As we pass the 30th anniversary of a recognized sociology of sport in North America, it is appropriate to develop a current sociological analysis of the subdiscipline. In the first part we examine the origins of the field and the development of the Wisconsin socialization paradigm and the social problems perspective. In the second part we explore the critical shift in the field, emerging from an engagement with C. Wright Mills, and the development of a political economy perspective. In the third part we review the turn to Antonio Gramsci and cultural studies, focusing particularly on the themes of gender and the body. We conclude by considering whether, given the current eclecticism, sociology of sport is still a legitimate description of our field.
Alan G. Ingham and Peter Donnelly
Alan G. Ingham and Peter Donnelly
This essay was prompted by and is a response to Yiannakis’ (1989) article in which he called for a more applied orientation on the part of sociologists of sport. In our response, we argue that Yiannakis’ position is flawed because he fails to explore the oftentimes political overdetermination of academic process and the links between the marketplace of physical culture and the prestige hierarchies that exist within the university—How do the two connect? We present a practical alternative to Yiannakis’ programmatic call for an applied sociology of sport.
Jim Faught, Alan M. Klein and Peter Donnelly
Alan Nevill, Paul Donnelly, Simon Shibli, Charlie Foster and Marie Murphy
The association between health and deprivation is of serious concern to many health promotion agencies. The purpose of the current study was to assess whether modifiable behaviors of physical activity (PA), sports participation, diet, smoking and body mass index (BMI) can help to explain these inequalities in a sample of 4653 respondents from Northern Ireland.
The study is based on a cross-sectional survey of Northern Irish adults. Responses to a self-rated health question were dichotomized and binary logistic regression was used to identify the health inequalities between areas of high, middle or low deprivation. These differences were further adjusted for other sociodemographic factors and subsequently for various modifiable behaviors of PA, sports participation, diet, smoking, and BMI.
Respondents from high and middle areas of deprivation are more likely to report poorer health. As soon as sociodemographic factors and other modifiable behaviors were included, these inequalities either disappeared or were greatly reduced.
Many inequalities in health in NI can be explained by the respondents’ sociodemographic characteristics that can be further explained by introducing information about respondents who meet the recommended PA guidelines, play sport, eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables, and maintain an optimal BMI.
Deirdre M. Harrington, Kieran P. Dowd, Catrine Tudor-Locke and Alan E. Donnelly
The number of steps/minute (i.e., cadence) that equates to moderate intensity in adolescents is not known. To that end, 31 adolescent females walked on a treadmill at 5 different speeds while wearing an ActivPAL accelerometer and oxygen uptake was recorded by indirect calorimetry. The relationship between metabolic equivalents (METs) and cadence was explored using 3 different analytical approaches. Cadence was a significant predictor of METs (r=.70; p<.001). Moderate intensity (3 METs) corresponded to 94 or 114 steps/minute based on the mixed model and ROC analysis, respectively. These two values, and a practical value of 100 steps/minute, were cross-validated on an independent sample of 33 adolescent females during over-ground walking at 3 speeds. The sensitivity and specificity of each value correctly identifying 3 METs were 98.5% and 87.2% for 94 steps/minute, 72.9% and 98.8 for 114 steps/minute and 96.5% and 95.7% for 100 steps/minute. Compromising on a single cadence of 100 steps/minute would be a practical value that approximates moderate intensity in adolescent females and can be used for physical activity interpretation and promotion.
Brendan T. O’ Keeffe, Ciaran MacDonncha, Kwok Ng and Alan E. Donnelly
Purpose: To examine the prevalence of and approaches to monitoring health-related physical fitness (HRPF) in secondary school-based physical education programs. Methods: Physical education teachers (N = 327; 56.6% females) from 235 secondary schools (33.1% of national total) in the Republic of Ireland completed a survey designed specifically for the purposes of this study. Results: HRPF tests were used by 95.3% of teachers. A significant decline in the testing frequency was observed from the junior grades (age 13–15 years) to the senior grades (age 16–18 years) (p < .001). Just over half (51.7%) of the teachers discarded the test results after a single use. Less than one third of the teachers indicated that they shared the test results with the students’ parents. The vast majority (87.0%) of the teachers agreed that the development of a digital platform would facilitate monitoring test results over time. Conclusions: HRPF testing is highly prevalent in secondary schools. More actions are needed to ensure that teachers use pedagogically sound student-centered approaches toward monitoring HRPF, with a focus on learning that may lead to more positive testing experiences for students. Consideration should be given to the development of digital platforms to facilitate monitoring and reporting HRPF.
Kieran P. Dowd, Helen Purtill, Deirdre. M. Harrington, Jane F. Hislop, John J. Reilly and Alan E. Donnelly
This study aims to determine the minimum number of days of monitoring required to reliably predict sitting/lying time, standing time, light intensity physical activity (LIPA), moderate-to-vigorous intensity physical activity (MVPA) and steps in adolescent females.
