Publications by authors named "Esther M F van Sluijs"

151 Publications

The school policy, social, and physical environment and change in adolescent physical activity: An exploratory analysis using the LASSO.

PLoS One 2021 8;16(4):e0249328. Epub 2021 Apr 8.

UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Purpose: We examined the association between the school policy, social and physical environment and change in adolescent physical activity (PA) and explored how sex and socioeconomic status modified potential associations.

Methods: Data from the GoActive study were used for these analyses. Participants were adolescents (n = 1765, mean age±SD 13.2±0.4y) from the East of England, UK. Change in longitudinal accelerometer assessed moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) was the outcome. School policy, social and physical environment features (n = 267) were exposures. The least absolute shrinkage and selection operator variable selection method (LASSO) was used to determine exposures most relevant to the outcome. Exposures selected by the LASSO were added to a multiple linear regression model with estimates of change in min/day of MVPA per 1-unit change in each exposure reported. Post-hoc analyses, exploring associations between change in variables selected by the LASSO and change in MVPA, were undertaken to further explain findings.

Findings: No school policy or physical environment features were selected by the LASSO as predictors of change in MVPA. The LASSO selected two school social environment variables (participants asking a friend to do physical activity; friend asking a participant to do physical activity) as potential predictors of change in MVPA but no significant associations were found in subsequent linear regression models for all participants (β [95%CI] -1.01 [-2.73;0.71] and 0.65 [-2.17;0.87] min/day respectively). In the post-hoc analyses, for every unit increase in change in participants asking a friend to do PA and change in a friend asking participants to do PA, an increase in MVPA of 2.78 (1.55;4.02) and 1.80 (0.48;3.11) min/day was predicted respectively.

Conclusions: The school social environment is associated with PA during adolescence. Further exploration of how friendships during adolescence may be leveraged to support effective PA promotion in schools is warranted.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0249328PLOS
April 2021

Evaluation of the Dissemination of the South African 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Birth to 5 Years.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2021 Mar 17;18(6). Epub 2021 Mar 17.

SA MRC Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit, School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, 2050 Johannesburg, South Africa.

South Africa (SA) launched their 24-h movement guidelines for birth to five years in December 2018. The guideline dissemination plan adopted a "train-the-trainer" strategy through dissemination workshops with community-based organisations (CBOs) working in early childhood development. The aim of this paper is to: (1) document this dissemination process; and (2) report on the feasibility of implementing the dissemination workshops, the acceptability of the workshops (and guidelines) for different end-user groups, and the extent to which CBO representatives disseminated the guidelines to end-users. Fifteen workshops were held in seven of SA's nine provinces with a total of 323 attendees. Quantitative and qualitative findings ( = 281) indicate that these workshops were feasible for community-based dissemination of the guidelines and that this method of dissemination was acceptable to CBOs and end-users. Findings from follow-up focus groups (6 groups, = 28 participants) indicate that the guidelines were shared with end-users of CBOs who participated in the focus groups. An additional musical storytelling resource, the "Woza, Mntwana" song, was well-received by participants; sharing via WhatsApp was believed to be the most effective way to disseminate this song. These findings confirm the feasibility and acceptability of culturally appropriate and context-specific community-based dissemination of behavioural guidelines in low-income settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18063071DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8002461PMC
March 2021

Can public sector community health workers deliver a nurturing care intervention in South Africa? The Amagugu Asakhula feasibility study.

Pilot Feasibility Stud 2021 Feb 27;7(1):60. Epub 2021 Feb 27.

SAMRC/Wits Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit (DPHRU), School of Clinical Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Background: Nurturing care interventions have the potential to promote health and development in early childhood. Amagugu Asakhula was designed to promote developmentally important dietary and movement behaviours among children of preschool age (3-5 years) in South Africa. An initial formative study in Cape Town found the intervention to be feasible and acceptable when delivered by community health workers (CHWs) linked to a community-based organisation. This study evaluated the delivery of the Amagugu Asakhula intervention by CHWs linked to a public sector primary health care facility in Soweto, as this mode of delivery could have more potential for sustainability and scalability.

Methods: A qualitative design was utilised to assess feasibility, acceptability, adoption, appropriateness, implementation, fidelity and context. CHWs (n = 14) delivered the intervention to caregivers (n = 23) of preschool-age children in Soweto over 6 weeks. Following the completion of the intervention, focus group discussions were held with CHWs and caregivers. Further data were obtained through observations, study records and key informant interviews (n = 5). Data were analysed using deductive thematic analysis guided by a process evaluation framework.

Results: The delivery of the Amagugu Asakhula intervention through CHWs linked to a primary health care facility in Soweto was not found to be feasible due to contextual challenges such as late payment of salaries influencing CHW performance and willingness to deliver the intervention. CHWs expressed dissatisfaction with their general working conditions and were thus reluctant to take on new tasks. Despite barriers to successful delivery, the intervention was well received by both CHWs and caregivers and was considered a good fit with the CHWs' scope of work.

Conclusions: Based on these findings, delivery of the Amagugu Asakhula intervention is not recommended through public sector CHWs in South Africa. This feasibility study informs the optimisation of implementation and supports further testing of the intervention's effectiveness when delivered by CHWs linked to community-based organisations. The present study further demonstrates how implementation challenges can be identified through qualitative feasibility studies and subsequently addressed prior to large-scale trials, avoiding the wasting of research and resources.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40814-021-00802-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7912559PMC
February 2021

Effectiveness of Minimal Contact Interventions: An RCT.

Am J Prev Med 2021 03;60(3):e111-e121

Primary Care Unit, Department of Public Health and Primary Care, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Introduction: Around 23% of adults worldwide are insufficiently active. Wearable devices paired with virtual coaching software could increase physical activity. The effectiveness of 3 minimal contact interventions (paper-based physical activity diaries, activity trackers, and activity trackers coupled with virtual coaching) in increasing physical activity energy expenditure and cardiorespiratory fitness were compared over 12 weeks among inactive adults.

Methods: This was an open label, parallel-group RCT. Inactive adults (aged ≥18 years, N=488) were randomized to no intervention (Control; n=121), paper-based diary (Diary; n=124), activity tracker (Activity Band; n=122), or activity tracker plus virtual coaching (Activity Band PLUS; n=121) groups. Coprimary outcomes included 12-week changes in physical activity energy expenditure and fitness (May 2012-January 2014). Analyses were conducted in 2019-2020.

Results: There were no differences between groups overall (physical activity energy expenditure: p=0.114, fitness: p=0.417). However, there was a greater increase in physical activity energy expenditure (4.21 kJ/kg/day, 95% CI=0.42, 8.00) in the Activity Band PLUS group than in the Diary group. There were also greater decreases in BMI and body fat percentage in the Activity Band PLUS group than in the Control group (BMI= -0.24 kg/m, 95% CI= -0.45, -0.03; body fat= -0.48%, 95% CI= -0.88, -0.08) and in theActivity Band PLUS group than in the Diary group (BMI= -0.30 kg/m, 95% CI= -0.50, -0.09; body fat= -0.57%, 95% CI= -0.97, -0.17).

