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Niamh Reilly, Gavin P. Lawrence, Thomas Mottram and Michael Khan

The perceptual-motor impairments of individuals with Down syndrome (DS) are attributed to central (e.g., neurophysiology deficits that affect the retrieval or initiation of motor programs) and peripheral (e.g., anatomical deficits relating to issues with inertia of limb mechanics and muscle organization) processes. However, recent research suggests that central deficits do not affect the integration between movements. We investigate the impact of central and peripheral DS deficits on movement integration by examining the planning and execution of multiple-target multiple-arm movements. Individuals with DS, typically developing (TD), and individuals with an undifferentiated intellectual disability (UID) completed five aiming tasks: a one target; a one-arm, two-target extension; a two-arm, two-target extension (movement one was performed with one arm and movement two performed with the other); a one-arm, two-target reversal; and a two-arm, two-target reversal. Movement times (MTs) to the first target were longer in the two-target tasks compared with the one-target task. For the one-arm, two-target reversal task, this effect emerged only in individuals with DS. These results indicate that individuals with DS use central processing for movement integration similarly to their TD and UID counterparts but cannot exploit peripheral-level integration to enhance integration in one-arm reversal tasks.

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David W. Brock, Olivia Thomas, Charles D. Cowan, David B. Allison, Glenn A. Gaesser and Gary R. Hunter

Background:

Numerous public health organizations have adopted national physical activity recommendations. Despite these recommendations, over half of the US population does not meet the minimum recommendation for physical activity, with large variations across individual US states.

Methods:

Using the 2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) prevalence data for physical activity and obesity by state, we performed a weighted least squares regression using prevalence of obesity (BMI ≥ 30 kg/m2) as the dependent variable and insufficiently physically active (included completely sedentary), age, race, gender, and median household income as the independent variables.

Results:

The unadjusted weighted least squares regression revealed a strong correlation between a state’s prevalence of obesity and the prevalence of insufficiently physically active (R = .76, R 2 = .58, P < .0001). After adjusting for age, gender, race, and median household income, the prevalence of insufficiently physically active is still a significant predictor of the state prevalence of obesity (partial R = .44, R 2 = .19 P = .004).

Conclusion:

Macroenvironmental and sociopolitical disparities between individual US states that transcend simple state-level demographic factors need to be examined more rigorously to identify unique barriers and promoters of physical activity.

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Francesca Gallè, Valeria Di Onofrio, Fabio Barbone, Giorgio Brandi, Sebastiano Calimeri, Elisabetta Carraro, Federica Carraturo, Laura Dallolio, Concetta De Meo, Mauro De Santi, Guglielmina Fantuzzi, Francesca Fortunato, Ilaria Gorrasi, Marco Guida, Daniele Ignazio La Milia, Erica Leoni, Daniela Lo Giudice, Liliana Minelli, Christian Napoli, Maria Parpinel, Cesira Pasquarella, Rosa Prato, Vincenzo Romano Spica, Carlo Signorelli, Silvio Tafuri, Federica Valeriani, Giorgio Liguori and Working Group “Movement Sciences for Health” of the Italian Society of Hygiene

Background:

Physical education (PE) can be considered an instrument for active lifestyle promotion, and PE teachers can motivate youths to continue their studies in the field of Movement Sciences (MS).

Methods:

To evaluate the role of PE in higher secondary school in promoting physical activity (PA) and MS careers, previous PE experiences and current PA practice were investigated in a sample of Italian freshmen enrolled in different university degree courses.

Results:

A total of 7033 questionnaires were completed by students from 14 universities (41.3% males, mean age 20 ± 2.76 years). Recreation seemed to be the principal aim (42.2%) pursued during PE lessons, which are based mainly on practical activities (51.7%). Of all respondents, 67.2% were satisfied with the PE received during higher secondary school, and 51.6% participated in extracurricular PA. Current practice of PA was reported by 58.1% of the sample. Extracurricular activities were associated with choice of MS curricula (odds ratio: 2.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.85–2.50) and with current practice of PA (odds ratio: 1.68, 95% confidence interval, 1.51–1.87). Geographical differences concerning lessons organization and satisfaction were registered (P < .01).

