statistically significant differences were obtained for pain reduction before (p = 0.04) and after (p = 0.01) playing the instrument in the experimental group. There were no significant changes in alignment improvement in any of the two groups. Conclusion: The application of a low dose of the Pilates method combined with therapeutic exercise could be a beneficial intervention for pain reduction before and after musical practice in children who play string instruments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
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Article
Evolution of the Habits of Physical Activity and Television Viewing in Spanish Children and Pre-Adolescents between 1997 and 2017
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(18), 6836; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17186836 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 997
Abstract
Background: Promoting healthy lifestyles in children, has become a priority for public health institutions. However, electronic devices with screens encourage sedentary behaviors. The aim of this study was to analyze the evolution of the habits of physical activity practice and television watching in [...] Read more.
Background: Promoting healthy lifestyles in children, has become a priority for public health institutions. However, electronic devices with screens encourage sedentary behaviors. The aim of this study was to analyze the evolution of the habits of physical activity practice and television watching in a cohort of 20 years of research in Spanish children. Methods: A cross-sectional, observational study was based on data from the Spain National Health Surveys between 1997 and 2017 (N = 11,444). The dependent variables considered were the frequency with which the minor practiced physical activity (PA) in his/her spare time, the daily TV viewing habit, and the daily hours of TV viewing. Results: The children who practiced physical activity daily has decreased 7.3% throughout the study period. The proportion of children who watched the television daily for more hours increased significantly (6.3%). Such increase was constant throughout the years, and the analysis by sex showed that the proportion of boys who watched television for more than three hours per day increased three percent, and that of girls increased fourfold. Conclusions: The habits of physical activity practice and television viewing have changed towards sedentary lifestyle. Particularly, the girls and the children between 12 and 14 years showed the most sedentary behavior. Public health policies must consider the differences between sexes in order for such interventions to be effective in the population of pre-adolescents, in general, and girls, in particular. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
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Review

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Review
Determining Factors in the Use of Urban Parks That Influence the Practice of Physical Activity in Children: A Systematic Review
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3648; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18073648 - 31 Mar 2021
Viewed by 863
Abstract
The design and/or remodelling of urban parks is a good health strategy to alleviate the lack of physical activity (PA) in children and, consequently, the different health problems derived from this. The main objective of the present study was to obtain a systematic [...] Read more.
The design and/or remodelling of urban parks is a good health strategy to alleviate the lack of physical activity (PA) in children and, consequently, the different health problems derived from this. The main objective of the present study was to obtain a systematic review of the design features and characteristics that influence users’ visits to urban parks and the PA engagement in them. A literature search was carried out in the Web of Science (WOS) and Scopus databases during the months of June and July 2020. After considering and applying inclusion criteria, the final review sample was formed of 31 scientific papers published between 2010–2020. The results obtained in the review lead us to conclude that the needs of the population (children and family members who care for them) and socio-economic context of the area in which they are built must be considered when constructing and/or remodelling parks. Involving community members in playground renovations can have a positive effect on park use and PA engagement in children. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
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Review
Factors That Influence Participation in Physical Activity in School-Aged Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review from the Social Ecological Model Perspective
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(6), 3147; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18063147 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1004
Abstract
High prevalence of physical inactivity and obesity in children and adolescents has become a global problem. This systematic review aimed to examine the existing literature regarding the factors that influence participation in physical activity (PA) in children and adolescents with reference to the [...] Read more.
High prevalence of physical inactivity and obesity in children and adolescents has become a global problem. This systematic review aimed to examine the existing literature regarding the factors that influence participation in physical activity (PA) in children and adolescents with reference to the social ecological model (SEM) proposed by McLeroy et al. (1988). The SEM provides a framework under which the influencing factors are categorized into five levels: intrapersonal, interpersonal, organizational, community, and public policy. A systematic search of relevant literature published before July 2020 was conducted through Ebsco, ProQuest, PubMed Central, Scopus, and Web of Science. A total of fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria. The selected articles were all of high quality as assessed using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool (2018). The results indicated that gender, age, ethnicity, and self-concept were the most common influencing factors at the intrapersonal level. At the interpersonal and organization levels, supports from friends, parents, and teachers were positive predictors of students’ PA participation. Accessibility of facilities and safe neighborhoods was a crucial factor that influenced children and adolescents’ participation in PA at the community level. Future studies on the effective types of policies or practices that could successfully promote facilities’ accessibility and improve neighborhood safety are required. The outcomes of this systematic review are expected to inform practice and support the development and implementation of sound policies for the promotion of PA participation in children or adolescents from a comprehensive social ecological viewpoint. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Activity in Childhood and Adolescence)
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