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    Adolescent weight and health behaviors and their associations with individual, social, and parental factors
    (Human Kinetics, 2018) Baker, Kayla M.; Healy, Sean; Rice, David J.; Garcia, Jeanette M.
    Background: To examine the associations and differences between gender and weight classification for physical activity (PA) and individual, social, and parental factors. Methods: Data from wave 2 of the "Growing up in Ireland" national study were used, resulting in a sample of 7525 13-year-old adolescents. Information on factors affecting adolescents' social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development was collected. Results: Overweight (OW) adolescents were more likely to exercise and restrict food for weight loss and less likely to perform moderate to vigorous PA than normal weight adolescents. Parent body mass index was associated with adolescent body mass index for OW and normal weight adolescents, with the strongest association seen with OW females. Parents of OW adolescents considered themselves to be more OW and less physically active than parents of normal weight adolescents. Furthermore, for all groups, a greater amount of moderate to vigorous PA was associated with less television viewing, greater PA of parents, and a greater number of friends. Conclusion: Parental health behaviors play a significant role in adolescents' bodyweight, representing the necessity for more constructive health behaviors and PA among parents. Future interventions may be strengthened by focusing specifically on gender and body mass index, while taking into consideration the importance of parental behaviors on adolescents. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR
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    Association of physiological and psychological health outcomes with physical activity and sedentary behavior in adults with type 2 diabetes
    (British Medical Association, 2017-03) Garcia, Jeanette M; Cox, Daniel; Rice, David J.
    Abstract Purpose To examine the association between change in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behavior (SB) over a 6-month period with physiological and psychological factors in adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Methods Participants included 26 middle-aged (mean age=56.1±10.8 years; 42% women), overweight/obese (mean body mass index (BMI) =37.22±8.78 kg/m2) adults who had been diagnosed with T2D within the past 5 years (mean HbA1c=7.81%). Participants underwent a physical examination, blood tests, and psychological questionnaires, including a self-report questionnaire that assessed the consumption of high glycemic and low glycemic load foods. Participants wore an Actigraph accelerometer for 7 days to assess MVPA and SB. All measures were collected at baseline and at the 6-month follow-up. Spearman rank correlations and regression models were conducted to examine the relationship between activity variables, and the association of activity measures with health outcomes at the 6-month follow-up. Results Decreases in duration of SB bouts and increases in MVPA were associated with decreased levels of HbA1c (p<0.05). Over 50% of the variance in HbA1c levels could be attributed to changes in MVPA and SB. Conclusions MVPA and SB were independently associated with diabetes-related health outcomes. Results suggest that emphasis should be placed on increasing MVPA while decreasing SB, particularly duration of SB bouts. This suggests that even small changes in daily behavior may contribute to improvement in diabetes-related health outcomes.
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    The individual, social, and environmental correlates of physical activity and screen time in irish children: Growing up in ireland study
    (Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc., 2016-12) Garcia, Jeanette M.; Healy, Sean; Rice, David J.
    The aim of this study was to use a social-ecological approach to examine the influence of individual, social, and environmental factors on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and screen-time in a sample of 9-year-old children in Ireland. Methods: The sample was 1509 boys and girls from the Growing Up in Ireland (GUI) national study. MVPA, screen time, and individual, social, and environmental variables were assessed via questionnaires completed by children, their parents, and their teachers. Multiple regression was used to identify factors that correlated with children's MVPA and screen-time levels. Results: For boys, factors such as activity with friends (P < .0001) and popularity (P < .01) were associated with MVPA, while factors such as BMI (P < .01) and MVPA (P < .01) were associated with screen time. Similarly for girls, factors such as activity with friends (P < .0001) and sociability were associated with MVPA, however factors such as BMI (P < .05), and access to play space (P < .05) were more closely associated with screen time. Conclusion: Social factors were more closely associated with MVPA, while individual factors were significantly correlated with screen time for both boys and girls. Correlates differed for boys and girls, suggesting that interventions should consider both the target population as well as the activity behavior. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR
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    The association among demographic factors, health behaviors and sleep quality in youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder
    (Elsevier Inc., 2020-07) Garcia, Jeanette M.; Leahy, Nicholas; Rivera, Paola; Brazendale, Keith; Rice, David J.
    Background A majority of youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have disrupted sleep patterns, but there has been limited research examining factors associated with sleep in this population. Objective: The objective of this study was to compare demographic and lifestyle behaviors with sleep quality in youth with ASD. Methods: A total of 49 children (12.44 years; 78% male) with ASD wore the Actigraph GT9X accelerometer over seven days and nights to assess moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA), sedentary behavior (SB), total sleep duration, and sleep efficiency. Parents reported their child’s weekly amount of screen time and demographic information. Participants were classified according to whether they met sleep criteria for duration and efficiency (8–9 h of sleep duration and ≥85% sleep efficiency). T-tests and ANOVA were used to compare demographic and lifestyle factors between the groups. Results: Participants who meet both sleep duration and efficiency criteria had greater minutes of MVPA per day (113.65 min/day) than participants who only met sleep efficiency criteria (40.27 min/day) and participants who did not meet either sleep criteria (67.5 min/day; p < 0.0001). Additionally, participants who met both sleep criteria had fewer minutes of SB compared to those who only met sleep efficiency criteria (384.79 vs 526.05 min/day; p = 0.02). Conclusions: Youth who had indicators of good sleep quality had greater amounts of MVPA and lower amounts of SB. Studies should further examine the relationship between sleep and health behaviors in youth with ASD to determine causal mechanisms, leading to more effective sleep interventions.
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    The Influence of Friends and Psychosocial Factors on Physical Activity and Screen Time in Normal and Overweight Adolescents: A Mixed-Methods Analysis.
    (Sage Publications, 2019-01) Garcia, Jeanette M; Sirard, John R.; Whaley, Diane E.; Rice, David J.; Baker, Kayla; Weltman, Arthur
    Understanding factors that influence physical activity (PA) and sedentary behavior is crucial to develop interventions to improve adolescents' health-related behaviors.Purpose: To compare the influence of friends and psychosocial factors on moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and screen time (ST) between normal weight (NW) and overweight (OW) adolescents.Methods: In all, 21 OW and 21 NW adolescents wore accelerometers and completed questionnaires assessing MVPA, ST, and psychosocial variables. The MVPA and ST were assessed in nominated friends. Adolescents participated in focus groups assessing influence on activity behaviors.Results: There were no differences in MVPA; however, NW adolescents reported less ST than OW adolescents (8.9 vs 13.1 h/wk, P = .04). For OW adolescents, friends' ST ( P = .002) and psychosocial factors ( P = .05) were associated with ST, while only PA self-efficacy was associated with MVPA. For NW adolescents, only friends' MVPA ( P = .04) was associated with self-reported PA. Exploratory analyses revealed differences among weight status and gender. Focus group discussions revealed that friends influenced both OW and NW adolescents' MVPA; however, this appeared to be more apparent for NW males, while psychosocial factors played a role in both OW and NW females. The OW adolescents reported that friends were more of an influence on their ST levels, while NW adolescents indicated that their ST was not affected by their friends' behaviors.Conclusions: Interventions to increase MVPA and/or decrease ST may need to be tailored for NW and OW adolescents. ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR