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Susan G. Zieff, Claudia M. Guedes and Amy Eyler

Background:

Neighborhood environment and resources affect physical activity. This study examined the relationships between San Francisco residents’ perceived barriers to physical activity and policy-maker perspectives of conditions in neighborhoods that are under-served for physical activity.

Methods:

Nine focus groups comprised of primarily African American, Chinese American, and Latino populations were constructed from 6 low-income neighborhoods to respond to questions based on the social-ecological model about neighborhood recreational opportunities and to offer policy and intervention strategies to increase physical activity. A tenth focus group was conducted with staff members from 7 city departments to respond to neighborhood focus groups outcomes. The transcribed videotaped discussions were analyzed using qualitative content analysis.

Results:

Both residents and policy-makers highlighted neighborhood disparities that reduce physical activity including unsafe and unhealthy environments and difficulty accessing available resources. Residents reported fewer available free or low-cost resources than those identified by policy-makers.

Conclusions:

Findings suggest that policy-makers would benefit from consideration of neighborhood-level affects of policies on physical activity and local residents’ recommendations for policies affecting physical activity. Concordance between residents’ perceptions and policy-maker perceptions of neighborhood conditions for physical activity was greater than reported in previous literature.

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Felipe Lobelo, Marsha Dowda, Karin A. Pfeiffer and Russell R. Pate

Background:

Few investigations have assessed in adolescent girls the cross-sectional and longitudinal associations between elevated exposure to electronic media (EM) and activity-related outcomes such as compliance with physical activity (PA) standards or cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF).

Methods:

Four-hundred thirty-seven white and African American girls were assessed at the 8th, 9th, and 12th grades. PA and EM (TV/video watching, electronic games, Internet use) were self-reported, and CRF was estimated using a cycle-ergometer test. Hi EM exposure was defined as ≥four 30-minute blocks/d.

Results:

8th-, 9th-, and 12th-grade girls in the Hi EM group showed lower compliance with PA standards and had lower CRF than the Low EM group (P ≤ .03). Girls reporting Hi EM exposure at 8th and 9th grades had lower vigorous PA and CRF levels at 12th grade than girls reporting less EM exposure (P ≤ .03).

Conclusion:

Girls reporting exposure to EM for 2 or more hours per day are more likely to exhibit and maintain low PA and CRF levels throughout adolescence. These results enhance the scientific basis for current public health recommendations to limit adolescent girls’ daily exposure to television, electronic games, and Internet use to a combined maximum of 2 hours.

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Michael B. Edwards and George Cunningham

Background:

Racial health disparities are more pronounced among older adults. Few studies have examined how racism influences health behaviors. This study’s purpose was to examine how opportunities for physical activity (PA) and community racism are associated with older racial minorities’ reported engagement in PA. We also investigated how PA levels influenced health.

Methods:

We analyzed survey data obtained from a health assessment conducted in 3360 households in Texas, USA, which included items pertaining to PA, community characteristics, and health.

Results:

Our sample contained 195 women and 85 men (mean age 70.16), most of whom were African American. We found no direct relationship between opportunities and PA. Results suggested that perceived community racism moderated this association. When community racism was low, respondents found ways to be active whether they perceived opportunities or not. When community racism was high, perceived lack of opportunities significantly impeded PA engagement. We found the expected association between PA and health.

Conclusions:

Results suggested that negative effects of community racism were counteracted through increased opportunities for PA.

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Michelle C. Kegler, Iris Alcantara, Regine Haardörfer, Alexandra Gemma, Denise Ballard and Julie Gazmararian

Background:

Physical activity levels, including walking, are lower in the southern U.S., particularly in rural areas. This study investigated the concept of rural neighborhood walkability to aid in developing tools for assessing walkability and to identify intervention targets in rural communities.

Methods:

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with physically active adults (n = 29) in rural Georgia. Mean age of participants was 55.9 years; 66% were male, 76% were white, and 24% were African American. Participants drew maps of their neighborhoods and discussed the relevance of typical domains of walkability to their decisions to exercise. Comparative analyses were conducted to identify major themes.

Results:

The majority felt the concept of neighborhood was applicable and viewed their neighborhood as small geographically (less than 0.5 square miles). Sidewalks were not viewed as essential for neighborhood-based physical activity and typical destinations for walking were largely absent. Destinations within walking distance included neighbors’ homes and bodies of water. Views were mixed on whether shade, safety, dogs, and aesthetics affected decisions to exercise in their neighborhoods.

Conclusions:

Measures of neighborhood walkability in rural areas should acknowledge the small size of self-defined neighborhoods, that walking in rural areas is likely for leisure time exercise, and that some domains may not be relevant.

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Marsha Dowda, Ruth P. Saunders, Lauren Hastings, Jennifer M. Gay and Alexandra E. Evans

Purpose:

Our goal was to describe the types of physical activities and sedentary pursuits reported by children living in residential children’s homes and make comparisons by age, gender, and race/ethnic groups.

Methods:

Participants were 263 children (52% male, 40% 11 to 14 years old, 53% White, 23% African American, and 24% other race/ethnic groups) in 23 residential children’s homes in North and South Carolina. The median length of stay in the homes was 6 months. Physical activities and sedentary pursuits were reported over a 3-day period using the 3-Day Physical Activity Recall (3DPAR).

Results:

Boys reported participating in more basketball (P ≤ .001), football (P ≤ .001), and videogames or surfing the net (P ≤ .001) than did girls. Girls reported more cheerleading, social dance, and homework than did boys (P values ≤ .01). There were few race differences. Fewer older children reported participation in physical education classes, and more reported working part-time than younger children (P values ≤ .001).