Conclusions: Coupling activity trackers with virtual coaching may facilitate increases in physical activity energy expenditure compared with a traditional paper‒based physical activity diary intervention and improve some secondary outcomes compared with a traditional paper‒based physical activity diary intervention or no intervention.

Trial Registration: This study is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov ISRCTN31844443.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.amepre.2020.10.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7899959PMC
March 2021

Children's moderate-to-vigorous physical activity on weekdays versus weekend days: a multi-country analysis.

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2021 02 10;18(1):28. Epub 2021 Feb 10.

MRC Epidemiology Unit & Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Purpose: The Structured Days Hypothesis (SDH) posits that children's behaviors associated with obesity - such as physical activity - are more favorable on days that contain more 'structure' (i.e., a pre-planned, segmented, and adult-supervised environment) such as school weekdays, compared to days with less structure, such as weekend days. The purpose of this study was to compare children's moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) levels on weekdays versus weekend days using a large, multi-country, accelerometer-measured physical activity dataset.

Methods: Data were received from the International Children's Accelerometer Database (ICAD) July 2019. The ICAD inclusion criteria for a valid day of wear, only non-intervention data (e.g., baseline intervention data), children with at least 1 weekday and 1 weekend day, and ICAD studies with data collected exclusively during school months, were included for analyses. Mixed effects models accounting for the nested nature of the data (i.e., days within children) assessed MVPA minutes per day (min/day MVPA) differences between weekdays and weekend days by region/country, adjusted for age, sex, and total wear time. Separate meta-analytical models explored differences by age and country/region for sex and child weight-status.

Results/findings: Valid data from 15 studies representing 5794 children (61% female, 10.7 ± 2.1 yrs., 24% with overweight/obesity) and 35,263 days of valid accelerometer data from 5 distinct countries/regions were used. Boys and girls accumulated 12.6 min/day (95% CI: 9.0, 16.2) and 9.4 min/day (95% CI: 7.2, 11.6) more MVPA on weekdays versus weekend days, respectively. Children from mainland Europe had the largest differences (17.1 min/day more MVPA on weekdays versus weekend days, 95% CI: 15.3, 19.0) compared to the other countries/regions. Children who were classified as overweight/obese or normal weight/underweight accumulated 9.5 min/day (95% CI: 6.9, 12.2) and 10.9 min/day (95% CI: 8.3, 13.5) of additional MVPA on weekdays versus weekend days, respectively.

Conclusions: Children from multiple countries/regions accumulated significantly more MVPA on weekdays versus weekend days during school months. This finding aligns with the SDH and warrants future intervention studies to prioritize less-structured days, such as weekend days, and to consider providing opportunities for all children to access additional opportunities to be active.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12966-021-01095-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7877033PMC
February 2021

Associations between mentally-passive and mentally-active sedentary behaviours during adolescence and psychological distress during adulthood.

Prev Med 2021 Apr 22;145:106436. Epub 2021 Jan 22.

MRC Epidemiology Unit and Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

It is unclear if different types of sedentary behaviour during the adolescence are differentially associated with psychological distress during adolescence and adulthood. It is also unknown what may mediate this potential proposed association. The current study aimed to analyse the association of mentally-active and mentally-passive sedentary behaviours during adolescence (16y) with subsequent psychological distress during adulthood (42y), and to examine the role of potential mediators (42y). Data from the 1970 British Cohort Study was used (N = 1787). At age 16y participants reported time and frequency in mentally-passive (TV-viewing and watching movies) and mentally-active (reading books, doing homework and playing computer games) sedentary behaviours, psychological distress and organized sports participation. At 42y, participants reported cognition (vocabulary test), TV-viewing, psychological distress, self-rated health, body mass index and employment status. Education was collected throughout the follow-up years. Logistic regression and mediation models assessed associations. Multiple imputation using chained equations was used to assess the impact of missing data. Mentally-passive sedentary behaviour in adolescence was a risk factor for psychological distress during adulthood in complete-cases analysis [OR:1.44(95%CI:1.09-1.90)], which was confirmed by the model with multiple imputation. Mentally-active sedentary behaviour at 16y was not associated with psychological distress at 42y. Adult TV-viewing during weekends (24.7%), and self-rated health (19.0%) mediated the association between mentally-passive sedentary behaviour during adolescence and psychological distress during adulthood. However, the mediation was not clear in the models with multiple imputation. Mentally-passive sedentary behaviour during adolescence was associated with elevated psychological distress during adulthood and this association was mediated TV-viewing and self-rated health in adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2021.106436DOI Listing
April 2021

Cohabitation and marriage during the transition between adolescence and emerging adulthood: A systematic review of changes in weight-related outcomes, diet and physical activity.

Prev Med Rep 2020 Dec 28;20:101261. Epub 2020 Nov 28.

MRC Epidemiology Unit and Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Our aim was to systematically review the effect of cohabitation and marriage on physical activity, diet and weight-related outcomes during emerging adulthood. A systematic search of six electronic databases was conducted until July 2019 (PROSPERO:CRD42018106943). Prospective studies were included if data were presented for a weight-related outcome, physical activity, and/or diet among 15-35 years-old participants assessed pre- and post-cohabitation or marriage and compared to a consistently non-cohabiting/non-married (single) reference group. Following title/abstract screening, two reviewers independently screened full-text and assessed risk of bias. There were 11 studies that met inclusion criteria. Outcomes included: body mass index (BMI) only (n = 3), physical activity only (n = 4), diet only (n = 2), BMI and physical activity (n = 1), and all outcomes (n = 1). Cohabitation or marriage was associated with greater BMI increases compared to remaining single among both men and women. Three studies analysed separately cohabitation and marriage and 3 of 4 found that only marriage was associated with higher BMI. Compared to being consistently single, starting cohabitation or getting married were associated with decreased physical activity in 2 of 4 studies among men and 4 of 6 studies among women, with no differences between marriage and cohabitation. Of the three studies examining change in diet, two showed no difference between individuals beginning to cohabit compared to those remaining single; without gender differences. Starting cohabitation and getting married may be valuable targets for weight management interventions, but more studies are needed to investigate the effect of cohabitation and marriage on health behaviours.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2020.101261DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7736988PMC
December 2020

Effective and resource-efficient strategies for recruiting families in physical activity, sedentary behavior, nutrition, and obesity prevention research: A systematic review with expert opinion.

Obes Rev 2021 Apr 16;22(4):e13161. Epub 2020 Dec 16.

