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Lindsay Parks Pieper

At specific moments in history, women publicly entered the masculine realm of baseball to advance female suffrage in the United States. Girls and women took to the field in the nineteenth century, enjoying newfound bodily freedoms and disrupting Victorian constraints. While their performances may not have always translated into explicit suffrage activism, their athleticism demonstrated strength at a time when many people used women’s supposed weakness as an argument against their political enfranchisement. However, as the popularity of baseball increased at the turn of the century, the number of female ballplayers decreased. Activism in the sport therefore changed. In the mid-1910s, suffragists advertised at men’s baseball games. The women recognized the value of promoting suffrage through sport; yet, they also acknowledged that by entering ballparks, they entered a male space. Suffragists therefore exhibited conventional White gender norms to avoid aggrieving male voters. Women’s different engagements with baseball, as either players or spectators, had varying consequences for women’s political and sporting emancipation. Women’s physical activism in baseball demonstrated female prowess and strength in sport, but only abstractly advanced women’s political rights; suffragists’ promotional efforts through men’s baseball more directly influenced the eventual passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, but their actions supported women’s position on the sidelines.

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Erika M. Pliner, April A. Dukes, Kurt E. Beschorner and Arash Mahboobin

There is a need for pedagogical techniques that increase student engagement among underrepresented groups in engineering. Relating engineering content to student interests, particularly through biomechanics applications, shows promise toward engaging a diverse group of students. This study investigates the effects of student interests on engagement and performance in 10th grade students enrolled in a summer program for students underrepresented in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. The authors assessed the effects of interest-tailored lectures on student engagement and performance in a 5-week program with bioengineering workshops, focusing on the delivery of biomechanics content. A total of 31 students received interest-tailored lectures (intervention) and 23 students received only generic lectures (control) in biomechanics. In addition, the authors assessed the effects of teaching method (lecture, classroom activities, and laboratory tours) on student engagement. The authors found interest-tailored lectures to significantly increase student engagement in lecture compared with generic lectures. Students that received interest-tailored lectures had an insignificant, but meaningful 5% increase in student performance. Students rated laboratory tours higher in engagement than other teaching methods. This study provides detailed examples that can directly assist student teaching and outreach in biomechanics. Furthermore, the pedagogical techniques in this study can be used to increase engagement of underrepresented students in engineering.

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James A. Betts

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Lewis Keane, Emma Sherry, Nico Schulenkorf, Joel Negin, Ding Ding, Adrian Bauman, Edward Jegasothy and Justin Richards

Background: The purpose of this paper was to identify personal, social, and environmental mediators of recreational physical activity (PA) in a 6-month netball-based intervention for women and girls in Tonga. Methods: Tonga Netball’s “low-engagement village program” was implemented in 10 villages and aimed to increase the recreational PA levels in women and girls through a comprehensive, structured community-level netball program addressing key barriers to participation. In a mixed-methods approach, these mediating barriers were identified through qualitative interviews based on the socioecological model. Quantitative measures for mediators and recreational PA were then developed, and data from 301 women and girls were collected. Standard mediation analyses methods were then applied. Results: Program participation appeared to significantly increase PA levels. Statistically significant personal mediators were body issues, preferring competitions, and clothing. Social mediators were support from sports council, community leaders, friends, and church. Environmental mediators were travel time and access to balls, bibs, and umpires. Conclusion: A comprehensive community-level program addressing key participation barriers can increase recreational PA among women and girls in Tonga. Triangulating these results with mediation analyses of variables on the causal pathway can strengthen our understanding of causation and inform funding prioritization for critical program components in similar contexts.

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Kimberly Bigelow and Michael L. Madigan

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Nicole K. Nathan, Rachel L. Sutherland, Kirsty Hope, Nicole J. McCarthy, Matthew Pettett, Ben Elton, Rebecca Jackson, Stewart G. Trost, Christophe Lecathelinais, Kathryn Reilly, John H. Wiggers, Alix Hall, Karen Gillham, Vanessa Herrmann and Luke Wolfenden

Aim: To assess the impact of a multistrategy intervention designed to improve teachers’ implementation of a school physical activity (PA) policy on student PA levels. Methods: A cluster-randomized controlled trial was conducted in 12 elementary schools. Policy implementation required schools to deliver 150 minutes of organized PA for students each week via physical education, sport, or class-based activities such as energizers. Schools received implementation support designed using the theoretical domains framework to help them implement the current policy. Results: A total of 1,502 children in kindergarten to grade 6 participated. At follow-up compared with control, students attending intervention schools had, measured via accelerometer, significantly greater increases in school day counts per minute (97.5; 95% confidence interval [CI], 64.5 to 130.4; P < .001) and moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) (3.0; 95% CI, 2.2–3.8, P < .001) and a greater decrease in sedentary time (−2.1; 95% CI, −3.9 to −0.4, P = .02) per school day. Teachers in intervention schools delivered significantly more minutes (36.6 min) of PA to their students at follow-up (95% CI, 2.7–70.5, P = .04). Conclusions: Supporting teachers to implement a PA policy improves student PA. Additional strategies may be needed to support teachers to implement activities that result in larger gains in student MVPA.

