Assessing Impacts of Time Use on Children's Physical Fitness in Relation to Risk for Obesity and Diabetes

Jessica Guo, Supervising Planner, Parsons Brinckerhoff
Event Date: 
Friday, April 25, 2014, 12:00pm to 1:00pm PDT

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Summary: Researchers from the transportation, planning and health fields share the common goal of promoting physically active lifestyle. One challenge that researchers often face is the measurement of physical activity, particularly among children. This is because the sporadic nature of children’s physical activity patterns makes it difficult to recall and quantify such activities. Additionally, children’s lower cognitive functioning compared to adults prevents them from accurately recalling their activities. This presentation will describe the design and application of a novel self-report instrument - the Graphs for Recalling Activity Time (GReAT) - for measuring children’s activity time use patterns. The instrument was applied in a study of children’s risk for obesity and diabetes in a predominately Hispanic community in Milwaukee, WI. Time-use data for two weekdays and one weekend day were collected for various physical and sedentary activities. The data was then assessed against measurements of the children’s cardiovascular fitness, weight status and insulin resistance through exploratory analysis and structured equation modeling. Findings on GReAT’s reliability and new evidence on the impacts of time-use in different activities on children’s risk for obesity and diabetes will be discussed. 

Bio: Dr Jessica Guo is with the Systems Analysis Group of Parsons Brinckerhoff in the Portland, OR, office.  She has extensive experience in transportation-related research and in developing software for scientific/engineering applications. Her areas of technical expertise include land use and transportation modeling, travel behavior analysis, econometric and statistical modeling, and software engineering.  Prior to joining Parsons Brinckerhoff, she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, where she founded and directed the Transportation and Urban Systems Analysis Laboratory. Dr Guo received a doctor of philosophy in transportation engineering from the University of Texas at Austin, a master of business degree in transport research from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and a bachelor of science in computer science from the University of Melbourne.