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Barbara A. Brown and B. Gail Frankel

This study examines participation in leisure physical activity, leisure satisfaction, and life satisfaction from a life course perspective, using self-report data from a stratified random sample of adults living in a midsized Canadian city. Findings indicate that physical activity is most strongly associated with leisure satisfaction in the younger age groups, whereas no consistent age pattern is observed in the relationship between physical activity and life satisfaction. Regression analyses that are controlled for income, education, and age indicate major gender differences in the impact of participation in leisure physical activity on life satisfaction, with participation being more important for females. Path analysis indicates that leisure satisfaction contributes both directly and indirectly to life satisfaction. The findings provide evidence for age variation in sources of life satisfaction apart from leisure, and for important gender differences in the role of physical activity.

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Elizabeth C.J. Pike

The proposal that older people should engage in “active aging” has come to dominate local, national, and international policy agendas. This encompasses a variety of ways that older persons might maintain active citizenship, but invariably promotes physical activity and exercise as having health and social benefits, despite a lack of conclusive evidence to support such claims. In this paper, I further examine the meaning of these claims through an analysis of policy documents, reports, and media articles which promote the perceived benefits of physical activity in later life. I revisit Cohen’s (2002) concepts of folk devils and moral panics to understand how these messages simultaneously problematize older people while creating a market for emergent moral entrepreneurs who claim to have the solution to the problem they have in part created. I conclude with recommendations for improved understanding of the benefits and appropriate provision for active aging.

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Jennifer E. Carter and Nancy A. Rudd

Sports have received widespread attention for the risk of disordered eating, but prevalence rates among athletes have varied from one to 62 percent across studies (Beals, 2004). One explanation for this discrepancy has been the tendency for previous studies to select “at-risk” sports for examination. The current study extends prior inquiry by expanding the sample to the entire student-athlete group at Ohio State University. Approximately 800 varsity student-athletes at this large Division I university completed the Questionnaire for Eating Disorder Diagnosis (Q-EDD; Mintz, O’Halloran, Mulholland, & Schneider, 1997) in 2001 and 2002, allowing gender and type of sport comparisons. The purposes of the study were to identify at-risk athletes as part of a screening process designed for eating disorder prevention, and to continue to refine the assessment of disordered eating in athletes. Not surprisingly, results showed that subclinical eating problems were more prevalent than clinical eating disorders in athletes, with 19 percent of female athletes and 12 percent of male athletes reporting eating disorder symptoms in year one, and 17 percent of female athletes and nine percent of male athletes in year two. Because the Q-EDD does not fully capture male body image problems, in 2002 questions were added to the Q-EDD that assessed preoccupation with muscularity, and preliminary Endings showed that one percent of male athletes fit a diagnosis of Muscle Dysmorphia. For both years, athletes from lean sports reported significantly more eating disorder symptoms than did athletes from nonlean sports. Specific policies employed by this university and prevention strategies will be discussed.

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Melanie M. Adams and Diane L. Gill

Even with adequate levels of physical activity, sedentary behavior contributes to cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Reducing sedentary behavior through increased daily movements, not solely exercise, can reduce health risks; particularly for women who are inactive and overweight. This study examined an intervention to increase overweight women’s self-efficacy for reducing sedentary behavior. Volunteers (M age =58.5 yrs, M BMI =36) were waitlisted (n = 24) or enrolled in the intervention (n = 40), called On Our Feet, which combined face-to-face sessions and e-mail messages over 6 weeks. Physical activity and sedentary behavior were measured by accelerometer and self-report. A 4-item survey assessed self-efficacy. Process evaluations included participant ratings of intervention components and open-ended questions. Repeated-measures ANOVAs revealed no changes in accelerometer-determined physical activity or sedentary behavior, but a significant multivariate interaction was found for self-reported sitting and physical activity, F(3,60) = 3.65, p = .02. Intervention participants increased both light and moderate physical activity and both groups decreased sedentary behavior. Self-efficacy decreased for all at midpoint, but intervention recipients rebounded at post. A moderately strong relationship (r = .48, p = .01) between midpoint self-efficacy and reduced sedentary behavior was found. Participants rated the pedometer, intervention emails, and goal setting as effective and highly used. Open-ended responses pointed to barriers of required sitting and a need to match intervention components to women’s lives. Community-based interventions for reducing sedentary behavior have the potential to improve health. Ideas to enhance future interventions are discussed.

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Anita Wyznikiewicz-Nawracala

The reasons for reported low sport activity of Polish women usually have been explained by too many responsibilities at work outside the home and at home. Yet, with the introduction of aerobics into Poland women apparently have had to overcome these hindrances. Other factors are assumed to be decisive reasons for physically active women in their mature years rather than the reasons which, up to now, were accepted as facts.

The purpose of this study was to identify the factors differentiating women who are active in sport and women who are not interested in sport but take care of their body spending holidays at spas.

