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Special Issue "Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2010)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Walid El Ansari

Faculty of Applied Sciences, University of Gloucestershire, Oxstalls Campus, Oxstalls Lane, Gloucester GL2 9HW, UK
Website | E-Mail
Interests: public health; health services research; patient and public participation; community alliances and partnerships in health; inter- agency collaboration; student health; physical activity; multidisciplinary quantitative & qualitative research; epidemiology & statistical methods; primary health care

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Feeling Healthy? A Survey of Physical and Psychological Wellbeing of Students from Seven Universities in the UK
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(5), 1308-1323; doi:10.3390/ijerph8051308
Received: 8 March 2011 / Revised: 31 March 2011 / Accepted: 1 April 2011 / Published: 27 April 2011
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (272 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
University students’ physical and psychological health and wellbeing are important and comprise many variables. This study assessed perceived health status in addition to a range of physical and psychological wellbeing indicators of 3,706 undergraduate students from seven universities in England, Wales and Northern
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University students’ physical and psychological health and wellbeing are important and comprise many variables. This study assessed perceived health status in addition to a range of physical and psychological wellbeing indicators of 3,706 undergraduate students from seven universities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We compared differences in these variables across males and females, and across the participating universities. The data was collected in 2007–2008. A self-administered questionnaire assessed socio-demographic information (e.g., gender, age), self-reported physical and psychological health data, as well as questions on health awareness, health service use, social support, burdens and stressors and university study related questions. While females generally reported more health problems and psychological burdens, male students felt that they received/had fewer persons to depend on for social support. The comparisons of health and wellbeing variables across the different universities suggested some evidence of ‘clustering’ of the variables under study, whereby favourable situations would be exhibited by a cluster of the variables that is encountered at some universities; and conversely, the clustering of less favourable variables as exhibited at other universities. We conclude that the level of health complaints and psychological problems/burdens is relatively high and calls for increased awareness of university administrators, leaders and policy makers to the health and well-being needs of their students. The observed clustering effects also indicated the need for local (university-specific) health and wellbeing profiles as basis and guidance for relevant health promotion programmes at universities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)
Open AccessArticle Neighbourhood Environment Correlates of Physical Activity: A Study of Eight Czech Regional Towns
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(2), 341-357; doi:10.3390/ijerph8020341
Received: 12 December 2010 / Revised: 18 January 2011 / Accepted: 19 January 2011 / Published: 28 January 2011
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (356 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An adequate amount of physical activity (PA) is a key factor that is associated with good health. This study assessed socio-environmental factors associated with meeting the health recommendations for PA (achieving 10,000 steps per day). In total, 1,653 respondents randomly selected from across
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An adequate amount of physical activity (PA) is a key factor that is associated with good health. This study assessed socio-environmental factors associated with meeting the health recommendations for PA (achieving 10,000 steps per day). In total, 1,653 respondents randomly selected from across eight regional towns (each >90,000 inhabitants) in the Czech Republic participated in the study. The ANEWS questionnaire assessed the environment in neighbourhoods, and participants’ weekly PA was objectively monitored (Yamax Digiwalker SW-700 pedometer). About 24% of participants were sufficiently active, 27% were highly active; 28% participants were overweight and 5% were obese. Although BMI was significantly inversely associated with the daily step counts achieved only in females, for both genders, BMI was generally not significantly associated with the criterion of achieving 10,000 steps per day during the week. Increased BMI in both genders was accompanied with a decline in participation in organized PA and with increasing age. As regards to the demographic/lifestyle factors, for females, more participation in organized PA was significantly positively correlated with the achieved daily step counts. In contrast, older age and higher BMI (for females) and smoking (for males) were significantly negatively correlated with the achieved daily step counts. In terms of the environmental aspects, pleasant environments were significantly positively correlated to daily step counts for both genders. Additionally, for males, better residencies (more family homes rather than apartment blocks) in the neighbourhood were significantly positively correlated with their daily step counts. For females, less accessibility of shops and non-sport facilities (depending on walking distance in minutes) were significantly negatively correlated to the achieved daily step counts. Individuals who lived in pleasant neighbourhoods, with better access to shops and who participated in organized PA (≥2 times a week) tended to meet the recommendations for health-enhancing PA levels. The creation of physical activity-friendly environments could be associated with enhancing people’s achieved daily step counts and meeting the health criteria for PA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)
Open AccessArticle Does the Association between Depressive Symptomatology and Physical Activity Depend on Body Image Perception? A Survey of Students from Seven Universities in the UK
