Purpose: Girls on the Run is an after-school physical activity-based positive youth development program designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological, and physical development. We evaluated the effectiveness of the program by employing a longitudinal design and mixed methods. Methods: Girls (N = 203; aged 8–11 y) completed survey measures of positive youth development constructs (competence, confidence, connection, character, and caring), physical activity, and sedentary behavior prior to, at the end of, and 3 months after the season. Subsamples of girls, coaches, caregivers, and school personnel participated in focus groups. Coaches completed information about their team’s community impact project and number of girls who completed the season-ending 5k. Results: The full sample improved in confidence and connection, whereas girls who started below the preseason average showed the greatest gains from preseason to postseason on all measures, and scores were maintained or continued to improve at follow-up. All stakeholders in focus groups corroborated evidence of season-long improvement in social and emotional behaviors and health outcomes. Involvement in the community impact project contributed to girls’ growth in character and empathy skills. Conclusion: Findings provide empirical evidence that Girls on the Run is effective in promoting positive youth development, including season-long and lasting change in competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and physical activity, especially among girls who exhibited lower preseason scores than their peers.
Maureen R. Weiss, Lindsay E. Kipp, Alison Phillips Reichter, Sarah M. Espinoza and Nicole D. Bolter
Alan L. Smith and Daniel Gould
Dawn C. Mackey, Alexander D. Perkins, Kaitlin Hong Tai, Joanie Sims-Gould and Heather A. McKay
We conducted Men on the Move, a 12-week randomized controlled feasibility trial of a scalable, choice-based, physical activity (PA) and active transportation intervention. Participants were community-dwelling men aged 60 years and older (n = 29 intervention [INT] and n = 29 waitlist control [CON]). Trained activity coaches delivered: (a) one-on-one participant consultations to develop personal action plans for PA and active transportation, (b) monthly group-based motivational meetings, (c) weekly telephone support, (d) complimentary recreation and transit passes, and (e) pedometers and diaries for self-monitoring. Men on the Move demonstrated high rates of recruitment, retention, and intervention adherence. INT chose a variety of group-based and individual PAs and destinations for their personal action plans. At 12 weeks, INT achieved more steps, moderate–vigorous PA, and energy expenditure than CON. INT was also more likely to take transit and meet national guideline levels of PA. At 24 weeks follow-up, INT benefits were sustained for moderate–vigorous PA and energy expenditure.
Steriani Elavsky, Lenka Knapova, Adam Klocek and David Smahel
We provide a systematic review of interventions utilizing mobile technology to alter physical activity, sedentary behavior, and sleep among adults aged 50 years and older. A systematic search identified 52 relevant articles (randomized control trial [RCT], quasi-experimental, pre/post single-group design). Of 50 trials assessing physical activity, 17 out of 29 RCTs and 13 out of 21 trials assessed for pre/post changes only supported the effectiveness of mobile interventions to improve physical activity, and 9 studies (five out of 10 RCTs and all four pre/post studies) out of 14 reduced sedentary behavior. Only two of five interventions improved sleep (one out of two RCTs and one out of three pre/post studies). Text messaging was the most frequently used intervention (60% of all studies) but was usually used in combination with other components (79% of hybrid interventions included SMS, plus either web or app components). Although more high-quality RCTs are needed, there is evidence supporting the effectiveness of mHealth approaches in those aged 50 years and older.
Jos J. de Koning and Dionne A. Noordhof
Patellar tendinopathy is one of the most common afflictions in jumping sports. This case study outlines the rehabilitation of a professional basketball player diagnosed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a central core patellar tendinopathy within the proximal enthesis. The player undertook a nutrition and strength-based rehabilitation program combining gelatin ingestion and heavy isometric loading of the patellar tendon designed to produce significant stress relaxation as part of their competition schedule and a whole-body training plan. On follow-up one and a half years into the program an independent orthopedic surgeon declared the tendon normal on MRI. Importantly, the improved MRI results were associated with a decrease in pain and improved performance. This case study provides evidence that a nutritional intervention combined with a rehabilitation program that uses stress relaxation can improve clinical outcomes in elite athletes.
Edgar J. Gallardo and Andrew R. Coggan
Consumption of beetroot juice (BRJ) supplements has become popular among athletes because beets tend to be rich in nitrate (NO3 −), which can enhance exercise performance by increasing nitric oxide production. The NO3 − content of beets can vary significantly, however, making it difficult to know how much NO3 − any product actually contains. Samples from 45 different lots of 24 different BRJ products from 21 different companies were therefore analyzed for NO3 − (and nitrite [NO2 −]) concentration using high-performance liquid chromatography. The NO3 − and NO2 − content (i.e., amount per serving) was then calculated based on either (a) the manufacturer’s recommended serving size (for prepackaged/single dose products) or (b) as used in previous studies, a volume of 500 ml (for BRJ sold in bulk containers). There was moderate-to-large variability in NO3 − content between samples of the same product, with a mean coefficient of variation of 30% ± 26% (range 2–83%). There was even greater variability between products, with a ∼50-fold range in NO3 − content between the lowest and highest. Only five products consistently provided ≥5 mmol of NO3 −/serving, which seems to be the minimal dose required to enhance exercise performance in most individuals. NO2 − contents were generally low (i.e., ≤0.5% compared with NO3 −), although two products contained 10% and 14%. The results of this study may be useful to athletes and their support staff contemplating which (if any) BRJ product to utilize. These data may also offer insight into variability in the literature with respect to the effects of BRJ on exercise performance.