Western Research Hub For Physical Activity
The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks physical inactivity as the 4th leading risk factor for death worldwide, and low fitness exposes individuals to a greater risk of dying than does smoking, obesity, or high blood pressure. In response, the WHO created the Global Action Plan on Physical Activity (GAPPA) to address this worldwide epidemic. We are an emerging team composed of diverse junior and senior scholars spanning seven Faculties. Our objectives are to identify and mobilize existing strengths at Western in physical activity and health implementation directly addressing the WHO’s GAPPA. Read more about this project here
A PEER-TO-PEER ONLINE HEALTHCARE HUB ON PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND HEALTH WHERE PATIENTS, CARE PROVIDERS, ATHLETES, AND THE PUBLIC CAN SHARE THEIR FAVOURITE ‘MOVEMENT HACKS’, SUCCESSES, AND FAILURES.
Physicians, multidisciplinary researchers, and exercise specialists will curate the best resources. It will also be an educational site for health care professionals involved in counselling on physical activity, helping all care providers incorporate movement as medicine.
Physical Activity Implementation in Kids
BEST PRACTICES FOR SCHOOL BASED IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY LEVELS: A NARRATIVE REVIEW
The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology has developed evidence-based physical activity guidelines. According to the Participaction Report Card, only 39% of children and adolescents met the guidelines in 2020. School-based interventions are commonly used to increase physical activity levels in children and youth. Although school-based physical activity interventions are numerous, there is a gap in studying the implementation science behind these interventions. Our objective is to examine indicators that promote successful implementation of school-based physical activity. We aim to determine the best ways to implement school-based physical activity interventions. Our goal is to identify barriers and provide tangible approaches to effectively implement school-based physical activity interventions as a way to increase physical activity in children and youth.
Contraception in Female Endurance Athletes:
What’s sport got to do with it?
EXPLORING THE CONTRACEPTION SELECTION PROCESS FOR FEMALE ENDURANCE ATHLETES AND HOW DIFFERENT CONTRACEPTIVES IMPACT PERCEIVED FEMALE ATHLETE HEALTH AND PERFORMANCE.
Like many women, female athletes are concerned about the potential side effects of different methods of contraception impacting health and well-being, but they must also consider how these affect their athletic performance. Unfortunately, there is limited scientific information on how different contraception options impact endurance performance.
To address this gap in research, we designed a survey study for female endurance athletes who have used or considered using contraceptives which require health care consultation while competing in their sport. The study will collect empirical data on their experiences navigating the contraception selection process, the perceived impact of different contraception options on their athletic performance and well-being, and which contraception methods are currently preferred. Results from this study will be used to publish resources that can help inform female endurance athletes inquiring about contraception as well as the physicians advising these athletes.
The TEAM Study
NOVEL USES OF TECHNOLOGY FOR INDIVIDUALS WITH MILD TO MODERATE HIP OR KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS: THE TECHNOLOGY, EXERCISE PROGRAMMING, AND ACTIVITY PRESCRIPTION FOR ENHANCED MOBILITY STUDY
Up to 45% of individuals with osteoarthritis (OA) are either referred to an orthopaedic surgeon for a joint replacement prematurely or will not be candidates for surgery. These individuals need appropriate (non-operative) care to help reduce their pain and enhance their mobility. We are studying the use of innovative technology to help physicians give physical activity advice for patients to become more active and provide free online resources to help patients understand OA self-management and exercise, especially when they have barriers to accessing formal care. Our goal is to help with non-operative management strategies to improve quality of life, reduce pain, improve mobility, and possibly delay or prevent a joint replacement.
The Effects of Exercise on Cognition and Brain Structure in Older Adults at Risk for Type 2 Diabetes: A 7T MRI Study
PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR: DR. LINDSAY NAGAMATSU
Older adults with type 2 diabetes experience cognitive decline and are at higher risk for developing dementia. Consequently, those at-risk for diabetes (prediabetic or overweight/obese) show early evidence of cognitive decline as well as decreased brain health. Intervening in those at-risk for diabetes may prevent or delay the onset of such decline. Exercise is a promising lifestyle intervention that has been shown to improve cognitive function in other populations. The objective of this study is to explore exercise as a lifestyle intervention to improve cognitive decline in older adults at risk for diabetes using a 6-month training protocol. Additionally, we will use high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging and blood biomarkers to determine structural and molecular changes in the brain, respectively.
Hang up your cleats and hope for the best? A cross-sectional study investigating retired elite female rugby players’ health
Our study aims to investigate key health outcomes in retired elite female rugby (union) players. This will be the first long-term comprehensive health survey conducted in this population. This is a two-part study. The first portion is an online comprehensive survey capturing various aspects of health (musculoskeletal, mental, reproductive, cardiovascular, and cognitive). The second portion is an online cognitive assessment (CNS-Vital Signs) capturing more detailed information on cognitive health.
The results from this study will inform future prevention initiatives by determining whether there is a need for injury and illness prevention (and for what conditions), and to identify modifiable risk factors that might protect players’ long-term health. This study will provide both a benchmark for future research such as an occupational epidemiology cohort study and establish a targeted approach for a long-term prospective cohort study.
Poor Health in Adults with Adverse Childhood Experiences: Is Physical Activity the Answer?
Adverse childhood experiences (ACE) include abuse, neglect, loss of a parent, spousal abuse, and parental substance abuse. Compared to the general population, adults with ACEs are at higher risk for cardiovascular disease, cancer, pulmonary disease, anxiety, depression, and more. In the general population, engaging in physical activity can lower risk for chronic disease and improve mental health, although adults with ACEs tend to lead physically inactive lifestyles. This scoping review aims to explore whether physical activity is associated with better physical and mental health in adults with ACEs. Read more about this study here.
Beyond the Medals
A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY INVESTIGATING RETIRED HIGH-PERFORMANCE FEMALE ATHLETES’ HEALTH
Research into long-term female athlete health is, astonishingly, still in its infancy. Across sport, the ‘hot topics’ of athlete mental health, relative energy deficiency in sport (RED-S) and ‘athlete’s heart’ are gathering momentum. Differences in the ways these manifest themselves in men and women are expected, but they have yet to be investigated in retired elite female athletes. The Canadian sport system is committed to enhancing the participation of girls and women in all facets of sport and physical activity in Canada. Major strides are being made in injury prevention for high-performance athletes, but little is known about the long-term health outcomes following retirement—both positive and negative—for women.
This research is necessary to help Game Plan, a collaboration of the Canadian Olympic Committee, Canadian Paralympic Committee, Sport Canada and the Canadian Olympic and Paralympic Sport Institute Network, develop resources for Canada’s retired and retiring female athletes. To address this critical knowledge gap, this study aims to investigate comprehensive health outcomes in retired high-performance female rowing and rugby athletes. Results will inform the development of future initiatives to promote the health of these athletes and identify key preventative targets. You can read the full paper here.
Social Patterning of Physical Activity in the Ageing Population
Physical inactivity is strongly related to the development of chronic disease and highly prevalent in older populations. Over 80% of middle-aged to older adults do not meet Physical Activity Guidelines, emphasizing the need to identify the underlying factors for inactivity within this demographic. While socioeconomic status is one the most consistent determinants of physical activity and health, epidemiological evidence on the socioeconomic patterning of physical activity is sparse. Our objective is to highlight the socioeconomic barriers of physical activity required for developing well-founded intervention strategies relevant to the Canadian ageing population.