From this month’s issue of MSSE, I would like to direct your attention to two articles on the role of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in health, and one article on concussion management.
Within 10-year age groups of a nationally representative sample of 4,999 adults, age 20–70+, Pate et al. examined the associations between MVPA, Healthy Eating Index (HEI) scores, and two measures of weight status, BMI and waist circumference. Higher levels of MVPA were consistently associated with lower levels of the weight status variables. The associations of the diet measure with weight status were much less consistent. With increasing age, MVPA declined precipitously, diet quality improved, and BMI and waist circumference increased. These findings add to growing evidence suggesting that engaging in MVPA over one’s lifetime plays an important role in weight management, and programs promoting an active lifestyle should receive significant attention in public health efforts to address the obesity epidemic.
Cohen et al. evaluated one such program to encourage increased physical activity in children. These investigators studied impacts of the Supporting Children’s Outcomes using Rewards, Exercise, and Skills (SCORES) intervention in 25 classes from eight primary schools located in low income communities in Australia. After 12 months, SCORES resulted in significant improvements in MVPA, cardiorespiratory fitness, and fundamental movement skills. Findings from this study suggest that primary schools can achieve these results without allocating additional curriculum time to physical education. This study provides further support for the importance of implementing appropriate, comprehensive school physical activity. As a companion paper, I refer you to Coe et al. [Effect of physical education and activity levels on academic achievement in children. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006;38(8):1515-1519].
Finally, on a different topic, concussion management is a difficult issue for healthcare providers, as the factors that influence recovery remain poorly understood. Among these factors, the proper timing of reintegration into physical activity can be difficult to identify. Although many studies have examined the time course of recovery from concussion up to the point where individuals return to activities, little is known about the residual effects of this resumption. Thus, Howell and colleagues prospectively examined how returning to preinjury levels of physical activity affects recovery of gait balance control, cognitive function, and symptom severity. Their analysis suggests that dual-task medial-lateral sway is particularly sensitive to a concussion and its recovery may be influenced by premature return-to-activity. This article is an extension of a previous longitudinal study performed by the same research group, to which I direct your attention [Effects of concussion on attention and executive function in adolescents. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2013;45(6):1030-1037].
L. Bruce Gladden