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The Contribution of Home, Neighbourhood and School Environmental Factors in Explaining Physical Activity among Adolescents
Leen Haerens,Mietje Craeynest,Benedicte Deforche,Lea Maes,Greet Cardon,Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
Journal of Environmental and Public Health , 2009, DOI: 10.1155/2009/320372
Abstract: The present study aimed at investigating the influence of home, neighbourhood and school environmental factors on adolescents' engagement in self-reported extracurricular physical activity and leisure time sports and on MVPA objectively measured by accelerometers. Environmental factors were assessed using questionnaires. Gender specific hierarchical regression analyses were conducted, with demographic variables entered in the first block, and environmental, psychosocial factors and interactions terms entered in the second block. Participation in extracurricular activities at school was positively related to the number of organized activities and the provision of supervision. Perceived accessibility of neighborhood facilities was not related to engagement in leisure time sports, whereas the availability of sedentary and physical activity equipment was. Findings were generally supportive of ecological theories stating that behaviors are influenced by personal and environmental factors that are constantly interacting.
Parents’ and Teachers’ Opinions about the School Food Policy in Belgian Flemish Nursery Schools
Carine Vereecken,Hilde Van Houte,Veerle Martens,Isabelle Wittebroodt,Lea Maes
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 2009, DOI: 10.3390/ijerph6031268
Abstract: The partnership of parents, teachers, and schools is necessary to develop effective school food interventions. To gather parents’ and teachers’ opinions and perceptions about the school food policy, 884 parents and 70 teachers of preschoolers completed a questionnaire. School food policy is an issue of importance for parents and teachers: the majority agrees that schools should restrict the availability of snacks and soft drinks; however, to replace fruit juice and sugared milk drinks with sugarless alternatives will take special effort. Fruit is not always available at school, although parents would appreciate it. Parents of lower educational level are in general more permissive.
Relative Validity and Reproducibility of a Food-Frequency Questionnaire for Estimating Food Intakes among Flemish Preschoolers
Inge Huybrechts,Guy De Backer,Dirk De Bacquer,Lea Maes,Stefaan De Henauw
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 2009, DOI: 10.3390/ijerph6010382
Abstract: The aims of this study were to assess the relative validity and reproducibility of a semi-quantitative food-frequency questionnaire (FFQ) applied in a large region-wide survey among 2.5-6.5 year-old children for estimating food group intakes. Parents/guardians were used as a proxy. Estimated diet records (3d) were used as reference method and reproducibility was measured by repeated FFQ administrations five weeks apart. In total 650 children were included in the validity analyses and 124 in the reproducibility analyses. Comparing median FFQ1 to FFQ2 intakes, almost all evaluated food groups showed median differences within a range of ± 15%. However, for median vegetables, fruit and cheese intake, FFQ1 was > 20% higher than FFQ2. For most foods a moderate correlation (0.5-0.7) was obtained between FFQ1 and FFQ2. For cheese, sugared drinks and fruit juice intakes correlations were even > 0.7. For median differences between the 3d EDR and the FFQ, six food groups (potatoes & grains; vegetables Fruit; cheese; meat, game, poultry and fish; and sugared drinks) gave a difference > 20%. The largest corrected correlations (>0.6) were found for the intake of potatoes and grains, fruit, milk products, cheese, sugared drinks, and fruit juice, while the lowest correlations (<0.4) for bread and meat products. The proportion of subjects classified within one quartile (in the same/adjacent category) by FFQ and EDR ranged from 67% (for meat products) to 88% (for fruit juice). Extreme misclassification into the opposite quartiles was for all food groups < 10%. The results indicate that our newly developed FFQ gives reproducible estimates of food group intake. Overall, moderate levels of relative validity were observed for estimates of food group intake.