MRC Epidemiology Unit & Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

We systematically identified effective and resource-efficient strategies for recruiting families into health promoting intervention research. Four databases were searched for reviews. Interventions were extracted from included reviews. Additionally, a Delphi study was conducted with 35 experts in family-based research. We assessed extracted data from our review and Delphi participants' opinions by collating responses into overarching themes based on recruitment setting then recruitment strategies to identify effective and resource-efficient strategies for recruiting families into intervention research. A total of 64 articles (n = 49 studies) were included. Data regarding recruitment duration (33%), target sample size (32%), reach (18%), expressions of interest (33%), and enrollment rate (22%) were scarcely reported. Recruitment settings (84%) and strategies (73%) used were available for most studies. However, the details were vague, particularly regarding who was responsible for recruitment or how recruitment strategies were implemented. The Delphi showed recruitment settings, and strategies fell under six themes: school-based, print/electronic media, community settings-based, primary care-based, employer-based, and referral-based strategies. Underrecruitment in family-based trials is a major issue. Reporting on recruitment can be improved by better adherence to existing guidelines. Our findings suggest a multifaceted recruitment approach targeting adults and children with multiple exposures to study information.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13161DOI Listing
April 2021

How do associations between sleep duration and metabolic health differ with age in the UK general population?

PLoS One 2020 23;15(11):e0242852. Epub 2020 Nov 23.

Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) & MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Background: Despite a growing body of evidence suggesting that short sleep duration may be linked to adverse metabolic outcomes, how these associations differ between age groups remains unclear. We use eight years of data from the UK National Diet and Nutritional Survey (NDNS) (2008-2016) to analyse cross-sectional relationships between sleep duration and metabolic risk in participants aged 11-70 years.

Methods: Participants (n = 2008) who provided both metabolic risk and sleep duration data were included. Self-reported sleep duration was standardised by age, to account for differences in age-related sleep requirements. A standardised metabolic risk score was constructed, comprising: waist circumference, blood pressure, serum triglycerides, serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and fasting plasma glucose. Regression models were constructed across four age groups from adolescents to older adults.

Results: Overall, decreased sleep duration (hrs) was associated with an increased metabolic risk (standard deviations) with significant quadratic (B:0.028 [95%CI: 0.007, 0.050]) and linear (B:-0.061 [95%CI: -0.111, -0.011]) sleep duration coefficients. When separated by age group, stronger associations were seen among mid-aged adults (36-50y) (quadratic coefficient: 0.038 [95%CI: 0.002, 0.074]) compared to other age groups (e.g. adolescents (11-18y), quadratic coefficient: -0.009 [95%CI: -0.042, 0.025]). An increased difference between weekend and weekday sleep was only associated with increased metabolic risk in adults aged 51-70 years (B:0.18 [95%CI: 0.005, 0.348]).

Conclusions: Our results indicate that sleep duration is linked to adverse metabolic risk and suggest heterogeneity between age groups. Longitudinal studies with larger sample sizes are required to explore long-term effects of abnormal sleep and potential remedial benefits.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0242852PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7682906PMC
January 2021

Reach, Recruitment, Dose, and Intervention Fidelity of the GoActive School-Based Physical Activity Intervention in the UK: A Mixed-Methods Process Evaluation.

Children (Basel) 2020 Nov 17;7(11). Epub 2020 Nov 17.

UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) and MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 0QQ, UK.

School-based multi-component physical activity (PA) promotion is advocated; however, research has indicated that a multi-component approach may not always be effective at increasing adolescent PA. Evaluation of the GoActive 12-week multi-component school-based intervention showed no effect on adolescent PA. A mixed-methods process evaluation was embedded to facilitate greater understanding of the results, to elicit subgroup perceptions, and to provide insight into contextual factors influencing intervention implementation. This paper presents the reach, recruitment, dose, and fidelity of GoActive, and identifies challenges to implementation. The process evaluation employed questionnaires (1543 Year 9s), individual interviews (16 Year 9s; 7 facilitators; 9 contact teachers), focus groups (48 Year 9s; 58 mentors), alongside GoActive website analytics and researcher observations. GoActive sessions reached 39.4% of Year 9s. Intervention satisfaction was relatively high for mentors (87.3%) and facilitators (85.7%), but lower for Year 9s (59.5%) and teachers (50%). Intervention fidelity was mixed within and between schools. Mentorship was the most implemented component. Factors potentially contributing to low implementation included ambiguity of the roles subgroups played within intervention delivery, Year 9 engagement, institutional support, and further school-level constraints. Multiple challenges and varying contextual considerations hindered the implementation of GoActive in multiple school sites. Methods to overcome contextual challenges to implementation warrant in-depth consideration and innovative approaches.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/children7110231DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7698468PMC
November 2020

The impact of adult behavioural weight management interventions on mental health: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Obes Rev 2021 Apr 25;22(4):e13150. Epub 2020 Oct 25.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

There is good evidence that behavioural weight management interventions improve physical health; however, the impact on mental health remains unclear. We evaluated the impact of behavioural weight management interventions on mental health-related outcomes in adults with overweight or obesity at intervention-end and 12 months from baseline. Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials (RCTs) or cluster RCTs of adult behavioural weight loss interventions reporting affect, anxiety, binge eating, body image, depression, emotional eating, quality of life, self-esteem and stress. We searched seven databases from inception to 7 May 2019 and included 43 articles reporting 42 RCTs. Eighteen studies were deemed to be at high risk of bias. We conducted random-effects meta-analyses, stratified analyses and meta-regression using Stata. Interventions generated greater improvements than comparators for depression, mental health-related quality of life and self-efficacy at intervention-end and 12 months from baseline. There was no difference between groups for anxiety, overall quality of life, self-esteem or stress at intervention-end. There was insufficient evidence to assess the impact on anxiety, binge eating, body image, emotional eating, affect, life satisfaction, self-esteem or stress at intervention-end and/or 12 months from baseline. Although evidence suggests that interventions benefit some aspects of mental health, high-quality, transparently reported RCTs measuring a range of mental health outcomes over longer durations are required to strengthen the evidence base.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.13150DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7116866PMC
April 2021

Associations of early adulthood life transitions with changes in fast food intake: a latent trajectory analysis.

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2020 10 9;17(1):130. Epub 2020 Oct 9.

Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.

Background: Early adulthood is a period of rapid personal development when individuals experience major life transitions (e.g. leaving the parental home, leaving education, beginning employment, cohabitation and parenthood). Changes in social and physical environments associated with these transitions may influence development of health-related behaviours. Consumption of fast food is one behaviour associated with poor diet and long-term health outcomes. In this study we assess how frequency of fast food consumption changes across early adulthood, and how major life transitions are associated with changes in fast food intake.

Methods: Data were collected across four waves of the Project EAT study, from mean age 14.9 (SD = 1.6) to mean age 31.1 (SD = 1.6) years. Participants reporting data at two or more waves were included (n = 2902). Participants reported past week frequency of eating food from a fast food restaurant and responded to questions on living arrangements, education and employment participation, and having children. To assess changes in fast food we developed a latent growth model incorporating an underlying trajectory of fast food intake, five life transitions, and time-invariant covariates.