Conclusions:

Children in residential homes appear to participate in activities that are similar to children living with their parents, with boys reporting more team activities and girls reporting more individual activities. However, children in residential children’s homes may participate in some physical activities for shorter periods of time than children living with their parents.

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Peter Mulhall, Janet Reis and Shahana Begum

Background:

Early adolescence is developmental period when youth begin to shift exercise and physical activity patterns toward increased sedentary living. The major causes and contributing factors to this change are poorly understood. This study examines the relationship between sociodemographic factors, behavioral and family factors that influence physical activity patterns of middle grades students.

Methods:

The 1578 youth ranged in age from 12 (22%) to 13 (78%) and were divided between white (65%), African American (19%), and Hispanic (16%) subpopulations, with 37% overall qualifying for reduced-price or free school lunches. The assumptions for Analysis of Covariance versus Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) were examined, with the final results reported separately for attitudes toward exercise as predictors and sociodemographic variables and measures of family functioning as predictors.

Results:

Positive attitudes were more strongly associated than were negative attitudes with exercise. Of the categorical predictors, student gender and family involvement with fitness had the most statistically significant associations with self reported exercise (6 for gender and 5 for family involvement with fitness).

Conclusions:

The results of this analysis of a diverse and large sample of young adolescents are placed in the context of family leisure and work time in our “hurried” culture.

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Stewart G. Trost, Dianne S. Ward, Ben McGraw and Russell R. Pate

This study evaluated the validity of the Previous Day Physical Activity Recall (PDPAR) self-report instrument in quantifying after-school physical activity behavior in fifth-grade children. Thirty-eight fifth-grade students (mean age, 10.8 ± 0.1; 52.6% female; 26.3% African American) from two urban elementary schools completed the PDPAR after wearing a CSA WAM 7164 accelerometer for a day. The mean within-subject correlation between self-reported MET level and total counts for each 30-min block was 0.57 (95% C.I., 0.51–0.62). Self-reported mean MET level during the after-school period and the number of 30-min blocks with activity rated at ≥ 6 METs were significantly correlated with the CSA outcome variables. Validity coefficients for these variables ranged from 0.35 to 0.43 (p < .05). Correlations between the number of 30-min blocks with activity rated at ≥ 3 METs and the CSA variables were positive but failed to reach statistical significance (r = 0.19–0.23). The PDPAR provides moderately valid estimates of relative participation in vigorous activity and mean MET level in fifth-grade children. Caution should be exercised when using the PDPAR to quantify moderate physical activity in preadolescent children.

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Sandra L. Hanson and Rebecca S. Kraus

A Critical Feminist perspective and data from the nationally representative National Educational Longitudinal Study are used to explore the relationship between involvement in sports and success in science for a recent cohort of high school aged women. We also consider whether women from different social classes and racial/ethnic groups and with different sport experiences derive similar benefits from sport. Variation in sport experience involves a consideration of type of sport (e.g., basketball vs. track), type of team (e.g., varsity vs. intramural), age of athlete (middle school vs. high school sophomore vs. high school senior), and leadership roles (e.g., captain). Our findings show that sport has mostly positive consequences for young women’s science attainment, although these effects are smaller than for a 1980 cohort of female athletes. These benefits exist across types of sport, teams, and levels of involvement but are their greatest in the sophomore year of high school. In contrast to earlier cohorts, we find that for this recent cohort, sport participation positively affects the science attainment of women from various subgroups—white, Hispanic, upper-ses and lower-ses. However, young African-American women see very little benefit from sport. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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Earl Smith and Angela Hattery

There have been many discussions about diversity and the value that it brings to the workplace (Ely & Thomas, 2001). Although sport has been deemed a model of diversity, where people of different races and ethnicities comingle as participants and spectators, there is a serious disconnect between perceptions of this diversity and the reality that defines the lack of racial diversity in the management (i.e., coaching and leadership) of sport. The purpose of this essay is to provide an exploration and analysis of the varied ways in which race may influence sport management experiences and opportunities. We frame this analysis through race relation theory, symbolic racism theory, social distance theory, and the concepts of segregation and power. The inferences and implications of our essay are centered on the undercurrent of the status of African American men in sport leadership, who are severely under-represented despite their prominent contribution to the financial vitality of the sport industry as players. The essay concludes with several policies and practices for improving racial diversity in sport management.

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Sara Wilcox, Melinda Forthofer, Patricia A. Sharpe and Brent Hutto

Background:

Walking interventions delivered by lay leaders have been shown to be effective. Knowing the characteristics of individuals who volunteer to be group leaders in walking programs could facilitate more efficient and effective recruitment and training.

Methods:

Walking group leaders were recruited into a community-based program and formed walking groups from existing social networks. Leaders and members completed a survey, participated in physical measurements, and wore an accelerometer. Regression models (adjusting for group clustering and covariates) tested psychosocial and behavioral differences between leaders and members.

Results:

The sample included 296 adults (86% women, 66% African American). Leaders (n = 60) were similar to members (n = 236) with respect to most sociodemographic and health characteristics, but were significantly older and more likely to report arthritis and high cholesterol (P-values < .05). Although leaders and members were similar in sedentary behavior and physical activity, leaders reported higher levels of exercise self-regulation, self-efficacy, and social support (P-values < .01). Leaders also reported greater use of outdoor trails (P = .005) and other outdoor recreation areas (P = .003) for physical activity than members.

Conclusion:

Although walking group leaders were no more active than members, leaders did display psychosocial characteristics and behaviors consistent with a greater readiness for change.