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Kiara Lewis, Claire Fraser, and Martin Manby

Background:

The specific circumstances and contexts that may affect overweight and obese children’s participation in physical activity have thus far been given little attention. The qualitative study discussed in this paper explores the experiences of overweight and obese children and young people who have successfully increased their activity levels.

Methods:

The study sample was recruited from a community health and fitness scheme for children aged 5 to 16, with a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above the 91st centile. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 58 children and young people. Data were analyzed using template analysis.

Results:

The children increased their feelings of capability to undertake physical activity, both while on the scheme and in other physical activity settings. They valued the range of ‘noncompetitive’ activities available and the nonthreatening atmosphere created. The ‘emotional’ support offered by the instructors was perceived as being integral to their enjoyment and continued participation.

Conclusions:

Physical activity providers need to be able to generate opportunities which allow children of any weight status to participate without fear of stigmatization or bullying. The findings of the current study suggest that to be effective what we should be focusing on is improving the physical activity experience from the child’s perspective.

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Susanna Kola-Palmer, Samantha Buckley, Gabrielle Kingston, Jonathan Stephen, Alison Rodriguez, Nicole Sherretts, and Kiara Lewis

Player welfare is an important development in supporting elite athletes during their professional careers. Little is known about how player engagement with player welfare provision impact on mental health. Over two consecutive years, professional rugby football league (RFL) players were invited to complete an anonymous online survey assessing psychological stress, athletic identity, and attitudes to player welfare provision. Findings indicate that nearly half of respondents experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression. Multivariate analyses suggest that higher psychological stress and athletic identity and less knowledge and less positive attitudes to RFL mental health support is associated with worse mental health, whereas older age is associated with better mental health. The study has identified some key variables to focus on in developing player care and support management, and also suggest directions for future research guiding player welfare support, especially regarding increasing positive attitudes to mental health supports.

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Karen A. Smith, Robert J. Naughton, Carl Langan-Evans, and Kiara Lewis

This mixed methods study aimed to investigate weight cutting practices of female taekwon-do athletes internationally and explore their experiences of “making weight.” A survey of weight loss practices and eating behaviors was completed by 103 taekwon-do athletes from 12 countries, which illustrated that 72.5% of athletes engage in both acute and chronic weight loss practices prior to competition and that there were higher levels of disordered eating within this athletic population than nonweight cutting athletes. Semistructured interviews were conducted with five international-level competitors; thematic analysis of the interviews identified that the women in general felt weight cutting was “horrible—but worth it” and the women believed that (a) weight cutting is unpleasant, difficult, and challenging; and (b) weight cutting provides a competitive advantage. The implications of this study are that weight cutting is widespread among high-level competitive female taekwon-do athletes and this is unlikely to change given the perceived advantages. Efforts are needed to make sure that the women are knowledgeable of the risks and are provided with safe and effective means of making weight.