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Rebecca F. Wiener, Sabrina L. Thurman and Daniela Corbetta

We used eye tracking to investigate where infants and adults directed their gaze on a scene right before reaching. Infants aged 5, 7, 9, and 11 months old and adults looked at a human hand holding an object out of reach for 5 s, then the hand moved the object toward the participant for reaching. We analyzed which part of the scene (the object, the hand, or elsewhere) infants and adults attended the most during those 5 s before reaching. Findings revealed that adults’ visual fixations were majorly focused on the object to reach. Young infants’ looking patterns were more widely distributed between the hand holding the object, the object, and other nonrelevant areas on the scene. Despite distributed looking on the scene, infants increased their amount of time looking at the object between 5 and 11 months. Nine- and 11-month-olds showed overall accumulated looking durations comparable to adults’ for most of the objects; however, 9-month-olds differed in their rate of gaze transition between scene areas. From the age of 5 months old, infants are able to sustain their gaze to the pertinent scene area when the scene contains a central object on which they will later be able to act.

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Joanne Butt, Robert S. Weinberg, Jeff D. Breckon and Randal P. Claytor

Background:

Physical activity (PA) declines as adolescents get older, and the motivational determinants of PA warrant further investigation. The purposes of this study were to investigate the amount of physical and sedentary activity that adolescents participated in across age, gender, and race, and to investigate adolescents’ attraction to PA and their perceived barriers and benefits across age, gender, and race.

Methods:

High school students (N = 1163) aged between 13 and 16 years completed questionnaires on minutes and intensity of physical and sedentary activity, interests in physical activity, and perceived benefits and barriers to participating in PA.

Results:

A series of multivariate analyses of variance were conducted and followed up with discriminant function analysis. PA participation decreased in older females. In addition, fun of physical exertion was a primary attraction to PA for males more than females. Body image as an expected outcome of participating in PA contributed most to gender differences.

Conclusion:

There is a need to determine why PA drops-off as females get older. Findings underscore the importance of structuring activities differently to sustain interest in male and female adolescents, and highlights motives of having a healthy body image, and making PA fun to enhance participation.

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Kate Heelan, H. Jason Combs, Bryce M. Abbey, Paul Burger and Todd Bartee

Background:

The decline in active commuting to and from school in the United States is, in part, due to urban design standards and public policies that promote automobile travel and discourage pedestrian activity.

Purpose:

The current investigation examines active commuting at neighborhood schools and how it is altered by distance to school, student age and its potential impact on Body Mass Index.

Methods:

Demographic and transportation datasets were obtained for 5367 elementary students (K−5th grade) and middle school students (6th−8th grade) in 2 Midwestern communities.

Results:

4379 (81.6%) students were successfully geocoded and 21.9% actively commute to school at least half of the time meeting the Healthy People 2010 objective 22−14. Of those students who could potentially actively commute to school (0.5 mile for grades K−5 and 1 mile for grades 6−8) 36.6% are passive commuters. No significant negative associations were found between BMI z-score or BMI percentile with accumulation of activity through active commuting (frequency × distance) for elementary (r = −0.04, P = .27) or middle school students (r = .027, P = .56).

Conclusion:

Many elementary students living within 0.3−0.4 miles are being driven to school. Promoting pedestrian-friendly communities and making healthy and sustainable transportation choices should be priorities for community leaders and school administrators.

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Anthony Barnett, Ester Cerin and Tom Baranowski

Background:

A population level increase in physical activity (PA) is critical to reduce obesity in youth. Video games are highly popular and active video games (AVGs) have the potential to play a role in promoting youth PA.

Method:

Studies on AVG play energy expenditure (EE) and maintenance of play in youth were systematically identified in the published literature and assessed for quality and informational value.

Results:

Nine studies measuring AVG play EE were identified. The meta-analytic estimates of average METs across these studies were 3.1 (95% CI: 2.6, 3.6) to 3.2 (95% CI: 2.7, 3.7). No games elicited an average EE above the 6 MET threshold for vigorous EE. Observed differences between studies were likely due to the different types of games used, rather than age or gender. Four studies related to maintenance of play were identified. Most studies reported AV G use declined over time. Studies were of low-to-medium quality.

Conclusion:

AVGs are capable of generating EE in youth to attain PA guidelines. Few studies have assessed sustainability of AV G play, which appears to diminish after a short period of time for most players. Better-quality future research must address how AV G play could be maintained over longer periods of time.

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Ryan D. Burns, Timothy A. Brusseau and James C. Hannon

Background:

Optimal levels of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) have been shown to improve health and academic outcomes in youth. Limited research has examined MVPA trajectories throughout a daily middle school physical education (PE) curriculum. The purpose of this study was to examine MVPA trajectories over a daily PE curriculum and the modifying effects of sex, body composition, and cardiorespiratory endurance.

Methods:

One hundred 7th- and 8th-grade students participated in daily PE lessons. There were 66 lessons throughout the semester. MVPA was monitored during each lesson using NL-1000 piezoelectric pedometers. Students were classified into FITNESSGRAM Healthy Fitness Zones using estimated VO2 Max and Body Mass Index (BMI). A population averaged generalized estimating equation was employed to examine MVPA trajectories.

Results:

On average, students’ MVPA decreased over time (β = –0.35, P < .001). Poor student VO2max classification significantly modified the trajectories (β = –0.14, P < .001), however poor BMI classification did not have a modifying effect (β = 0.03, P = .158).

Conclusions:

MVPA decreased in daily PE over time and cardiorespiratory endurance significantly modified the trajectories. The results support that extra efforts have to be made by teachers and students to sustain MVPA behaviors over a semester.