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(2), 281-299; doi:10.3390/ijerph8020281
Received: 25 December 2010 / Accepted: 24 January 2011 / Published: 25 January 2011
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This cross-sectional study assessed the association between depression and PA in university students of both genders and the role of body image perception as a potential effect modifier. Undergraduate students (N = 3706) from seven universities in the UK completed a self-administered questionnaire
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This cross-sectional study assessed the association between depression and PA in university students of both genders and the role of body image perception as a potential effect modifier. Undergraduate students (N = 3706) from seven universities in the UK completed a self-administered questionnaire that assessed sociodemographic information; a range of health, health behaviour and health awareness related factors; the modified version of Beck’s Depression Inventory (M-BDI); educational achievement, and different levels of physical activity (PA), such as moderate PA (at least 5 days per week moderate exercise of at least 30 minutes), and vigorous PA (at least 3 days per week vigorous exercise of at least 20 minutes). Only 12.4% of the sample achieved the international recommended level for moderate PA, and 33.1% achieved the recommendations for vigorous PA. Both moderate and vigorous PA were inversely related to the M-BDI score. Physically active students, regardless of the type of PA, were significantly more likely to perceive their health as good, to have higher health awareness, to perform strengthening exercises, and to be males. The stratified analyses indicated that the association between depression and PA differed by body image. In students perceiving their body image as ‘just right’, moderate (>4th percentile) and high (>5th percentile) M-BDI scores were inversely related to vigorous PA. However, in students who perceived their body image as ‘overweight’, the inverse association was only significant in those with high M-BDI scores. We conclude that the positive effect of PA on depression could be down modulated by the negative impact of a ‘distorted’ body image on depression. The practical implications of these findings are that PA programmes targeting persons with depressive symptoms should include effective components to enhance body image perception. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)
Open AccessArticle Is Participation in After-School Physical Activity Associated with Increased Total Physical Activity? A Study of High School Pupils in the Czech Republic
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(7), 2853-2865; doi:10.3390/ijerph7072853
Received: 8 June 2010 / Revised: 7 July 2010 / Accepted: 8 July 2010 / Published: 13 July 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (498 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study assessed the physical activity (PA) levels and its variability across days, months and seasons of two groups of high school pupils: those who did and those who did not participate in regular organized after-school physical activity (ASPA). Thirteen pupils wore pedometers
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This study assessed the physical activity (PA) levels and its variability across days, months and seasons of two groups of high school pupils: those who did and those who did not participate in regular organized after-school physical activity (ASPA). Thirteen pupils wore pedometers continuously for one school-year, logged their step counts into record sheets and were then interviewed for information as regards their participation in any ASPA. Repeated measures analysis of variance showed that regardless of the day, month and season, ASPA pupils achieved significantly more mean step counts/day than the non-ASPA pupils. There were no significant fluctuations across months and seasons in PA levels of ASPA pupils when compared to non-ASPA pupils. We conclude that regular organised ASPA might increase the pupils’ total PA levels; and could help to maintain a relatively constant PA level for adolescents across the whole school-year regardless of the influences of a range of weather and meteorological indicators that are related to months/seasons. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)
Open AccessArticle Outcomes of 28+1 to 32+0 Weeks Gestation Babies in the State of Qatar: Finding Facility-Based Cost Effective Options for Improving the Survival of Preterm Neonates in Low Income Countries
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(6), 2526-2542; doi:10.3390/ijerph7062526
Received: 4 May 2010 / Revised: 31 May 2010 / Accepted: 2 June 2010 / Published: 11 June 2010
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (185 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this retrospective study we did a comparative analysis of the outcome of 28+1 to 32+0 weeks gestation babies between the State of Qatar and some high income countries with an objective of providing an evidence base for improving the survival
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In this retrospective study we did a comparative analysis of the outcome of 28+1 to 32+0 weeks gestation babies between the State of Qatar and some high income countries with an objective of providing an evidence base for improving the survival of preterm neonates in low income countries. Data covering a five year period (2002–2006) was ascertained on a pre-designed Performa. A comparative analysis with the most recent data from VON, NICHD, UK, France and Europe was undertaken. Qatar’s 28+1 to 32+0 weeks Prematurity Rate (9.23 per 1,000 births) was less than the UK’s (p < 0.0001). Of the 597 babies born at 28+1 to 32+0 weeks of gestation, 37.5% did not require any respiratory support, while 31.1% required only CPAP therapy. 80.12% of the MV and 96.28% of CPAP therapy was required for <96 hours. 86.1% of the mothers had received antenatal steroids. The 28+1 to 32+0 weeks mortality rate was 65.3/1,000 births with 30.77% deaths attributable to a range of lethal congenital and chromosomal anomalies. The survival rate increased with increasing gestational age (p < 0.001) and was comparable to some high income countries. The incidence of in hospital pre discharge morbidities in Qatar (CLD 2.68%, IVH Grade III 0.84%, IVH Grade IV 0.5%, Cystic PVL 0.5%) was less as compared to some high income countries except ROP ≥ Stage 3 (5.69%), which was higher in Qatar. The incidence of symptomatic PDA, NEC and severe ROP decreased with increasing gestational age (p < 0.05). We conclude that the mortality and in hospital pre discharge morbidity outcome of 28+1 to 32+0 weeks babies in Qatar are comparable with some high income countries. In two thirds of this group of preterm babies, the immediate postnatal respiratory distress can be effectively managed by using two facility based cost effective interventions; antenatal steroids and postnatal CPAP. This finding is very supportive to the efforts of international perinatal health care planners in designing facility-based cost effective options for low income countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)