Results: Mean fast food intake followed an underlying quadratic trajectory, increasing through adolescence to a maximum of 1.88 (SE 0.94) times/week and then decreasing again through early adulthood to 0.76 (SE 2.06) times/week at wave 4. Beginning full-time employment and becoming a parent both contributed to increases in fast food intake, each resulting in an average increase in weekly fast food intake of 0.16 (p < 0.01) times/week. Analysis of changes between pairs of waves revealed stronger associations for these two transitions between waves 1-2 (mean age 14.9-19.4 years) than seen in later waves. Leaving the parental home and beginning cohabitation were associated with decreases in fast food intake of - 0.17 (p = 0.004) and - 0.16 (p = 0.007) times/week respectively, while leaving full-time education was not associated with any change.

Conclusions: The transitions of beginning full-time employment and becoming a parent were associated with increases in fast food intake. Public health policy or interventions designed to reduce fast food intake in young adults may benefit from particular focus on populations experiencing these transitions, to ameliorate their impact.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-01024-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7547405PMC
October 2020

Sociodemographic profiles, educational attainment and physical activity associated with The Daily Mile™ registration in primary schools in England: a national cross-sectional linkage study.

J Epidemiol Community Health 2021 Feb 1;75(2):137-144. Epub 2020 Oct 1.

Primary Care and Public Health, Imperial College London, London, UK.

Objective: To examine primary school and local authority characteristics associated with registration for The Daily Mile (TDM), an active mile initiative aimed at increasing physical activity in children.

Design: A cross-sectional linkage study using routinely collected data.

Setting: All state-funded primary schools in England from 2012 to 2018 (n=15,815).

Results: 3,502 of all 15,815 (22.1%) state-funded primary schools in England were registered to do TDM, ranging from 16% in the East Midlands region to 31% in Inner London. Primary schools registered for TDM had larger mean pupil numbers compared with schools that had not registered (300 vs 269, respectively). There was a higher proportion of TDM-registered schools in urban areas compared with non-urban areas. There was local authority variation in the likelihood of school registration (intraclass correlation coefficient: 0.094). After adjusting for school and local authority characteristics, schools located in a major urban conurbation (OR 1.46 (95% CI 1.24 to 1.71) urban vs rural) and schools with a higher proportion of disadvantaged pupils had higher odds of being registered for TDM (OR 1.16 (95% CI 1.02 to 1.33)). Area-based physical activity and schools' educational attainment were not significantly associated with registration to TDM.

Conclusion: One in five primary schools in England has registered for TDM since 2012. TDM appears to be a wide-reaching school-based physical activity intervention that is reaching more disadvantaged primary school populations in urban areas where obesity prevalence is highest. TDM-registered schools include those with both high and low educational attainment and are in areas with high and low physical activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/jech-2020-214203DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7815899PMC
February 2021

A whole family-based physical activity promotion intervention: findings from the families reporting every step to health (FRESH) pilot randomised controlled trial.

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2020 09 22;17(1):120. Epub 2020 Sep 22.

MRC Epidemiology Unit and Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Introduction: This study assessed the feasibility and acceptability of FRESH (Families Reporting Every Step to Health), a theory-based child-led family physical activity (PA) intervention delivered online. We also assessed the preliminary effectiveness of the intervention on outcomes of interest and whether pre-specified criteria were met to progress to a full-scale definitive trial.

Methods: In a three-armed randomised pilot trial, 41 families (with a 7-11-year-old index child) were allocated to a: 'family' (FAM), 'pedometer-only' (PED), or a no-treatment control (CON) arm. The FAM arm received access to the FRESH website, allowing participants to select step challenges to 'travel' to target cities around the world, log their steps, and track progress as families virtually globetrot. FAM and PED arms also received family sets of pedometers. All family members could participate in the evaluation. Physical (e.g., fitness, blood pressure), psychosocial (e.g., social support), behavioural (e.g., objectively-measured PA), and economic (e.g., expenditure for PA) data were collected at baseline, 8- and 52-weeks.

Results: At 8- and 52-weeks, 98 and 88% of families were retained, respectively. Most children liked participating in the study (> 90%) and thought it was fun (> 80%). Compared to the PED (45%) and CON (39%) arms, a higher percentage of children in the FAM (81%) arm reported doing more activities with their family. Adults agreed that FRESH encouraged their family do more PA and made their family more aware of the amount of PA they do. No notable between-group differences were found for childrens' minutes in moderate-to-vigorous PA. Sizeable changes of 9.4 (95%CI: 0.4, 18.4) and 15.3 (95%CI: 6.0, 24.5) minutes in moderate-to-vigorous PA was found for adults in the FAM group compared to those in the PED or CON groups, respectively. No other notable differences were found.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates feasibility and acceptability of the FRESH intervention. All progression criteria were at least partially satisfied. However, we failed to recruit the target sample size and did not find a signal of effectiveness on PA particularly long-term or in children. Further refinements are required to progress to a full-scale trial.

Trial Registration: This study was prospectively registered ( ISRCTN12789422 ) on 16/03/2016.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-01025-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7510101PMC
September 2020

Association of Child and Adolescent Mental Health With Adolescent Health Behaviors in the UK Millennium Cohort.

JAMA Netw Open 2020 08 3;3(8):e2011381. Epub 2020 Aug 3.

Medical Research Council, Epidemiology Unit, Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Importance: There is potential for mental health status to act as a determinant of an individual's ability to engage in healthful lifestyle behaviors.

Objective: To investigate the associations of parent-reported mental health problems during childhood and self-reported mental health problems in adolescence with health behaviors in adolescence.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This cohort study used data from wave 4 (collected in 2008) and wave 6 (collected in 2015) of the Millennium Cohort Study, a UK population-representative longitudinal study of young people born during 2000 to 2001. Wave 4 included data on parent-reported mental health issues for children at age 7 years. Wave 6 included data on self-reported mental health problems as well as health behaviors for the same children at age 14 years. Data were analyzed July 5, 2020.

Exposures: Mental health problems at age 7 years were parent-reported using Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Mental health problems at age 14 years were self-reported using the Short Mood and Feelings Questionnaire.

Main Outcomes And Measures: Health behaviors at age 14 years were the main outcome of interest. Sleep duration; fruit, vegetable, and soft drink consumption; and social media use were self-reported using recall on a typical day. Regression models were calculated for each lifestyle variable, with mental health change from ages 7 to 14 years as the exposure variable. Data were weighted to account for the potential clustering of region of sampling and adjusted for nonresponse.

Results: A total of 9369 participants were included in waves 4 and 6 of the Millennium Cohort Study, including 4665 (48.1%) girls and 6014 participants (81.9%) who were born in England. Adolescents who self-reported mental health problems at age 14 years only were less likely to have at least 9 hours of sleep (odds ratio [OR], 0.39; 95% CI, 0.34-0.45) and to consume fruit (OR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.46-0.65) and vegetables (OR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.52-0.83) reported greater use of social media (b = 0.62; 95% CI, 0.49-0.75) compared with individuals who did not have mental health problems at both time points. Similarly, those with mental health problems at both time points were less likely to achieve 9 hours sleep (OR, 0.68; 95% CI, 0.51-0.90), consume fruit (OR, 0.39; 95% CI, 0.26-0.58) and vegetables (OR, 0.57; 95% CI, 0.35-0.91), and reported greater social media use (b = 0.63; 95% CI, 0.34-0.91).