Conclusions:

To enhance its role in health promotion, PE teaching should be improved by increasing the time allocated to PE and by strengthening the provision of school-based extracurricular PA.

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Markus V. Nahas, Mauro V. G. de Barros, Maria Alice A. de Assis, Pedro C. Hallal, Alex A. Florindo and Lisandra Konrad

Background:

A cross-cultural, randomized study was proposed to observe the effects of a school-based intervention designed to promote physical activity and healthy eating among high school students in 2 cities from different regions in Brazil: Recife and Florianopolis. The objective of this article is to describe the methodology and subjects enrolled in the project.

Methods:

Ten schools from each region were matched and randomized into intervention and control conditions. A questionnaire and anthropometry were used to collect data in the first and last month of the 2006 school year. The sample (n = 2155 at baseline; 55.7% females; 49.1% in the experimental group) included students 15 to 24 years, attending nighttime classes. The intervention focused on simple environmental/organizational changes, diet and physical activity education, and personnel training.

Results:

The central aspects of the intervention have been implemented in all 10 intervention schools. Problems during the intervention included teachers’ strikes in both sites and lack of involvement of the canteen owners in schools.

Conclusions:

The Saude na Boa study provides evidence that public high schools in Brazil represent an important environment for health promotion. Its design and simple measurements increase the chances of it being sustained and disseminated to similar schools in Brazil.

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Carlos E.B. Gonçalves, Luís M.L. Rama and António B. Figueiredo

The theory of deliberate practice postulates that experts are always made, not born. This theory translated to the youth-sport domain means that if athletes want to be high-level performers, they need to deliberately engage in practice during the specialization years, spending time wisely and always focusing on tasks that challenge current performance. Sport organizations in several countries around the world created specialized training centers where selected young talents practice under the supervision of experienced coaches in order to become professional athletes and integrate onto youth national teams. Early specialization and accurate observation by expert coaches or scouts remain the only tools to find a potential excellent athlete among a great number of participants. In the current study, the authors present 2 of the problems raised by talent search and the risks of such a search. Growth and maturation are important concepts to better understand the identification, selection, and development processes of young athletes. However, the literature suggests that sport-promoting strategies are being maintained despite the increased demands in the anthropometric characteristics of professional players and demands of actual professional soccer competitions. On the other hand, identifying biological variables that can predict performance is almost impossible.

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David B. Pyne, Joshua H. Guy and Andrew M. Edwards

Heat and immune stress can affect athletes in a wide range of sports and environmental conditions. The classical thermoregulatory model of heat stress has been well characterized, as has a wide range of practical strategies largely centered on cooling and heat-acclimation training. In the last decade evidence has emerged of an inflammatory pathway that can also contribute to heat stress. Studies are now addressing the complex and dynamic interplay between hyperthermia, the coagulation cascade, and a systemic inflammatory response occurring after transient damage to the gastrointestinal tract. Damage to the intestinal mucosal membrane increases permeability, resulting in leakage of endotoxins into the circulation. Practical strategies that target both thermoregulatory and inflammatory causes of heat stress include precooling; short-term heat-acclimation training; nutritional countermeasures including hydration, energy replacement, and probiotic supplementation; pacing strategies during events; and postevent cooling measures. Cooperation between international, national, and local sporting organizations is required to ensure that heat-management policies and strategies are implemented effectively to promote athletes’ well-being and performance.

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Kelly R. Evenson and Sara B. Satinsky

Background:

National plans are increasingly common but infrequently evaluated. The 2010 United States National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP) provided strategies to increase population levels of physical activity. This paper describes (i) the initial accomplishments of the NPAP sector teams, and (ii) results from a process evaluation to determine how the sectors operated, their cross-sector collaboration, challenges encountered, and positive experiences.

Methods:

During 2011, a quarterly reporting system was developed to capture sector-level activities. A year-end interview derived more detailed information. Interviews with 12 sector leads were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for common themes.

