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Michael B. Edwards and George Cunningham

Background:

Racial health disparities are more pronounced among older adults. Few studies have examined how racism influences health behaviors. This study’s purpose was to examine how opportunities for physical activity (PA) and community racism are associated with older racial minorities’ reported engagement in PA. We also investigated how PA levels influenced health.

Methods:

We analyzed survey data obtained from a health assessment conducted in 3360 households in Texas, USA, which included items pertaining to PA, community characteristics, and health.

Results:

Our sample contained 195 women and 85 men (mean age 70.16), most of whom were African American. We found no direct relationship between opportunities and PA. Results suggested that perceived community racism moderated this association. When community racism was low, respondents found ways to be active whether they perceived opportunities or not. When community racism was high, perceived lack of opportunities significantly impeded PA engagement. We found the expected association between PA and health.

Conclusions:

Results suggested that negative effects of community racism were counteracted through increased opportunities for PA.

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Michael B. Edwards, Michael A. Kanters, and Jason N. Bocarro

Background:

This study’s purpose was to assess the opportunities for North Carolina adolescents to be physically active in extracurricular middle school environments and to compare opportunities across community types.

Methods:

Data were analyzed based on the results of an electronic questionnaire distributed to a sample of 431 schools with a response rate of 75.4% (N = 325).

Results:

Nearly all schools offered interscholastic sports while fewer than half offered intramurals or noncompetitive activities to students. “Open gym” was offered at only 35% of schools, while 24% of schools offered extracurricular activities to students with disabilities. Overall, 43.4% of schools offered special transportation to students who participated in some extracurricular physical activities. Schools in rural areas generally offered fewer programs and had fewer supports than schools located in more urbanized areas. Over two-thirds of rural schools offered no extracurricular programs other than interscholastic sports.

Conclusions:

Schools can be important settings for physical activity. North Carolina’s middle schools and its rural schools in particular, are falling short in efforts to provide extracurricular physical activity programming recommended by researchers and policy groups.1−6 Lower accessibility to extracurricular physical activities may partially contribute to higher levels of physical inactivity found in the state.

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Stephanie B. Jilcott Pitts, Michael B. Edwards, Justin B. Moore, Kindal A. Shores, Katrina Drowatzky DuBose, and David McGranahan

Background:

Little is known about the associations between natural amenities, recreation facility density, and obesity, at a national level. Therefore, the purpose of this paper was to examine associations between county-level natural amenities, density of recreation facilities, and obesity prevalence among United States counties.

Methods:

Data were obtained from a compilation of sources within the United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service Food Environment Atlas. Independent variables of interest were the natural amenities scale and recreation facilities per capita. The dependent variable was county-level obesity prevalence. Potential covariates included a measure of county-level percent Black residents, percent Hispanic residents, median age, and median household income. All models were stratified by population loss, persistent poverty, and metro status. Multilevel linear regression models were used to examine the association between obesity and natural amenities and recreation facilities, with “state” as a random effects second level variable.

Results:

There were statistically significant negative associations between percent obesity and 1) natural amenities and 2) recreation facilities per capita.

Conclusions:

Future research should examine environmental and policy changes to increase recreation facilities and enhance accessible natural amenities to decrease obesity rates.