Smoking trends among adolescents from 1990 to 2002 in ten European countries and Canada
Anne Hublet, Dirk De Bacquer, Raili Valimaa, Emmanuelle Godeau, Holger Schmid, Giora Rahav, Lea Maes
BMC Public Health , 2006, DOI: 10.1186/1471-2458-6-280
Abstract: The study is part of the four-yearly, cross-national Health Behaviour in School-aged Children study, a school-based survey on a nationally representative sample using a standardised methodology. Data of 4 survey periods are available (1990–2002). Gender-specific daily smoking trends among 14–15 year olds are examined using logistic regressions. Sex ratios are calculated for each survey period and country. Interaction effects between period and gender are examined.Daily smoking prevalence in boys in 2002 ranges from 5.5% in Sweden to 20.0% in Latvia. Among girls, the daily smoking prevalence in 2002 ranges from 8.9% in Poland to 24.7% in Austria. Three daily smoking trend groups are identified: countries with a declining or stagnating trend, countries with an increasing trend followed by a decreasing trend, and countries with an increasing trend. These trend groups show a geographical pattern, but are not linked to smoking prevalence. Over the 4 surveys, the sex ratio has changed in Belgium, Switzerland, and Latvia.Among adolescents in Europe, three groups of countries in a different stage of the smoking epidemic curve can be identified, with girls being in an earlier stage than boys. In 2002, large differences in smoking prevalence between the countries have been observed. This predicts a high mortality due to smoking over 20–30 years for some countries, if no policy interventions are taken.Daily smoking among adolescents is a significant public health problem. Smoking-related health problems are a function of the duration (years of smoking) and the intensity of use (number of cigarettes smoked) [1]. Most adult smokers began to smoke or were already addicted to nicotine before the age of 18 [2,3]. Besides, a lot of adolescents want to quit smoking, but only a small number of them really succeed [1,2]. Tobacco control policies varied widely in European countries in the last 20 years [4]. The smoking prevalence among adolescents is important for policy makers to monit
Explaining the effects of a 1-year intervention promoting a low fat diet in adolescent girls: a mediation analysis
Leen Haerens, Ester Cerin, Benedicte Deforche, Lea Maes, Ilse De Bourdeaudhuij
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity , 2007, DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-4-55
Abstract: Data from a 1-year prospective intervention study were used. A random sample of 804 adolescent girls was included in the study. Girls in the intervention group (n = 415) were exposed to a multi-component school-based intervention program, combining environmental changes with a computer tailored fat intake intervention and parental support. Fat intake and psychosocial determinants of fat intake were measured with validated self-administered questionnaires. To assess mediating effects, a product-of-coefficient test, appropriate for cluster randomized controlled trials, was used.None of the examined psychosocial factors showed a reliable mediating effect on changes in fat intake. The single-mediator model revealed a statistically significant suppression effect of perceived barriers on changes in fat intake (p = 0.011). In the multiple-mediator model, this effect was no longer significant, which was most likely due to changes in perceived barriers being moderately related to changes in self-efficacy (-0.30) and attitude (-0.25). The overall mediated-suppressed effect of the examined psychosocial factors was virtually zero (total mediated effect = 0.001; SE = 7.22; p = 0.992).Given the lack of intervention effects on attitudes, social support, self-efficacy and perceived benefits and barriers, it is suggested that future interventions should focus on the identification of effective strategies for changing these theoretical mediators in the desired direction. Alternatively, it could be argued that these constructs need not be targeted in interventions aimed at adolescents, as they may not be responsible for the intervention effects on fat intake. To draw any conclusions regarding mediators of fat-intake change in adolescent' girls and regarding optimal future intervention strategies, more systematic research on the mediating properties of psychosocial variables is needed.Dietary behavior interventions typically aim at influencing a set of implicit or explicit mediating va
Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of lifestyle interventions on physical activity and eating habits in persons with severe mental disorders: A systematic review
Nick Verhaeghe, Jan De Maeseneer, Lea Maes, Cornelis Van Heeringen, Lieven Annemans
International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity , 2011, DOI: 10.1186/1479-5868-8-28
Abstract: A systematic search through the electronic databases Medline, Web of Science, CINAHL and Cohrane Library was conducted, and by hand-searching the reference lists of the retrieved articles from the electronic databases. Studies were included if they examined effectiveness and/or cost-effectiveness of lifestyle interventions targeting physical activity and eating habits in persons with severe mental disorders, with primary outcome changes in Body Mass Index and body weight.Fourteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Weight loss and Body Mass Index decrease were observed in intervention groups in 11 studies. The difference in weight change between intervention and control groups was statistically significant in nine studies. Differences in mean Body Mass Index between intervention and control groups were statistically significant in eight studies. Five studies reported improvements in quality of life and general health. In none of the studies cost-effectiveness of lifestyle interventions was examined.Further research on both effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of lifestyle interventions targeting physical activity and eating habits in persons with severe mental disorders is required to assist in the development of new health promotion interventions in this population.Overweight (Body Mass Index 25-29 kg/m2) and obesity (Body Mass Index >30 kg/m2) have become a serious global public health problem, and the prevalence of obesity is rapidly increasing [1]. Obesity is associated with lifestyle factors such as sedentary lifestyles and poor dietary choices [2,3] which contribute to major non communicable diseases, including cardiovascular disease (CVD), type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer [4]. The burden of overweight and obesity is also increasing in low- and middle-income countries [5]. Where in the past obesity was mostly associated with the higher socioeconomic groups, now tends to shift towards the groups with lower socioeconomic status. In developing countrie
Food Intakes by Preschool Children in Flanders Compared with Dietary Guidelines
Inge Huybrechts,Christophe Matthys,Carine Vereecken,Lea Maes,Elisabeth HM Temme,Herman Van Oyen,Guy De Backer,Stefaan De Henauw
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health , 2008, DOI: 10.3390/ijerph5040243
Abstract: The objective of this study was to compare food group intakes among preschool children with food-based dietary guidelines (FBDG) and to determine the proportion of children meeting these guidelines. Food consumption of preschool children (2.5-6.5 years) living in Flanders (Belgium) were assessed in a cross-sectional study, using proxy reported 3d estimated dietary records (EDR) (n 696). Statistical modelling was used to account for within-individual variation in the 3d EDR. Mean daily intakes of most food groups (beverages, vegetables, fruit and milk) were below the minimum recommendations. Only ‘grains and potatoes’ and ‘meat products’ were in line with the recommendations and ‘bread and cereals’ showed borderline intakes. Mean intakes of energy-dense and low-nutritious foods, which are discouraged within a healthy diet (like snacks and sugared drinks), were high. Furthermore, the percentage of children complying with the different food-based dietary guidelines was for most food groups extremely low (ranging from approximately 4% for fluid and vegetable intakes up to 99% for potato intakes). Boys had in general higher mean intakes of the recommended food groups. In conclusion, preschool children in Flanders follow eating patterns that do not meet Flemish FBDG. Although the impact of these eating habits on preschooler’s current and future health should be further investigated, it is clear that nutrition education and intervention are needed among preschool children and their parents in Flanders.