Conclusions And Relevance: These findings suggest that the presence of depressive symptoms at ages 7 and 14 years and at age 14 years only were associated with some health behaviors in adolescence. These findings are particularly important given that independent health behaviors can deteriorate and become habitual during adolescence, and adolescence is a known time for the first emergence of mental health problems that continue into adulthood.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.11381DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7417966PMC
August 2020

Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the GoActive intervention to increase physical activity among UK adolescents: A cluster randomised controlled trial.

PLoS Med 2020 07 23;17(7):e1003210. Epub 2020 Jul 23.

UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom.

Background: Less than 20% of adolescents globally meet recommended levels of physical activity, and not meeting these recommended levels is associated with social disadvantage and rising disease risk. The determinants of physical activity in adolescents are multilevel and poorly understood, but the school's social environment likely plays an important role. We conducted a cluster randomised controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a school-based programme (GoActive) to increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) among adolescents.

Methods And Findings: Non-fee-paying, co-educational schools including Year 9 students in the UK counties of Cambridgeshire and Essex were eligible for inclusion. Within participating schools (n = 16), all Year 9 students were eligible and invited to participate. Participants were 2,862 13- to 14-year-olds (84% of eligible students). After baseline assessment, schools were computer-randomised, stratified by school-level pupil premium funding (below/above county-specific median) and county (control: 8 schools, 1,319 participants, mean [SD] participants per school n = 165 [62]; intervention: 8 schools, 1,543 participants, n = 193 [43]). Measurement staff were blinded to allocation. The iteratively developed, feasibility-tested 12-week intervention, aligned with self-determination theory, trained older adolescent mentors and in-class peer-leaders to encourage classes to conduct 2 new weekly activities. Students and classes gained points and rewards for engaging in any activity in or out of school. The primary outcome was average daily minutes of accelerometer-assessed MVPA at 10-month follow-up; a mixed-methods process evaluation evaluated implementation. Of 2,862 recruited participants (52.1% male), 2,167 (76%) attended 10-month follow-up measurements; we analysed the primary outcome for 1,874 participants (65.5%). At 10 months, there was a mean (SD) decrease in MVPA of 8.3 (19.3) minutes in the control group and 10.4 (22.7) minutes in the intervention group (baseline-adjusted difference [95% confidence interval] -1.91 minutes [-5.53 to 1.70], p = 0.316). The programme cost £13 per student compared with control; it was not cost-effective. Overall, 62.9% of students and 87.3% of mentors reported that GoActive was fun. Teachers and mentors commented that their roles in programme delivery were unclear. Implementation fidelity was low. The main methodological limitation of this study was the relatively affluent and ethnically homogeneous sample.

Conclusions: In this study, we observed that a rigorously developed school-based intervention was no more effective than standard school practice at preventing declines in adolescent physical activity. Interdisciplinary research is required to understand educational-setting-specific implementation challenges. School leaders and authorities should be realistic about expectations of the effect of school-based physical activity promotion strategies implemented at scale.

Trial Registration: ISRCTN Registry ISRCTN31583496.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1003210DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7377379PMC
July 2020

Cohabiting and becoming a parent: associations with changes in physical activity in the 1970 British cohort study.

BMC Public Health 2020 Jul 10;20(1):1085. Epub 2020 Jul 10.

MRC Epidemiology Unit and Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Box 285, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.

Background: We examined the association between family-related life events (cohabitation/marriage and becoming a parent) and change in physical activity.

Methods: Longitudinal data (n = 8045) from the 1970 British Cohort Study (30 and 34 years) were included. Life events (beginning cohabitation/marriage and becoming a parent) were reported and coded: 0 no, 1 yes, for each event occurring between 30 and 34 years. Participants reported frequency of participation in leisure-time physical activity at 30 and 34 years (Likert scale: mean change calculated ranging between - 4 and 4). Linear regression models were used to examine the association between life events and physical activity change (comparing individuals experiencing events between 30 and 34 years versus never experiencing the event - excluding participants that experienced previous events - with a final analysis sample of n = 3833 in parenthood analysis; n = 1137 in cohabitation analysis). Interaction terms were used to analyse combined parenthood and cohabitation status. Analyses were adjusted for level of education achieved, ethnicity, country of origin and other life events. ANCOVA was used to examine associations between change in physical activity and child age.

Results: Compared to remaining without children, becoming a parent was associated with a greater reduction in physical activity among men [β:-0.234(95%CI:-0.396 to - 0.072)] but not women [0.126(- 0.048;0.301)]. No associations were found between cohabitation and physical activity. Men who became fathers both while cohabitating [- 0.201(- 0.383;-0.020)] and without cohabiting [- 0.937(- 1.623;-0.250)] experienced greater physical activity declines than those remaining single and without children; the decline was greatest among non-cohabiting fathers. These associations did not differ by child age.

Conclusions: Parenthood appears to differentially impact physical activity for men and women; this association also differs by cohabitation status. Parenthood appears to be most detrimental to physical activity levels among men. Interventions for physical activity could target new or soon-to-be parents, especially fathers. Further analyses with device-measured physical activity data would be valuable to advance understanding of these associations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-020-09187-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7353783PMC
July 2020

Birth weight, cardiometabolic risk factors and effect modification of physical activity in children and adolescents: pooled data from 12 international studies.

Int J Obes (Lond) 2020 10 3;44(10):2052-2063. Epub 2020 Jun 3.

Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.

Objectives: Low and high birth weight is associated with higher levels of cardiometabolic risk factors and adiposity in children and adolescents, and increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and early mortality later in life. Moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) is associated with lower cardiometabolic risk factors and may mitigate the detrimental consequences of high or low birth weight. Thus, we examined whether MVPA modified the associations between birth weight and cardiometabolic risk factors in children and adolescents.

Methods: We used pooled individual data from 12 cohort- or cross-sectional studies including 9,100 children and adolescents. Birth weight was measured at birth or maternally reported retrospectively. Device-measured physical activity (PA) and cardiometabolic risk factors were measured in childhood or adolescence. We tested for associations between birth weight, MVPA, and cardiometabolic risk factors using multilevel linear regression, including study as a random factor. We tested for interaction between birth weight and MVPA by introducing the interaction term in the models (birth weight x MVPA).

Results: Most of the associations between birth weight (kg) and cardiometabolic risk factors were not modified by MVPA (min/day), except between birth weight and waist circumference (cm) in children (p = 0.005) and HDL-cholesterol (mmol/l) in adolescents (p = 0.040). Sensitivity analyses suggested that some of the associations were modified by VPA, i.e., the associations between birth weight and diastolic blood pressure (mmHg) in children (p = 0.009) and LDL- cholesterol (mmol/l) (p = 0.009) and triglycerides (mmol/l) in adolescents (p = 0.028).

