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An Examination of Socioecological Factors that Influence Preschool-aged Children's Cardiovascular Fitness and Gross Locomotor Skills within their Developmental Pathway

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Through three investigations, this dissertation examined properties of the family and early care and education center (ECEC) environments related to preschool-aged children’s cardiovascular fitness (CVF) and gross locomotor skills (GLS). Investigation one used a systematic review and meta-analysis to synthesize

Through three investigations, this dissertation examined properties of the family and early care and education center (ECEC) environments related to preschool-aged children’s cardiovascular fitness (CVF) and gross locomotor skills (GLS). Investigation one used a systematic review and meta-analysis to synthesize the effectiveness of school-based interventions at improving CVF, in preschool-aged children. For investigations two and three product- and process-based measures of GLS were collected from children in ECECs (n=16), using the progressive aerobic cardiovascular endurance run (PACER; n=144) and the CHAMPS motor skill protocol (CMSP; n=91), respectively. Investigation two and three examined family factors and ECEC factors for associations with measures of GLS, respectively.

Investigation one revealed a moderate-to-large effect size for school-based interventions (n=10) increasing CVF (g=0.75; 95%CI [0.40-1.11]). Multi-level interventions (g=.79 [0.34-1.25]) were more effective than interventions focused on the individual (g=0.67 [0.12-1.22]). In investigations two and three children (78.3% Hispanic; mean ± SD age 53.2±4.5 months) completed a mean ± SD 3.7±2.3 PACER laps and 19.0±5.5 CSMP criteria. Individual and family factors associated with PACER laps included child sex (B=-0.96, p=0.03) and age (B=0.17, p<0.01), parents’ promotion of inactivity (B=0.66, p=0.08) and screen time (B=0.65, p=0.05), and parents’ concern for child’s safety during physical activity (B=-0.36, p=0.09). Child age (B=0.47, p<0.01) and parent employment (B=2.29, p=0.07) were associated with CMSP criteria. At the ECEC level, policy environment quality (B=-0.17; p=0.01) was significantly associated with number of PACER laps completed. Outdoor play environment quality (B=0.18; p=0.03), outdoor play equipment total (B=0.32; p<0.01) and screen time environment quality (B=0.60; p=0.02) were significantly associated with CMSP criteria. Researchers, ECEC teachers and policy makers should promote positive environmental changes to preschool-aged children’s family and ECEC environments, as these environments have the potential to improve CVF and GLS more than programs focused on the child alone.

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2019

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Availability, Density, Variety, and Distribution of Street Food Stands and Street Foods Across a Mexican City: An Assessment Using the Street Food Stand Assessment Tool

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Background. Street food stands (SFS) are common ways in which people in Mexico access food, having been a part of the environment and culture of Mexican food for generations. However, no studies have used a validated assessment tool to reliably

Background. Street food stands (SFS) are common ways in which people in Mexico access food, having been a part of the environment and culture of Mexican food for generations. However, no studies have used a validated assessment tool to reliably measure food and beverage availability at a variety of SFS. Nor have the availability, density, variety, and distribution of SFS and street foods and beverages been assessed across neighborhood income levels.Objective: This dissertation’s goal was to decrease gaps in knowledge about the role SFS may play in food availability in the Mexican food environment.
Methods: Survey design and ethnographic field methods were used to develop, test, and validate the Street Food Stand Assessment Tool (SFSAT). Geographic information system and ground-truthing methods were used to identify a sample of street segments across 20 neighborhoods representing low-, middle- and high-income neighborhoods in Mexico City on which to assess the availability, density, variety, and distribution of SFS and the foods and beverages sold at these food venues using the SFSAT.
Results: A sample of 391 SFS were assessed across 791 street segments. Results showed that SFS were found in all neighborhoods. Contrary to the initial hypothesis, most SFS were found in middle-income neighborhoods. While the availability of street foods and beverages was higher in middle-income neighborhoods, the variety was less consistent: fruit/vegetable variety was high in high-income neighborhoods whereas processed snack variety was higher in low-income neighborhoods. SFS were most often distributed near homes, transportation centers, and worksites across the three neighborhood income levels.
Conclusion: This study bridged the gap in knowledge about the availability, density, variety, and distribution of SFS and products sold at these sources of food by using an assessment tool that was developed, tested, and validated specifically for SFS. The findings showed that SFS were found across all neighborhoods. Furthermore, results also suggested that SFS can be a source of healthy food items. Additional studies are needed to understand the relationship between SFS availability, food consumption, and health outcomes in the Mexican population.

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Date Created
2020

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The Associations of Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Sleep with Cognitive Function in Adults without Cognitive Impairment

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This body of research sought to explore relationships between cognitive function and physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior (SB), and sleep, independently and in conjunction, in mid-life to older adults with no known cognitive impairment. Aging is associated with cognitive decline,

This body of research sought to explore relationships between cognitive function and physical activity (PA), sedentary behavior (SB), and sleep, independently and in conjunction, in mid-life to older adults with no known cognitive impairment. Aging is associated with cognitive decline, and lifestyle behaviors such as PA, SB, and sleep, may mitigate this decline. First, a systematic review and meta-analysis was conducted to examine the effect of aerobic PA interventions on memory and executive function in sedentary adults. Second, a longitudinal study was conducted to examine the association between SB and odds of incident cognitive impairment, and SB and cognitive decline in older adults. Last, a cross-sectional study was conducted to examine the joint associations between different levels of sleep with levels of PA, and sleep with levels of sedentary time on memory and executive function. This body of research provided evidence to support the association between aerobic PA and improved cognitive function, SB and incident cognitive impairment and cognitive function declines, and the joint association of sleep and different levels of PA and ST on cognitive function by hypertension status.

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2020