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Sarah J. Parker, Scott J. Strath and Ann M. Swartz

This study examined the relationship between physical activity (PA) and mental health among older adults as measured by objective and subjective PA-assessment instruments. Pedometers (PED), accelerometers (ACC), and the Physical Activity Scale for the Elderly (PASE) were administered to measure 1 week of PA among 84 adults age 55–87 (mean = 71) years. General mental health was measured using the Positive and Negative Affect Scale (PANAS) and the Satisfaction With Life Scale (SWL). Linear regressions revealed that PA estimated by PED significantly predicted 18.1%, 8.3%, and 12.3% of variance in SWL and positive and negative affect, respectively, whereas PA estimated by the PASE did not predict any mental health variables. Results from ACC data were mixed. Hotelling–William tests between correlation coefficients revealed that the relationship between PED and SWL was significantly stronger than the relationship between PASE and SWL. Relationships between PA and mental health might depend on the PA measure used.

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Ann Swartz, Scott Strath, Sarah Parker, Nora Miller and Linda Cieslik

Background:

The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which physical activity (PA) is related to obesity in older adults when accounting for race/ethnicity.

Methods:

Cross-sectional data were collected on 214 older adults (72.3 ± 8.9 y; body mass index [BMI] 28.9 ± 6.0; 151 females; 96 non-White). Measures of body height and mass were collected; BMI was calculated. PA was assessed via an electronic pedometer worn for seven consecutive days.

Results:

“White” subjects accumulated 5036 ± 286 steps/d. “Non-White” subjects accumulated significantly fewer steps/d (3671 ± 253 steps/d; z = −3.45, P = 0.001). Race/ethnicity, income, age, gender, and steps/d accounted for 27.4% (P < 0.001) of the variance in BMI, with steps/d accounting for 21.2% (P < 0.001). The most influential factor in this model was PA level (β = −0.510), followed by age (β = −0.220), and finally gender being the least influential, but still a significant factor (β = 0.168).

Conclusion:

Although race/ethnicity and income have been associated with obesity levels, this study shows that older adults who accumulate more ambulatory activity tend to have healthier levels of BMI irrespective of race/ethnicity or income.

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Scott Strath, Ann Swartz, Sarah Parker, Nora Miller and Linda Cieslik

Background:

Little data exists describing the impact that walking has on metabolic syndrome (MetS) in a multicultural sample of older adults.

Methods:

Walking was measured via pedometer in 150 older adults from four different ethnic categories. Steps per day were classified as low (<3,100 steps/d) or high (≥3,100 steps/d) for statistical analyses.

Results:

Occurrence of MetS was lower in the white (33%) versus non-white population (50%). Low steps/d were related to an increase in MetS for both white (OR = 96.8, 95% CI 12.3-764.6) and non-white individuals (OR = 4.5, 95% CI 1.8-11.3). Low steps/d also increased the odds for selected components of MetS in both the white and non-white groups.

Conclusion:

Low levels of walking increase the likelihood of having MetS in both white and non-white older adults. Efforts to increase walking in older adults may decrease the likelihood of developing this clustering of disease risk factors.

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Ann M. Swartz, Scott J. Strath, Sarah J. Parker and Nora E. Miller

The purpose of this study was to investigate the combined impact of obesity and physical activity (PA) on the health of older adults. Pedometer-determined steps/d, body-mass index (BMI), resting blood pressure, and fasting glucose (FG) were assessed in 137 older adults (69.0 ± 8.9 yr). The active group (>4,227 steps/d) had lower systolic blood pressure (SBP; p = .001), diastolic blood pressure (DBP; p = .028), and FG (p < .001) than the inactive group (≤4,227 steps/d). The normal-BMI group (18.5-24.9 kg/m2) had lower SBP (p < .001) and DBP (p = .01) than the obese group (≤30 kg/m2). There were no differences in SBP (p = .963) or DBP (p = 1.0) between active obese and inactive normal-BMI groups. The active obese group, however, had a more favorable FG than the inactive normal-BMI group (χ2 = 18.9, df = 3, p = .001). Efforts to increase PA of older adults should receive the same priority as reducing obesity to improve BP and FG levels.

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Krisha Parker, Daniel Czech, Trey Burdette, Jonathan Stewart, David Biber, Lauren Easton, Caitlyn Pecinovsky, Sarah Carson and Tyler McDaniel

With over 50 million youth athletes participating in some kind of sports in the United States alone, it is important to realize the impact and benefits of playing (Weinberg and Gould, 2011). Physically, sports can help youth improve strength, endurance, weight control, and bone structure (Seefeldt, Ewing & Walk, 1992). Sport participation also benefits youths socially (Seefeldt, Ewing & Walk, 1992) and academically (Fraser-Thomas, Côté & Deakin, 2005). Optimal coaching education and training is a necessity if young athletes are to learn and improve in these aforementioned areas. In order for youth to grow from their sport experience, they need guidance from coaches, parents, and other important figures. Recent research by Jones, Jo and Martin (2007) suggests that more recent generations require a new approach to learning. The purpose of the current study was to qualitatively examine the preferred coaching styles of youth soccer players from Generation Z. After interviewing 10 youth athletes (five male, five female), four main themes emerged for Generation Z’s view of a “great coach.” These themes reflected the desire for a coach that: 1) does not yell and remains calm, 2) is caring and encouraging, 3) has knowledge of the sport, and 4) involves the team in decision making. Future research could include implementing a mixed-methodological approach incorporating the Leadership Scale for Sport (Chelladurai, 1984). Another avenue worthy of investigation is the role that technology plays for Generation Z athletes.

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Scott J. Strath, Ann M. Swartz, Sarah J. Parker, Nora E. Miller, Elizabeth K. Grimm and Susan E. Cashin

Background:

Increasing physical activity (PA) levels in older adults represents an important public health challenge. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the feasibility of combining individualized motivational messaging with pedometer walking step targets to increase PA in previously inactive and insufficiently active older adults.

Methods:

In this 12-week intervention study older adults were randomized to 1 of 4 study arms: Group 1—control; Group 2—pedometer 10,000 step goal; Group 3—pedometer step goal plus individualized motivational feedback; or Group 4—everything in Group 3 augmented with biweekly telephone feedback.

Results:

81 participants were randomized into the study, 61 participants completed the study with an average age of 63.8 ± 6.0 years. Group 1 did not differ in accumulated steps/day following the 12-week intervention compared with participants in Group 2. Participants in Groups 3 and 4 took on average 2159 (P < .001) and 2488 (P < .001) more steps/day, respectively, than those in Group 1 after the 12-week intervention.

Conclusion:

In this 12-week pilot randomized control trial, a pedometer feedback intervention partnered with individually matched motivational messaging was an effective intervention strategy to significantly increase PA behavior in previously inactive and insufficiently active older adults.