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Nutrition educators identify barriers to physical activity and propose strategies to overcome them

November 07, 2018

Philadelphia, November 7, 2018 - Throughout its fifty years of publication, the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB) has recognized the importance of physical activity as a key behavior helpful to achieving a healthy lifestyle. The November/December issue's theme of physical activity highlights recent research on designing, delivering, and measuring physical activity programs for different audiences.

"Challenges to beginning or increasing physical activity vary between populations but understanding the barriers to change is important when creating successful programs," said JNEB Editor-in-Chief, Karen Chapman Novakofski. "I hope this issue of JNEB, along with sources available on the JNEB website, will aid nutrition educators worldwide."

Studies that illustrate the complexity of the barriers to achieving healthy levels of physical activity include an intervention with nurses working in high-stress environments with unpredictable schedules and who found it difficult to improve both eating habits and level of physical activity at the same time. Latino parents perceived maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires enormous effort and had few resources to manage that change. Hispanic families in the Midwest report cultural barriers to increasing physical activity as well as lack of access to organized sports or fitness facilities. Low-income adults misinterpreted many physical activity terms and concepts leading to lack of participation. And while preschoolers are increasing their motor skills, an accurate assessment tool is needed to identify children not meeting crucial milestones.

Four articles in this issue look at populations that are physically active but lack proper nutrition education. Parents of youth sports participants balance competing priorities when selecting the ideal post-game snack, and college students are in an environment that is conducive to physical activity yet are challenged to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and increase fruit and vegetable intake. College athletes, while physically active, are benefitting from a training program that includes nutrition students, and special operations soldiers have increased satisfaction with meal options formulated to increase performance and improved nutrition labeling to make informed choices.

In addition to research articles, this issue includes two GEMs (Great Educational Materials) also focused on physical activity. In the first, college athletes, while highly active, have demanding schedules, low nutrition knowledge, and limited cooking skills, learn about an educational intervention that successfully addresses those challenges. Second, the Choose Health curriculum engages youth in play versus talking about the benefits of physical activity.

Finally, all the New Resources for Nutrition Educators provide tools for leading physical activity, from a walking curriculum, an online resource companion to USDA's MyPlate, an activity book for fourth-grade children, and a healthy-eating, active-living curriculum designed for limited resource adult learners.

A diverse group of international authors contributed to this themed issue presenting a global perspective on physical activity research.
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Elsevier

Related Physical Activity Articles:

Physical activity may ward off heart damage
Physical activity can lower the risk of heart damage in middle-aged and older adults and reduce the levels of heart damage in people who are obese, according to research published today in JACC: Heart Failure.
How physical activity and sedentary time affect adolescents' bones
A large prospective study in 309 adolescent boys and girls underscores the importance of physical activity for developing bone strength during growth.
Few heart attack survivors get recommended physical activity
Researchers have found that only 16 percent of heart attack survivors get the recommended amount of physical activity in the weeks after hospitalization, despite evidence that physical activity reduces the risk of having a second heart attack.
Parents' physical activity associated with preschooler activity in underserved populations
Preschool-age children from low-income families are more likely to be physically active if parents increase activity and reduce sedentary behavior while wearing movement monitors (accelerometers), according to a Vanderbilt study published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
AMPK -- the enzyme that makes physical activity healthy
ampk Physical activity benefits diabetics and others with insulin resistance.
Physical activity good for your health, but what's happening below the surface?
The University of Michigan was recently awarded $8.2 million from the National Institutes of Health to investigate the molecular changes that occur during and after physical activity.
Psychological well-being and physical activity in older adults
In a paper just published by researchers at Chapman University, findings showed associations between psychological well-being and physical activity in adults ages 50 and older.
Parkinson's disease patients benefit from physical activity
A comprehensive review published in the Journal of Parkinson's Disease confirms that people living with Parkinson's disease (PD) can benefit from being physically active, especially when it comes to improving gait and balance, and reducing risks of falls.
Research shows physical activity does not improve after hip replacement
New research from the University of East Anglia (UEA) shows that, surprisingly, patients' physical activity does not increase following hip replacement surgery.
The effectiveness of activity trackers and rewards to encourage physical activity
Activity trackers such as Fitbit, Jawbone, Garmin and others have become increasingly popular.

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