Results:

The 6 sectors worked on goals from the implementation plan that focused broadly on education, promotion, intervention, policy, collaboration, and evaluation. Through year-end interviews, themes were generated around operations, goal setting, and cross-sector collaboration. Challenges to the NPAP work included lack of funding and time, the need for marketing and promotion, and organizational support. Positive experiences included collaboration, efficiency of work, enhanced community dynamic, and accomplishments toward NPAP goals.

Conclusions:

These initial results on the NPAP sector teams can be used as a baseline assessment for future monitoring. The lessons learned may be useful to other practitioners developing evaluations around state- or national-level plans.

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Michael William Beets, Jennifer Huberty and Aaron Beighle

Background:

National and state organizations have called upon afterschool programs (3–6 PM, ASP) to promote physical activity (PA). Few strategies exist that ASPs can use to increase the PA of children enrolled. This study evaluated a policy-level intervention (Movin’ Afterschool, MAS) designed to increase PA through staff implemented policy-level changes and ongoing technical support.

Methods:

Twelve preexisting community-based ASPs serving 580 children (5–12 yrs, 57% girls) were invited to take part in MAS. Evaluation of children’s PA, staff behaviors (engaged or promote PA, other ASP tasks, general supervising), and environmental features (equipment, organized PA) at baseline (Fall 2010) and postassessment (Spring 2011) were collected using SOPLAY (System for Observing Play and Leisure Activity in Youth) for boys and girls, separately. Random effects models evaluated changes in PA categories (sedentary, walking, vigorous).

Results:

The percentage of boys and girls sedentary decreased by 11.8% and 11.4%, respectively. Girls walking increased by 6.9% while boys vigorous PA increased by 6.5%. Greater increases in vigorous activity were observed as postassessment in organized activities for boys and during indoor activities for girls.

Conclusions:

Findings indicate a policy-level approach targeting staff training and ongoing technical support can produce notable increases in PA within the ASP setting.

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Richard R. Rosenkranz, Greg J. Welk and David A. Dzewaltowski

Background:

Active recreation sessions taking place within after-school programs (ASP) present an opportunity for attending children to attain part of the recommended 60 minutes of daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). This cross-sectional study’s purpose was to assess relationships between microlevel ASP environmental characteristics and physical activity and sedentary behavior (SED).

Methods:

During 161 ASP active recreation sessions, 240 children from 7 schools wore Actigraph GT1M accelerometers and were observed up to 6 times per year, over 3 years. To provide microlevel environmental data, trained observers recorded session times, location, duration, organization, equipment, and number of children and staff. Unadjusted bivariate correlations and multivariable regression analyses were used to assess the influence of microlevel environmental variables on MVPA and SED, with regression models controlling for relevant covariates.

Results:

Across all ASP active recreation sessions, children spent 39 ± 15% in MVPA and 16 ± 11% in SED. Session location, boy-to-girl ratio, and duration were significantly related to MVPA in the regression model. For SED, location and duration were significant influences in the model.

Conclusions:

Both location and duration appear to be modifiable correlates of group physical activity level, which may serve to inform intervention efforts to promote physical activity in ASP.

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Olivier Hue, Sophie Antoine-Jonville, Olivier Galy and Stephen Blonc

The authors investigated the anthropometric and physiological characteristics of young Guadeloupian competitive swimmers in relation to swimming performance and compared the abilities of these children with those of the young white swimmers reported in the literature. All 2004 competitive swimmers between 10 and 14 y old (126 children, 61 boys and 65 girls, 12.0 ± 1.3 y) from Guadeloupe underwent anthropometric measurements and physiological and performance testing. Six boys on the French national swimming team are referred to hereafter as the 2011 elite subgroup. Anthropometric parameters, a jump-and-reach test, glide, and estimated aerobic power (eVO2max) were assessed in terms of swimming-performance analysis through a 400-m test. This study demonstrated that the Guadeloupian swimmers had more body fat than most age-matched white swimmers but had very poor hydrostatic lift; they had higher peak jump height and they swam as well as their white counterparts. The variability in 400-m performance between subjects was best described by glide, age, and eVO2max. Compared with the group of boys with the same age, the 2011 elite subgroup was significantly better for arm span, peak jump height, glide, and 400-m and 15-m performances. Further research is needed to investigate motor organization and energy cost of swimming in Afro-Caribbean swimmers.