Open AccessArticle Associations between Physical Activity and Health Parameters in Adolescent Pupils in Egypt
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(4), 1649-1669; doi:10.3390/ijerph7041649
Received: 17 March 2010 / Revised: 30 March 2010 / Accepted: 31 March 2010 / Published: 12 April 2010
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (992 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Physical activity (PA) could be protective against hypertension, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. This quantitative study assessed the association between a PA intervention and three anthropometric parameters (weight, body mass index, body fat) and four physiological parameters (cholesterol level, systolic blood
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Physical activity (PA) could be protective against hypertension, atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease and cardiovascular disease. This quantitative study assessed the association between a PA intervention and three anthropometric parameters (weight, body mass index, body fat) and four physiological parameters (cholesterol level, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, heart rate) among secondary school pupils (N = 160) in Egypt through the school term. The pupils were randomised to an intervention group (80 pupils) and controls (80 pupils). Measurements were obtained for all pupils twice: at baseline; and then again after three months. The PA intervention programme comprised an ‘afterschool’ one hour of moderate exercise three times a week for three months. Both the controls and the intervention pupils attended the ‘normal’ exercise schedule provided by the school; in addition, the intervention group attended afterschool PA programme from about 2–3 o’clock in the afternoon. At baseline, employing pupil’s BMI, 27.5% and 28.8% of the intervention and control pupils respectively were classified as overweight. After three months, the percentage of overweight decreased to 12.5% in the intervention pupils, while it increased to 37.3% in the controls. At the end of the three months period, there were significant improvements across most anthropometric and physiological parameters of the intervention pupils when compared with the control children. The correlation coefficient of the improvements for the boys and the girls was 0.97, indicating clearly that the intervention was having nearly the same beneficial effect for boys and girls. A moderate PA programme for a modest period of 3 months could be effective in maintaining or enhancing pupil’s anthropometric and physiological parameters in comparison to the controls where there was deterioration in both parameters. Policy makers and secondary schools in Egypt might need to pay more attention to PA programmes conducted on school days, in order to motivate pupils to attend such programmes. There is also an urgent need to look at current PA systems within schools in Egypt in order to assess PA outside school times. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)
Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Two Motion Sensors for the Assessment of Free-Living Physical Activity of Adolescents
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(4), 1558-1576; doi:10.3390/ijerph7041558
Received: 5 February 2010 / Revised: 16 March 2010 / Accepted: 25 March 2010 / Published: 6 April 2010
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (409 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study assessed and compared the daily step counts recorded by two different motion sensors in order to estimate the free-living physical activity of 135 adolescent girls. Each girl concurrently wore a Yamax pedometer and an ActiGraph accelerometer (criterion measure) every day for
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This study assessed and compared the daily step counts recorded by two different motion sensors in order to estimate the free-living physical activity of 135 adolescent girls. Each girl concurrently wore a Yamax pedometer and an ActiGraph accelerometer (criterion measure) every day for seven consecutive days. The convergent validity of the pedometer can be considered intermediate when used to measure the step counts in free-living physical activity; but should be considered with caution when used to classify participants’ step counts into corresponding physical activity categories because of a likelihood of ‘erroneous’ classification in comparison with the accelerometer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)
Open AccessArticle Perceived Exercise Benefits and Barriers of Non-Exercising Female University Students in the United Kingdom
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(3), 784-798; doi:10.3390/ijerph7030784
Received: 31 December 2009 / Accepted: 21 February 2010 / Published: 1 March 2010
Cited by 37 | PDF Full-text (132 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many individuals do not engage in sufficient physical activity due to low perceived benefits and high perceived barriers to exercise. Given the increasing incidence of obesity and obesity related health disorders, this topic requires further exploration. We used the Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale to