Conclusion: MVPA appears not to consistently modify the associations between low birth weight and cardiometabolic risk. In contrast, MVPA may mitigate the association between higher birth weight and higher waist circumference in children. MVPA is consistently associated with a lower cardiometabolic risk across the birth weight spectrum. Optimal prenatal growth and subsequent PA are both important in relation to cardiometabolic health in children and adolescents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41366-020-0612-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7508671PMC
October 2020

Tracking of total sedentary time and sedentary patterns in youth: a pooled analysis using the International Children's Accelerometry Database (ICAD).

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2020 05 18;17(1):65. Epub 2020 May 18.

Department of Public and Occupational Health, Amsterdam Public Health research institute, VU University Medical Center, van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081BT, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

Background: To gain more understanding of the potential health effects of sedentary time, knowledge is required about the accumulation and longitudinal development of young people's sedentary time. This study examined tracking of young peoples' total and prolonged sedentary time as well as their day-to-day variation using the International Children's Accelerometry Database.

Methods: Longitudinal accelerometer data of 5991 children (aged 4-17y) was used from eight studies in five countries. Children were included if they provided valid (≥8 h/day) accelerometer data on ≥4 days, including ≥1 weekend day, at both baseline and follow-up (average follow-up: 2.7y; range 0.7-8.2). Tracking of total and prolonged (i.e. ≥10-min bouts) sedentary time was examined using multilevel modelling to adjust for clustering of observations, with baseline levels of sedentary time as predictor and follow-up levels as outcome. Standardized regression coefficients were interpreted as tracking coefficients (low: < 0.3; moderate: 0.3-0.6; high: > 0.6).

Results: Average total sedentary time at study level ranged from 246 to 387 min/day at baseline and increased annually by 21.4 min/day (95% confidence interval [19.6-23.0]) on average. This increase consisted almost entirely of prolonged sedentary time (20.9 min/day [19.2-22.7]). Total (standardized regression coefficient (B) = 0.48 [0.45-0.50]) and prolonged sedentary time (B = 0.43 [0.41-0.45]) tracked moderately. Tracking of day-to-day variation in total (B = 0.04 [0.02-0.07]) and prolonged (B = 0.07 [0.04-0.09]) sedentary time was low.

Conclusion: Young people with high levels of sedentary time are likely to remain among the people with highest sedentary time as they grow older. Day-to-day variation in total and prolonged sedentary time, however, was rather variable over time.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-00960-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7236462PMC
May 2020

How do short-term associations between diet quality and metabolic risk vary with age?

Eur J Nutr 2021 Feb 13;60(1):517-527. Epub 2020 May 13.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Box 285, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.

Purpose: Poor diet quality is one of the key contributors to poor cardiovascular health and associated morbidity and mortality. This study aimed to assess how the short-term associations between diet quality and metabolic risk factors change with age.

Methods: This longitudinal, observational study used data from the National Diet and Nutrition Survey (2008-2016) (n = 2024). Diet quality was measured using the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) index, fruit and vegetable (F&V) intake, and a F&V biomarker score. We assessed associations between measures of diet quality and a metabolic risk z score (generated from five metabolic risk factors) among those aged 11-60 years, and then tested effect modification by age group (adolescents 11-18 years, young adults 19-35 years, mid-aged adults 36-60 years).

Results: Analysis across all age groups showed inverse associations between standardised DASH index and metabolic risk z score of - 0.19 (95% CI - 0.26, - 0.11). These associations were moderated by age group, with strong associations seen in mid-aged adults: - 0.27 (95% CI - 0.39, - 0.16), but associations were significantly attenuated in young adults [- 0.10 (95% CI - 0.22, 0.01)] and adolescents [0.03 (95% CI - 0.05, 0.11)]. Similar results were found for F&V intake and F&V biomarker score.

Conclusions: Short-term associations between diet quality and metabolic risk are not consistent across adolescent and young adult age groups, suggesting that mechanisms by which diet impacts on metabolic risk may be acting differently in younger age groups compared to adults. Further research is warranted using longitudinal study designs and replication in different populations to understand changes in determinants of cardiometabolic health with age.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00394-020-02266-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7867538PMC
February 2021

"The thing is, kids don't grow the same": Parent perspectives on preschoolers' weight and size in Soweto, South Africa.

PLoS One 2020 6;15(4):e0231094. Epub 2020 Apr 6.

SAMRC Developmental Pathways for Health Research Unit (DPHRU), School of Clinical Medicine, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.

The prevalence of overweight and obesity is high among preschool age (3-5 years) children in South Africa, and children in urban low-income settings are particularly at risk. A better understanding of how parents or caregivers of young children perceive children's weight and size, as well as contextual factors influencing perceptions, is needed to inform interventions. The aim of this study was to examine how parents of preschool children in Soweto, South Africa, view childhood obesity, and to situate these perspectives in the context of the home environment in which preschool age children in Soweto live. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted with 16 parents in four neighbourhoods of Soweto. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using reflexive thematic analysis following a contextualist approach. Three themes were developed: growing differently, the 'right' way to be, and weight is not health. These themes capture parents' views on complex and reportedly inevitable causes of obesity, ideas about acceptable and preferred body sizes, and the low priority of weight per se compared to health. The findings suggest that childhood obesity prevention in South Africa needs to be done in a non-stigmatising way that recognises environmental and contextual factors, such as parents' limited sense of agency in relation to their children's health and weight, and concrete resource constraints. Environmental barriers to healthy behaviours need to be addressed in order to overcome the coexisting challenges of childhood undernutrition and obesity in urban low-income South African settings.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0231094PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7135213PMC
July 2020

Variations in accelerometry measured physical activity and sedentary time across Europe - harmonized analyses of 47,497 children and adolescents.

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2020 03 18;17(1):38. Epub 2020 Mar 18.

Department of Sports Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, PO Box 4014, Ullevål Stadion, 0806, Oslo, Norway.

Background: Levels of physical activity and variation in physical activity and sedentary time by place and person in European children and adolescents are largely unknown. The objective of the study was to assess the variations in objectively measured physical activity and sedentary time in children and adolescents across Europe.

Methods: Six databases were systematically searched to identify pan-European and national data sets on physical activity and sedentary time assessed by the same accelerometer in children (2 to 9.9 years) and adolescents (≥10 to 18 years). We harmonized individual-level data by reprocessing hip-worn raw accelerometer data files from 30 different studies conducted between 1997 and 2014, representing 47,497 individuals (2-18 years) from 18 different European countries.

Results: Overall, a maximum of 29% (95% CI: 25, 33) of children and 29% (95% CI: 25, 32) of adolescents were categorized as sufficiently physically active. We observed substantial country- and region-specific differences in physical activity and sedentary time, with lower physical activity levels and prevalence estimates in Southern European countries. Boys were more active and less sedentary in all age-categories. The onset of age-related lowering or leveling-off of physical activity and increase in sedentary time seems to become apparent at around 6 to 7 years of age.