Treatment Efficacy in Vertebrobasilar Transient Ischemic Attacks Presenting as Isolated Vertigo: A Retrospective Case Study  [PDF]
Lea Pollak
Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science (JBBS) , 2012, DOI: 10.4236/jbbs.2012.21010
Abstract: Background: Vertigo without other neurological symptoms is usually not supposed to be due to a vascular cause. How-ever, hypoperfusion of the anterior cerebellar artery can lead to ischemia of the vestibular labyrinth and/or vestibular nuclei in the pontomedullary region whereas hypoperfusion of the posterior cerebellar artery can cause ischemia of the vestibulocerebellum, all resulting in isolated vertigo. Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the clinical records of pa-tients with vertebrobasilar ischemic attacks referred to our outpatient dizziness clinic during the years 1999-2009. Pa-tients who presented only with vertigo (+/– vomiting and unsteadiness) were selected. Their clinical data, findings and treatment responses were recorded. Results: Amongst about one hundred patients with vertebrobasilar TIA we found 24 patients with monosymptomatic presentation. Their mean age was 67.3 years, fifteen were men. In most of the patients the vertigo attacsk were multiple and lasted from minutes to hours. All but four patients had at least one vascular risk factor at the time of presentation ,among them 13 had multiple vascular risk factors. Seven patients had evidence of chronic ischemic changes on brain CT or MRI .Aspirin (100 - 325 mg/die) was started in 15 patients. Three patients were started on clopidogrel (75 mg/die) because of aspirin intolerance and two patients on warfarin due to atrial fibrilla-tion. In two patients who were treated with aspirin prior to their vertigo attack, clopidogrel or dipyridamol were added. The mean time period from first attack to treatment initiation was 5.2 months. The mean follow up period was 27.4 months. In 18 patients the attacks have completely resolved after treatment initiation. Three patients had further vertigo attacks despite treatment. Two patients with vertigo episodes where a vascular etiology was not suspected, developed later an ischemic stroke in the vertebrobasilar territory (anterior cerebellar artery and vertebral artery infarct). Conclusions: The differential diagnosis of a vertigo attack presenting in a monosymptomatic form should include vertebrobasilar TIA, especially in individuals with vascular risk factors. In view of lack of a specific test for establishing the diagnosis antiplatelets should be administered on empirical grounds since early administration of therapy can abolish further attacks and prevent a vertebrobasilar stroke. Warfarin should be preserved for patients with cardiac conditions that warrant antiocoagulation for stroke prevention.
Predicting Job Satisfaction: Contributions of Individual Gratitude and Institutionalized Gratitude  [PDF]
Lea Waters
Psychology (PSYCH) , 2012, DOI: 10.4236/psych.2012.312A173

This study examined the role that employee perceptions of dispositional gratitude, state gratitude and institutionalized gratitude had upon job satisfaction. Employees (n = 171) completed measures of dispositional, state and institutionalized gratitude together with job satisfaction. Multiple Hierarchical Regression showed that state gratitude and institutional gratitude uniquely predict job satisfaction. The results have implications for the fields of positive organizational scholarship and positive organizational behavior and suggest that workplaces aiming to increase job satisfaction can do so through organizationally-based gratitude interventions and by institutionalizing gratitude into workplace culture.

The Relationship between Strength-Based Parenting with Children’s Stress Levels and Strength-Based Coping Approaches  [PDF]
Lea Waters
Psychology (PSYCH) , 2015, DOI: 10.4236/psych.2015.66067
Abstract: The current study adopted a positive psychology approach to examine the role of a positively oriented style of parenting—strength-based parenting (SBP)—on levels of stress in primary school aged children. Specifically, the study tested the degree to which SBP was directly and indirectly related to stress levels in children, partly through its influence on children’ coping responses. A community sample of Australian upper-primary school aged children (N= 103; Mage = 11.30; SD = 1.10; 57% female, 43% male) participated in a cross-sectional, mixed methods field study using self-report surveys and behavioral vignette. A series of multiple regression analyses found that SBP was significantly negatively related to stress levels and significantly positively related to strength-based coping in children. In addition, strength-based coping partially mediated the rela-tionship between SBP and stress levels in children, suggesting that one reason why SBP reduced stress in children was that it encouraged children to take strength-based coping approaches when faced with adversity. SBP thus increases the endogenous resources (i.e., personal strengths) that children can draw upon to address resources with demands that leads to stress. The discussion provides practical implications for SBP and suggestions for future research in this area.
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