195 adolescent females (mean age = 15.7 years; SD = 0.9) participated in the study. Participants wore the activPAL activity monitor for a seven day protocol. The amount of time spent sitting/lying, standing, in LIPA and in MVPA and the number of steps per day were quantified. Spearman-Brown Prophecy formulae were used to predict the number of days of data required to achieve an intraclass correlation coefficient of both 0.7 and 0.8.
For the percentage of the waking day spent sitting/lying, standing, in LIPA and in MVPA, a minimum of 9 days of accelerometer recording is required to achieve a reliability of ≥ 0.7, while a minimum of 15 days is required to achieve a reliability of ≥ 0.8. For steps, a minimum of 12 days of recording is required to achieve a reliability of ≥ 0.7, with 21 days to achieve a reliability of ≥ 0.8.
Future research in adolescent females should collect a minimum of 9 days of accelerometer data to reliably estimate sitting/lying time, standing time, LIPA and MVPA, while 12 days is required to reliably estimate steps.
Kieran Dowd, Deidre Harrington, Ailish Hannigan, Helen Purtill, Sarah M. Kelly, Alan P. Macken, Niall Moyna, Clodagh S. O’Gorman and Alan E. Donnelly
This study aims to (1) use the objective activPAL activity monitor to assess physical activity behaviors, including sitting/lying, standing, and both light (LIPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA); (2) to develop distinct activity profiles based on time spent in each behavior in a sample of adolescent females; and (3) examine whether levels of adiposity differ across these activity profiles.
Female adolescents (n = 195; 14–18 y) had body mass index (median = 21.7 [IQR = 5.2] kg/m2) and 4-site skinfold thickness (median 62.0 mm; IQR = 37.1) measured. Physical activity behaviors were measured using the activPAL. Hierarchical cluster analysis grouped participants into activity profiles based on similar physical activity characteristics. Linear mixed models explored differences in body composition across activity profiles.
Three activity profiles were identified, a low (n = 35), moderate (n = 110), and a high activity profile (n = 50). Significant differences across activity profiles were observed for skinfold thickness (p = .046), with higher values observed in the low activity profile compared with the high activity profile.
Profiling free-living activity using behaviors from across the activity intensity continuum may account for more of the variability in energy expenditure then examining specific activity intensities, such as MVPA alone. The use of activity profiles may enable the identification of individuals with unhealthy activity behaviors, leading to the development and implementation of more targeted interventions.
Deirdre M. Harrington, Sarahjane Belton, Tara Coppinger, Muireann Cullen, Alan Donnelly, Kieran Dowd, Teresa Keating, Richard Layte, Marie Murphy, Niamh Murphy, Elaine Murtagh and Catherine Woods
Physical activity (PA) levels are a key performance indicator for policy documents in Ireland. The first Ireland Report Card on Physical Activity in Children and Youth aims to set a robust baseline for future surveillance of indicators related to PA in children and youth.
Data collected between 2003−2010 on more than 35,000 7- to 18-year-old children and youth were used and graded using a standardized grading system for 10 indicators.
Grades assigned for the indicators were as follows: overall physical activity levels, D-; sedentary behavior (TV viewing), C-; organized sport participation, C-: physical education, D-; active play, inconclusive (INC); active transportation, D; school, C-, community and the built environment, B; family, INC; and government, INC.
PA recommendations exist in Ireland but this Report Card has shown that participation is still low. A number of promising policies, programs and services are in place but these require thorough evaluation and adequate resourcing. Agreement and implementation of a common framework for the systematic surveillance of indictors related to PA of children and youth is necessary to monitor change over time and ensure the impact of promising work is captured.
Deirdre M. Harrington, Marie Murphy, Angela Carlin, Tara Coppinger, Alan Donnelly, Kieran P. Dowd, Teresa Keating, Niamh Murphy, Elaine Murtagh, Wesley O’Brien, Catherine Woods and Sarahjane Belton
Physical activity (PA) is a key performance indicator for policy documents in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Building on baseline grades set in 2014, Ireland’s second Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth allows for continued surveillance of indicators related to PA in children and youth.
Data and information were extracted and collated for 10 indicators and graded using an international standardized grading system.
Overall, 7 grades stayed the same, 2 increased, and 1 decreased. Grades were assigned as follows: Overall PA, D (an increase); Sedentary Behavior (TV), C-; Physical Education, D-; Active Play, Incomplete/Inconclusive (INC); Active Transportation, D; School, D (a decrease); Home (Family), INC; Community and the Built Environment, B+ (an increase); and Government, INC. Unlike 2014’s report card, different grades for the Republic (C-) and Northern Ireland (C+) were assigned for Organized Sport Participation.
Although the grade for Overall PA levels increased to a D, this may reflect the increased quality and quantity of data available. The double burden of low PA and high sedentary levels are concerning and underscore the need for advocacy toward, and surveillance of, progress in achieving targets set by the new National Physical Activity Plan in the Republic and obesity and sport plans in the North.