Conclusions: Two third of European children and adolescents are not sufficiently active. Our findings suggest substantial gender-, country- and region-specific differences in physical activity. These results should encourage policymakers, governments, and local and national stakeholders to take action to facilitate an increase in the physical activity levels of young people across Europe.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12966-020-00930-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7079516PMC
March 2020

Impact of adult weight management interventions on mental health: a systematic review and meta-analysis protocol.

BMJ Open 2020 01 20;10(1):e031857. Epub 2020 Jan 20.

MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.

Introduction: The effects of interventions targeting weight loss on physical health are well described, yet the evidence for mental health is less clear. It is essential to better understand the impact of weight management interventions on mental health to optimise care and minimise risk of harm. We will assess the effect of behavioural weight management interventions on mental health in adults with overweight and obesity.

Methods And Analysis: The systematic review will follow the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidance. We will include behavioural weight management interventions with a diet and/or physical activity component focusing on weight loss for adults with a body mass index ≥25 kg/m. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and cluster RCTs will be the only eligible study designs. Outcomes of interest will be related to mental health. The following databases were searched from inception to 07 May 2019: MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane database (CENTRAL), PsycINFO, ASSIA, AMED and CINAHL. The search strategy was based on four concepts: (1) adults, defined as ≥18 years, with overweight/obesity, defined as BMI ≥25kg/m², (2) weight management interventions, (3) mental health outcomes and (4) study design. The search was restricted to English-language published papers, with no other restrictions applied. Two stage screening for eligibility will be completed by two independent reviewers, with two independent reviewers completing data extraction and risk of bias assessment. Data permitting, a random-effects meta-analysis of outcomes, subgroup analyses and meta-regression will be conducted. If not appropriate, narrative synthesis and 'levels of evidence' assessment will be completed.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethical approval is not required as primary data will not be collected. The completed systematic review will be disseminated in a peer-reviewed journal, at conferences and contribute towards the lead author's PhD thesis.

Prospero Registration Number: CRD42019131659.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-031857DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7045146PMC
January 2020

Becoming a parent: A systematic review and meta-analysis of changes in BMI, diet, and physical activity.

Obes Rev 2020 04 19;21(4):e12959. Epub 2020 Jan 19.

UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), MRC Epidemiology Unit, Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, UK.

Obesity prevalence rises fastest during young adulthood when weight, diet, and physical activity may be influenced by life events, including becoming a parent, but the impact is uncertain. We searched six electronic databases to July 2019 for longitudinal studies (both sexes) aged 15 to 35 years with a prospective pre-pregnancy/parenthood and post-delivery outcome. Of 11 studies (across 15 papers), six studies (women only) were eligible for meta-analysis of the difference in change in body mass index (BMI; kg/m ) between remaining without children and becoming a parent. Mean (±SD) BMI gain for non-mothers was 2.8 ± 1.3 kg/m (~7.5 kg for 164-cm woman) over 5.6 ± 3.1 years; 12.3% of baseline BMI (22.8 ± 2.5 kg/m ). Becoming a mother was associated with an additional BMI increase of 0.47 ± 0.26 kg/m (~1.3 kg), 4.3% of baseline BMI (22.8 ± 5.6 kg/m ); the one study including men reported no difference in change. Physical activity results were equivocal; 2/4 studies (women) and 2/2 (men) showed a greater decline in parents versus non-parents; diet (three studies) varied by dietary measure, mostly indicating no difference. Becoming a mother is associated with 17% greater absolute BMI gain than remaining childless. Motherhood BMI gain is additional to an alarming BMI increase among young women, highlighting the need for obesity prevention among all young women, including mothers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.12959DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7078970PMC
April 2020

Changes in physical activity, diet, and body weight across the education and employment transitions of early adulthood: A systematic review and meta-analysis.

Obes Rev 2020 04 19;21(4):e12962. Epub 2020 Jan 19.

UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR) at the MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Box 285, Institute of Metabolic Science, Cambridge Biomedical Campus, Cambridge, UK.

Early adulthood is a time when individuals go through important life transitions, such as moving from high school into higher education or employment, but the impact of these life transitions on changes in body weight, diet, and physical activity is not known. We searched six electronic databases to July 2019 for longitudinal observational studies providing data on adiposity, diet, and/or physical activity across education or employment transitions in young people aged between 15 and 35 years. We found 19 studies, of which 17 assessed changes in physical activity, three body weight, and five diet or eating behaviours. Meta-analysis (n=9) found that leaving high school was associated with a decrease of -7.04 (95% CI, -11.26, -2.82) min/day of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Three studies reported increases in body weight on leaving high school. A small number of studies suggested decreases in diet quality on leaving high school (n=2/4 papers) and leaving university (n=1) but not on starting employment (n=1). Studies suggested no change in physical activity on leaving university (n=4) but decreases in physical activity on starting employment (n=2/3). The transition of leaving high school is an important time to support individuals to prevent decreases in physical activity and gains in body weight.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/obr.12962DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7079102PMC
April 2020

Adolescents' perspectives on a school-based physical activity intervention: A mixed method study.

J Sport Health Sci 2020 01 20;9(1):28-40. Epub 2019 Jun 20.

MRC Epidemiology Unit and UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR), University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine, Cambridge, CB2 0QQ, UK.

Purpose: To examine adolescent experiences and perspectives of the GoActive intervention (ISRCTN31583496) using mixed methods process evaluation to determine satisfaction with intervention components and interpret adolescents' experiences of the intervention process in order to provide insights for future intervention design.

Methods: Participants ( = 1542; 13.2 ±  0.4 years, mean ± SD) provided questionnaire data at baseline (shyness, activity level) and post-intervention (intervention acceptability, satisfaction with components). Between-group differences (boys girls and shy/inactive others) were tested with linear regression models, accounting for school clustering. Data from 16 individual interviews (shy/inactive) and 11 focus groups with 48 participants (mean = 4; range 2-7) were thematically coded. Qualitative and quantitative data were merged in an integrative mixed methods convergence matrix, which denoted convergence and dissonance across datasets.

Results: Effect sizes for quantitative results were small and may not represent substantial between-group differences. Boys ( girls) preferred class-based sessions ( = 0.2, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.1-0.3); qualitative data suggested that this was because boys preferred competition, which was supported quantitatively ( = 0.2, 95%CI: 0.1-0.3). Shy/inactive students did not enjoy the competition ( = -0.3, 95%CI: -0.5 to -0.1). Boys enjoyed trying new activities more ( = 0.1, 95%CI: 0.1-0.2); qualitative data indicated a desire to try new activities across all subgroups but identified barriers to choosing unfamiliar activities with self-imposed choice restriction leading to boredom. Qualitative data highlighted critique of mentorship; adolescents liked the idea, but older mentors did not meet expectations.