The investigation was based on an interview, including a questionnaire to evaluate opinions on health and feelings. The questionnaire consisted of the following areas: personal data, occupation, level of education, health problems and sport activities practiced in youth.

There are many factors related to why women are physically active, but the main influence comes from how active they were in their younger years. The financial status and lack of time only make a difference with respect to what kind of sport is practiced; it does not affect whether or not a sport is practiced.

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Cara L. Sidman, Jennifer L. Huberty and Yong Gao

This study has two purposes: (1) to observe the step-count patterns of adult women who participated in an eight-month healthy lifestyle-based book club intervention and (2) to describe step-count patterns across seasons and body mass index (BMI) categories. Sixty-two participants (mean age ± SD = 53 ± 9, 92% Caucasians) had complete pedometer data, which was used for data analysis. After weekly, hour-long, discussion-based meetings during months one through four, and bi-monthly meetings during months five through eight, women increased their step counts by 26%. Significant step-count differences were observed among seasons (p < .05), and from pre- to post-intervention (p < .05), with the lowest steps being reported in the fall and the highest in the spring. Women in the obese category continued to increase steps during the winter, while the healthy-weight group decreased steps. There was a significant correlation between the average steps taken during the intervention and changes in BMI from pre- to post-intervention (r = −.26, p < .05). Overall, positive step-count pattern observations were found among adult women participating in a healthy lifestyle-based intervention.

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Katherine M. Jamieson, Kaori Araki, Yong Chul Chung, Sun Yong Kwon, Lisa Riggioni and Victoria Acosta Musalem

Recently, a significant growth in immigrant populations has influenced the social, cultural, and political landscape of many local communities. Understanding such changes in U.S. and local demography are central to effective efforts toward reducing physical inactivity, and associated health risks and diseases. In part to document the ways that physical activity currently fits into particular women’s lives, and as critique of the essentialized notions of immigrant communities as deficient in their health standards, we set out to investigate just how physically active Latinas in local communities were. The research was guided by the following two questions: 1) What are the social conditions under which adolescent Latinas make choices about physical activity? 2) To what extent are adolescent Latinas involved in physical activity? Centering on these two questions we administered questionnaires that measured current physical activity involvement, and individual and family background factors. Survey data indicate that Latina physical activity scores increase when home and work related physical activity is included in a self-report measure.

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James E. Curtis and Barry D. McPherson

This paper presents the results of a multivariate analysis of the relationship between region and the extent of participation in sport and physical activities, employing data from a large (N=20,000+) survey of a national sample of Canadian adults. The region-activity relationship is one that has been suggested also by some U.S. studies; that is, the farther west the respondent’s place of residence, the more likely he or she is to report high rates of physical activity. For the U.S. results, a convenient and common interpretation has been that the more favorable climate for outdoor activities in the westerly states leads to higher activity. This interpretation is not adequate for the Canadian findings, however, because of the harsher winter climate in the western provinces. Therefore, we explore some alternative theoretical interpretations of the Canadian results. These involve the effects of regional differences in three types of factors: sociodemographic composition, socioeconomic profiles, and opportunity structures. Because these factors are shown in our analyses to have only small effects upon the region-activity relationship, we also include some proposals for still further avenues of analysis and interpretation of the regional differences.

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Nancy C. Rich

There are an abundant number of published studies in which the authors state that post-pubertal men are stronger, faster and more powerful and therefore more proficient than women in many motor skills. The topics of strength and neuromuscular response time are phenomena that have been used in the past as bases for the rationalization that women do not have the physical characteristics that are essential requirements for front-line work as soldiers, firepersons, police officers and construction workers, and also that they are not as proficient as men in other occupations. This paper is a review of physiological and performance data that have contributed to our knowledge base in the areas of strength and neuromuscular response times of women. In addition, data regarding the deterioration of these parameters that occur with aging and the potential determent of this deterioration as a consequence of a lifetime of activity will be considered. Finally, a suggestion will be made that female and male data should be analyzed and reported in ways that eliminate genetic characteristics which bias the data.

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Daheia J. Barr-Anderson, Katherine W. Bauer, Peter J. Hannan, Mary Story and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer

Little is known about adolescent girls’ accuracy of perception of physical activity (PA) opportunities in their neighborhood. Furthermore, few studies have explored whether proximity to PA opportunities is associated with girls’ recent use. Participants included 356 high school girls enrolled in New Moves, a school-based physical activity intervention. Objective proximity to neighborhood PA opportunities was assessed using Geographic Information System (GIS) software. Girls self-reported their perceived proximity to resources and recent use of these opportunities. Girls’ perceived proximity of distance to a park, walking/biking trail, and recreational center was associated with recent use of these resources (P = .02, P < .001, P < .001, respectively), whereas associations were not found with objective measures of distance. Both perceived and objective proximity were associated with recent use of a private fitness facility (P = .006 and P = .002, respectively). Perceived proximity to neighborhood PA opportunities is associated with use of those resources among adolescent girls. Increasing awareness of neighborhood opportunities could be a viable method to increasing PA.