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Daniel S. Kirschenbaum and Robert J. Smith

In this study, experimenters (pseudo-coaches) provided feedback that varied in valence, sequence, and amount to 50 male college students. A laboratory analogue paradigm was used that included a basketball-like underhand free throw task in which subjects first were instructed on proper technique and then took 10 baseline shots (trials) followed by 2 blocks of 20 trials each. Subjects were randomly assigned. Some interacted with a pseudo-coach who made no comments during the two experimental trial blocks (control), while others received feedback (6-8 comments per trial block) that was response-specific, emotionally oriented, and provided in one of four sequences: positive-positive, negative-negative, positive-negative, or negative-positive. Based on prior research on coach behavior and social psychological studies of interpersonal behavior, we hypothesized that both of the continuous feedback groups would show performance decrements and associated reactions to the coach and the task. These predictions were supported regarding performance and, to some extent, regarding a measure of sustained self-observation. Discussion includes interpretation of the nominally superior performance of the control group, the nonsignificant results on the subjective evaluation measures, and implications of these findings in view of external validity criteria and prior analyses in the emerging behavioral technology of coaching.

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Marj Moodie, Michelle M. Haby, Boyd Swinburn and Robert Carter

Background:

To assess from a societal perspective the cost-effectiveness of a school program to increase active transport in 10- to 11-year-old Australian children as an obesity prevention measure.

Methods:

The TravelSMART Schools Curriculum program was modeled nationally for 2001 in terms of its impact on Body Mass Index (BMI) and Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) measured against current practice. Cost offsets and DALY benefits were modeled until the eligible cohort reached age 100 or died. The intervention was qualitatively assessed against second stage filter criteria (‘equity,’ ‘strength of evidence,’ ‘acceptability to stakeholders,’ ‘feasibility of implementation,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘side-effects’) given their potential impact on funding decisions.

Results:

The modeled intervention reached 267,700 children and cost $AUD13.3M (95% uncertainty interval [UI] $6.9M; $22.8M) per year. It resulted in an incremental saving of 890 (95%UI −540; 2,900) BMI units, which translated to 95 (95% UI −40; 230) DALYs and a net cost per DALY saved of $AUD117,000 (95% UI dominated; $1.06M).

Conclusions:

The intervention was not cost-effective as an obesity prevention measure under base-run modeling assumptions. The attribution of some costs to nonobesity objectives would be justified given the program’s multiple benefits. Cost-effectiveness would be further improved by considering the wider school community impacts.

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Cindy Lentino, Amanda J. Visek, Karen McDonnell and Loretta DiPietro

Background:

An innovative strategy for helping people achieve recommended levels of daily physical activity is dog walking. We assessed differences in physical activity and risk indicators between dog owners who 1) walk their dog (n = 399) and 2) do not walk their dog (n = 137) and compared them with adults who do not own dogs (n = 380).

Methods:

Participants (39 ± 13 years) were recruited online and completed an electronic questionnaire. Healthy People 2010 risk indicators included physical activity, overweight status, tobacco use, nutrition behaviors, chronic conditions, depressive symptoms, and social support.

Results:

Compared with dog walkers, those who did not own or walk their dog reported less physical activity (MET-min·week−1) and a higher body mass index (P < .01). Moreover, after adjusting for age and moderate to high physical activity, those who did not own dogs had significantly greater odds of self-reported diabetes [OR = 2.53; 95%CI (1.17−5.48)], hypertension [OR = 1.71; 95%CI (1.03−2.83)], hypercholesterolemia [OR = 1.72; 95%CI (1.06−2.81)], and depression [OR = 1.49; 95%CI (1.09−2.05)] compared with participants who regularly walked their dogs.

Conclusions:

Because of the health benefits associated with dog walking, this activity should be encouraged within communities as a method of promoting and sustaining a healthy lifestyle.

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Viviene Temple, Ryan Rhodes and Joan Wharf Higgins

Background:

Walking has been identified as a low resourced yet effective means of achieving physical activity levels required for optimal health. From studies conducted around the world, we know that dog owners walk more than nondog owners. However, this evidence is largely self-reported which may not accurately reflect dog-owners’ behaviors.

Method:

To address this concern, we systematically observed the use of 6 different public parks in Victoria, British Columbia during fair and inclement weather. Using a modified version of the SOPARC tool, we documented visitors’ types of physical activity, and the presence or absence of dogs. The Physical Activity Resource Assessment was used to consider park features, amenities, and incivilities.

Results:

More people without dogs (73%) visited the parks than those with dogs (27%), largely because of attendance at the multiuse sport parks during the summer months. Despite the opportunities to engage in multiple sports, most people used the parks to walk. However, when inclement weather struck, dog owners continued visiting parks and sustained their walking practices significantly more than nondog owners.

Conclusion:

Our observational snapshot of park use supports earlier work that dogs serve as a motivational support for their owners’ walking practices through fair and foul weather.

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Cheryl B. Anderson

One’s athletic identity, developed and maintained by others as well as the self, is likely important in sustaining long-term physical activity over many years. The 21-item Athletic Identity Questionnaire (AIQ) is presented as a multidimensional measure of the components of athletic identity that reflects an attribute all people possess to varying degrees and encompasses exercise, sports, and physical activity. Confirmatory factor analyses in two samples of young adults (n = 446 and 485) supported a first-order model of four correlated factors: athletic appearance; importance of exercise/ sports/ physical activity; competence; and encouragement from others. A latent factor of physical activity with two indicators—stage of exercise behavior and exercise frequency per week—correlated significantly with the four athletic identity factors in both samples (r = 0.57–0.89 in Sample 1, r = 0.56–0.90 in Sample 2), and this 5-factor measurement model also represented an adequate fit. Results provide support for the reliability and validity of the AIQ.