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Many individuals do not engage in sufficient physical activity due to low perceived benefits and high perceived barriers to exercise. Given the increasing incidence of obesity and obesity related health disorders, this topic requires further exploration. We used the Exercise Benefits/Barriers Scale to assess perceived benefit and barrier intensities to exercise in 200 non-exercising female university students (mean age 19.3 years, SD = 1.06) in the UK. Although our participants were selected because they self reported themselves to be non-exercising, however they reported significantly higher perceived benefits from exercise than perceived barriers to exercise [t(199) = 6.18, p < 0.001], and their perceived benefit/barrier ratio was 1.33. The greatest perceived benefit from exercise was physical performance followed by the benefits of psychological outlook, preventive health, life enhancement, and then social interaction. Physical performance was rated significantly higher than all other benefits. Psychological outlook and preventive health were not rated significantly different, although both were significantly higher than life enhancement and social interaction. Life enhancement was also rated significantly higher than social interaction. The greatest perceived barrier to exercise was physical exertion, which was rated significantly higher than time expenditure, exercise milieu, and family discouragement barriers. Implications from this investigation for the design of physical activity programmes include the importance, for females, of a perception of high benefit/barrier ratio that could be conducive to participation in exercise. Applied interventions need to assist female students to ‘disengage’ from or overcome any perceived ‘unpleasantness’ of physical exertion during physical activity (decrease their perceived barriers), and to further highlight the multiple health and other benefits of regular exercising (increase their perceived benefits). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)
Open AccessArticle How Do I Look? Body Image Perceptions among University Students from England and Denmark
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(2), 583-595; doi:10.3390/ijerph7020583
Received: 20 November 2009 / Accepted: 5 February 2010 / Published: 21 February 2010
Cited by 26 | PDF Full-text (167 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examined differences in body image perception between university students in two European countries, United Kingdom and Denmark. A total of 816 British and 548 Danish university students participated in a cross-sectional survey. A self-administered questionnaire assessed socio-demographic information, body image perception
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This study examined differences in body image perception between university students in two European countries, United Kingdom and Denmark. A total of 816 British and 548 Danish university students participated in a cross-sectional survey. A self-administered questionnaire assessed socio-demographic information, body image perception (as “too thin”, “just right” or “too fat”), and the association of related factors with body image perception (nutrition behaviour, social support, perceived stressors and quality of life). The proportions of students who perceived themselves as “too thin”, “just right”, or “too fat” were 8.6%, 37.7%, and 53.7% respectively. Multi-factorial logistic regression analysis showed that students who perceived themselves as “too fat” were more likely to be from the British university, to be females, to be older than 30 years, to report stress due to their financial situation and were less likely to have a high quality of life.The findings highlight the need for interventions with focus on healthy food choices whilst acknowledging financial stressors and quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)
Open AccessArticle Is the Health and Wellbeing of University Students Associated with their Academic Performance? Cross Sectional Findings from the United Kingdom
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(2), 509-527; doi:10.3390/ijerph7020509
Received: 30 December 2009 / Accepted: 9 February 2010 / Published: 11 February 2010
Cited by 35 | PDF Full-text (338 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study explored the associations between health awareness, health behaviour, subjective health status, and satisfaction of students with their educational experience as independent variables and three outcomes of educational achievement as dependent variables. We undertook two simultaneous cross-sectional surveys among students from one
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This study explored the associations between health awareness, health behaviour, subjective health status, and satisfaction of students with their educational experience as independent variables and three outcomes of educational achievement as dependent variables. We undertook two simultaneous cross-sectional surveys among students from one University in the UK during 2008−2009. The first survey was a general health survey; the second survey measured students’ satisfaction with different aspects of their learning and teaching experience. Students’ registration numbers linked the responses of both questionnaires together, and subsequently linked the questionnaires to the university database to import the grades that students actually achieved in their studies. Generally, students (N = 380) exhibited average medium to high satisfaction with their educational experiences. Students’ satisfaction with their educational experiences was not associated with any of the three indicators of educational achievement (actual module mark; perceived own performance; importance of achieving good grades). The associations of educational satisfaction, health, health behaviours, heath complaints and financial parameters with the three outcomes of educational achievement did not differ between male and female students. Each of the health, health behaviours, health complaints and financial parameters were selectively associated with only some but not all three indicators of student educational achievement. We conclude that the findings support a conceptual framework suggesting reciprocal relationships between health, health behaviour and educational achievement. Comprehensive health promotion programmes may have the potential to influence relevant predictors of educational achievement in university students. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Health and Wellbeing of Children, Adolescents and Young Adults)

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