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Nicholas A. Koemel, Christina M. Sciarrillo, Katherine B. Bode, Madison D. Dixon, Edralin A. Lucas, Nathaniel D.M. Jenkins and Sam R. Emerson

The consumption of a high-fat meal can induce postprandial lipemia and endothelial dysfunction. The authors assessed the impact of age and physical activity on metabolic and vascular outcomes following meal consumption in healthy adults. The authors recruited four groups: younger active (age 22.1 ± 1.4 years; n = 9), younger inactive (age 22.6 ± 3.7 years; n = 8), older active (age 68.4 ± 7.7 years; n = 8), and older inactive (age 67.7 ± 7.2 years; n = 7). The metabolic outcomes were measured at the baseline and hourly for 6 hr post high-fat meal consumption (12 kcal/kg; 63% fat). Flow-mediated dilation was measured at the baseline, 2 hr, and 4 hr postmeal. The total area under the curve for triglycerides was significantly lower in the more active groups, but did not differ based on age (younger active = 6.5 ± 1.4 mmol/L × 6 hr, younger inactive = 11.7 ± 4.8, older active = 6.8 ± 2.7, older inactive = 12.1 ± 1.7; p = .0004). After adjusting for artery diameter, flow-mediated dilation differed between groups at the baseline (younger active = 4.8 ± 1.6%, younger inactive = 2.5 ± 0.5, older active = 3.4 ± 0.9, older inactive = 2.2 ± 0.4; p < .001) and decreased significantly across groups 4 hr postmeal (mean difference = 0.82; 95% CI [0.02, 1.6]; p = .04). These findings highlight the beneficial effect of regular physical activity on postprandial lipemia, independent of age.

Open access

Abby Haynes, Catherine Sherrington, Geraldine Wallbank, David Lester, Allison Tong, Dafna Merom, Chris Rissel and Anne Tiedemann

The Coaching for Healthy Ageing trial evaluated the impact on physical activity (PA) and falls based on a year-long intervention in which participants aged 60+ receive a home visit, regular health coaching by physiotherapists, and a free activity monitor. This interview study describes the participants’ experiences of the intervention and ideas for improvement. The authors sampled purposively for maximum variation in experiences. The data were analyzed thematically by two researchers. Most of the 32 participants reported that the intervention increased PA levels, embedded activities, and generated positivity about PA. They were motivated by quantified PA feedback, self-directed goals, and person-centered coaching. Social connectivity motivated some, but the intervention did not support this well. The intervention structure allowed participants to trial and embed activities. Autonomy and relatedness were emphasized and should be included in future program theory. The authors identified synergistic effects, likely “essential ingredients,” and potential areas for improving this and similar interventions.

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Nicole McCarthy, Kirsty Hope, Rachel Sutherland, Elizabeth Campbell, Rebecca Hodder, Luke Wolfenden and Nicole Nathan

Background: To determine Australian primary school principals’, teachers’, and parents’ attitudes to changing school uniform policies to allow students to wear sports uniforms every day and to assess associations between participant characteristics and their attitudes. A secondary aim was to identify principals’ and teachers’ perceived barriers to uniform changes. Methods: Cross-sectional surveys of principals, teachers, and parents of children in grades 2 to 3 (age 7–10 y) from 62 Australian primary schools (Oct 2017–Mar 2018) were undertaken. Mixed logistic regression analyses assessed the associations between participant characteristics and attitudes toward uniform changes. Results: In total, 73% of the principals (38/52) who responded reported that their school only allowed children to wear a sports uniform on sports days. Overall, 38% of the principals (18/47), 63% of the teachers (334/579), and 78% of the parents (965/1231) reported they would support a policy that allowed children to wear daily sports uniforms. The most commonly reported barrier was the perception that sports uniforms were not appropriate for formal occasions. Conclusions: Although the majority of the principals were not supportive of a change to a daily sports uniform, the majority of the teachers and parents were. Strategies to improve principal support may be required if broader adoption of physical activity–supporting uniforms is to be achieved.