Conclusion: We interpreted adolescent perspectives of intervention components and implementation to provide insights into future complex interventions aimed at increasing young people's physical activity in school-based settings. The intervention component mentorship was liked in principle, but implementation issues undesirably impacted satisfaction; competition was disliked by girls and shy/inactive students. The results highlight the importance of considering gender differences in preference of competition and extensive mentorship training.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jshs.2019.06.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6943775PMC
January 2020

A feasibility study of 'The StepSmart Challenge' to promote physical activity in adolescents.

Pilot Feasibility Stud 2019 17;5:132. Epub 2019 Nov 17.

UKCRC Centre of Excellence for Public Health/Centre for Public Health, Queen's University Belfast, Institute of Clinical Science B, Royal Victoria Hospital, Grosvenor Road, Belfast, BT12 6BA Northern Ireland.

Background: Inactive lifestyles are becoming the norm and creative approaches to encourage adolescents to be more physically active are needed. Little is known about how gamification techniques can be used in physical activity interventions for young people. Such approaches may stimulate interest and encourage physical activity behaviour. The study investigated the feasibility of implementing and evaluating a physical activity intervention for adolescents which included gamification techniques within schools. We tested recruitment and retention strategies for schools and participants, the use of proposed outcome measures, and explored intervention acceptability.

Methods: This school-based feasibility study of a randomised cluster trial recruited adolescents aged 12-14 years ( = 224) from five schools (three intervention; two control) in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The 22-week intervention (The StepSmart Challenge) informed by self-determination theory and incorporating gamification strategies involved a school-based pedometer competition. Outcomes, measured at baseline, and post-intervention (at 22 weeks post-baseline and 52 weeks post-baseline) included daily minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (measured using ActiGraph accelerometer), mental wellbeing (Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing Scale), social support for physical activity, time preference (for delayed and larger rewards or immediate and smaller rewards), pro-social behaviour (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ)) and the influence of social networks. The intervention's acceptability was explored in focus groups.

Results: We invited 14 schools to participate; eight showed interest in participating. We recruited the first five who responded; all five completed the trial. Of the 236 pupils invited, 224 participated (94.9%): 84.8% (190/224) provided valid MVPA (minutes/day) at baseline and 57.2% (123/215) at 52 weeks. All other outcomes were well completed apart from the SDQ (65% at baseline). Qualitative data highlighted that participants and teachers found The StepSmart Challenge to be an acceptable intervention.

Conclusions: The level of interest and high recruitment and retention rates provide support for the feasibility of this trial. The intervention, incorporating gamification strategies and the recruitment methods, using parental opt-out procedures, were acceptable to participants and teachers. Teachers also suggested that the implementation of The StepSmart Challenge could be embedded in a lifelong learning approach to health within the school curriculum. As young people's lives become more intertwined with technology, the use of innovative gamified interventions could be one approach to engage and motivate health behavioural change in this population.

Trial Registration: NCT02455986 (date of registration: 28 May 2015).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40814-019-0523-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6859606PMC
November 2019

Substituting prolonged sedentary time and cardiovascular risk in children and youth: a meta-analysis within the International Children's Accelerometry database (ICAD).

Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act 2019 10 31;16(1):96. Epub 2019 Oct 31.

Department of Sport Medicine, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway.

Background: Evidence on the association between sitting for extended periods (i.e. prolonged sedentary time (PST)) and cardio-metabolic health is inconsistent in children. We aimed to estimate the differences in cardio-metabolic health associated with substituting PST with non-prolonged sedentary time (non-PST), light (LIPA) or moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in children.

Methods: Cross-sectional data from 14 studies (7 countries) in the International Children's Accelerometry Database (ICAD, 1998-2009) was included. Accelerometry in 19,502 participants aged 3-18 years, together with covariate and outcome data, was pooled and harmonized. Iso-temporal substitution in linear regression models provided beta coefficients (95%CI) for substitution of 1 h/day PST (sedentary time accumulated in bouts > 15 min) with non-PST, LIPA or MVPA, for each study, which were meta-analysed.

Results: Modelling substitution of 1 h/day of PST with non-PST suggested reductions in standardized BMI, but estimates were > 7-fold greater for substitution with MVPA (- 0.44 (- 0.62; - 0.26) SD units). Only reallocation by MVPA was beneficial for waist circumference (- 3.07 (- 4.47; - 1.68) cm), systolic blood pressure (- 1.53 (- 2.42; - 0.65) mmHg) and clustered cardio-metabolic risk (- 0.18 (- 0.3; - 0.1) SD units). For HDL-cholesterol and diastolic blood pressure, substitution with LIPA was beneficial; however, substitution with MVPA showed 5-fold stronger effect estimates (HDL-cholesterol: 0.05 (0.01; 0.10) mmol/l); diastolic blood pressure: - 0.81 (- 1.38; - 0.24) mmHg).

Conclusions: Replacement of PST with MVPA may be the preferred scenario for behaviour change, given beneficial associations with a wide range of cardio-metabolic risk factors (including adiposity, HDL-cholesterol, blood pressure and clustered cardio-metabolic risk). Effect estimates are clinically relevant (e.g. an estimated reduction in waist circumference of ≈1.5 cm for 30 min/day replacement). Replacement with LIPA could be beneficial for some of these risk factors, however with substantially lower effect estimates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12966-019-0858-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6822444PMC
October 2019

A qualitative study of health promotion in academy schools in England.

BMC Public Health 2019 Aug 28;19(1):1186. Epub 2019 Aug 28.

School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Law, Teesside University, Centuria Building, Middlesborough, Tees Valley, TS1 3BX, UK.

Background: Schools are an important setting for health promotion. In England, around one third of publicly funded schools have become independent of local authorities since 2000 and are now academies, run by an academy trust. The aim of this research was to examine attitudes towards health promotion held by academy trust leaders and senior staff. The research questions were: 1. How do academy trusts in England perceive their role in health promotion amongst students? 2. How are decisions around health promotion made in academy trusts? 3. What factors inhibit and encourage health promotion in academy schools? 4. How might public health academics and practitioners best engage with academy schools to facilitate health promotion activity and research?

Methods: Qualitative study utilising semi-structured interviews. Twenty five academy and school leaders were purposively sampled to achieve variation in trust size and type. In addition, five respondents were recruited from public and third-sector agencies seeking to work with or influence academy trusts around health promotion. Framework analysis was used to determine emergent themes and identify relationships between themes and respondent type. Early findings were triangulated at a stakeholder event with 40 delegates from academia, local authority public health teams, and third sector organisations.

Results: There is wide variation amongst senior academy and trust leaders in how they perceive the role of academies in promoting health and wellbeing amongst students. There is also variability in whether academy trusts responsible for more than one school adopt a centralised strategy to health promotion or allow individual schools autonomy. This was dependent on the trust leaders' attitude and interest in health promotion rather than any perceived external accountability. Identified barriers to health promotion include financial constraints, a narrow focus on educational outcomes and school performance, and limited understanding about effective health interventions.

Conclusion: In the current absence of national policy or guidance around health promotion in schools, health has variable status in academies in England. There is a need to better engage all academy trusts in health promotion and support them to implement a strategic approach to health promotion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7510-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6714088PMC
August 2019