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Aviva Must, Sarah Phillips, Carol Curtin and Linda G. Bandini

Background:

Individual, social, and community barriers to physical activity (PA) experienced by children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) make PA participation more difficult and may contribute to increased screen time.

Methods:

We compared the prevalence of parent-reported barriers to PA among 58 typically developing (TD) children and 53 children with an ASD, 3 to 11 years, and assessed the association between barriers and PA participation and screen time among children with ASD.

Results:

Parents of children with ASD reported significantly more barriers than parents of TD children. Based on parent-report, 60% of children with ASD required too much supervision compared with no TD children (P < .001). Parents of children with ASD were more likely to report that adults lack skills needed to include their child (58%), that their child has few friends (45%), and that other children exclude their child (23%). The number of parent-reported barriers to PA was inversely correlated with the hours spent in PA per year (r = −0.27, P = .05) and positively related to total screen time (r = .32, P < .03).

Conclusions:

These findings underscore the need for community-based PA programs designed to meet the special requirements of this population and policies that compel schools and other government-supported organizations for inclusion and/or targeted programming.

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Olga L. Sarmiento, Thomas L. Schmid, Diana C. Parra, Adriana Díaz-del-Castillo, Luis Fernando Gómez, Michael Pratt, Enrique Jacoby, José D. Pinzón and John Duperly

Background:

Studies assessing the association between health-related quality of life (HR-QOL) with physical activity (PA) and built environment (BE) characteristics are limited.

Methods:

A cross-sectional study was conducted among 1,334 adults from Bogotá, to assess the associations between HR-QOL with PA and BE characteristics. HR-QOL was measured using the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instruments. PA was measured using the International PA Questionnaire. BE characteristics included the dimensions of density, diversity, design, and access to mass-transit. Analysis included multilevel modeling.

Results:

Adults who reported meeting PA recommendations and participating in the Ciclovía were more likely to have a high mean score of HR-QOL and were more likely to perceive their health status as good/excellent. Adults who reported biking for transportation were more likely to have a high mean score of HR-QOL. Regarding BE characteristics, land-use heterogeneity was associated with HR-QOL, perceived good health status and being positive about the future. Park density was associated with HR-QOL, perceived health status good/excellent and being positive about the future. Mass-transit stations availability was negatively associated with HR-QOL.

Conclusion:

This study provides preliminary evidence that HR-QOL is associated with PA and BE characteristics among adults in an urban setting of the developing world.

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Richard E.A. van Emmerik and Erwin E.H. van Wegen

Current research in biology and physiology has unequivocally demonstrated the significance of variability for the optimal functioning of healthy and adaptable systems. Different pathologies are characterized by reductions in complexity of organization, often signified by loss of variability and adaptability. It is argued that the traditional perspective on biology in general and movement science in particular that tended to associate noise and variability with performance decrements and pathology is no longer tenable. Tools and methodologies that have emerged from the dynamical systems perspective to coordination and control are discussed in the context of postural control and transitions in interlimb coordination and locomotion. First, it is shown that variability can play a functional role in the detection and exploration of stability boundaries during balance control. Second, pattern transitions are characterized by increased variability in movement coordination dynamics. Under conditions of movement pathologies, such as in Parkinson’s disease, reductions in variability in coordination dynamics clearly identify movement coordination and transition problems so characteristic for these patients. It is concluded that the relation between variability and stability is complex and that variability cannot be equated with instability without knowledge of the underlying movement dynamics.

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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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Amy B. Cadwallader and Bob Murray

Whenever athletes willfully or accidentally ingest performance-enhancing drugs or other banned substances (such as drugs of abuse), markers of those drugs can be detected in biological samples (e.g., biofluids: urine, saliva, blood); in the case of some drugs, that evidence can be apparent for many weeks following the last exposure to the drug. In addition to the willful use of prohibited drugs, athletes can accidentally ingest banned substances in contaminated dietary supplements or foods and inadvertently fail a drug test that could mean the end of an athletic career and the loss of a good reputation. The proliferation of performance-enhancing drugs and methods has required a corresponding increase in the analytical tools and methods required to identify the presence of banned substances in biofluids. Even though extraordinary steps have been taken by organizations such as the World Anti-Doping Agency to limit the use of prohibited substances and methods by athletes willing to cheat, it is apparent that some athletes continue to avoid detection by using alternative doping regimens or taking advantage of the limitations in testing methodologies. This article reviews the testing standards and analytical techniques underlying the procedures used to identify banned substances in biological samples, setting the stage for future summaries of the testing required to establish the use of steroids, stimulants, diuretics, and other prohibited substances.

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Mauro Virgílio Gomes de Barros, Markus Vinicius Nahas, Pedro Curi Hallal, José Cazuza de Farias Júnior, Alex Antônio Florindo and Simone Storino Honda de Barros

Background:

We evaluated the effectiveness of a school-based intervention on the promotion of physical activity among high school students in Brazil: the Saude na Boa project.

Methods:

A school-based, randomized trial was carried out in 2 Brazilian cities: Recife (northeast) and Florianopolis (south). Ten schools in each city were matched by size and location, and randomized into intervention or control groups. The intervention included environmental/organizational changes, physical activity education, and personnel training and engagement. Students age 15 to 24 years were evaluated at baseline and 9 months later (end of school year).

Results:

Although similar at baseline, after the intervention, the control group reported significantly fewer d/wk accumulating 60 minutes+ moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) in comparison with the intervention group (2.6 versus 3.3, P < .001). The prevalence of inactivity (0 days per week) rose in the control and decreased in the intervention group. The odds ratio for engaging at least once per week in physical activity associated with the intervention was 1.83 (95% CI = 1.24–2.71) in the unadjusted analysis and 1.88 (95% CI = 1.27–2.79) after controlling for gender.

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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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Stephan Swinnen, Joost Vandenberghe and Erik Van Assche

This study sought to determine the relationships between the cognitive styles field dependence-independence and reflection-impulsivity and the acquisition of a gross motor skill in an unstructured learning environment. In reference to the first cognitive style construct, it was hypothesized that field-independent subjects perform better than field-dependent subjects because they provide organization when the material to be learned lacks structure, leading them to rely on their analyzing and restructuring ability. The second construct refers to cognitive inhibition required for response uncertainty tasks as well as motor impulse inhibition. Subjects (57 boys, 65 girls) were 13-year-old junior high school students. Several visual perceptual tests were administered and gymnastic performance scores were measured at pretest, during the learning session, and posttest. The hypothesis that field-independent subjects are more successful in an unstructured learning environment than field-dependent subjects was confirmed for boys only. The correlations between the reflection-impulsivity variables and gymnastic performance were generally low, and no support could be found for the hypothesis that reflective subjects are more successful in learning the skill than impulsive subjects.

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Edwin A. Locke and Gary P. Latham

Studies of goal setting both in organizations and the laboratory have found that (a) specific, difficult goals lead to better performance than vague or easy goals; (b) short-term goals can facilitate the achievement of long-term goals; (c) goals affect performance by affecting effort, persistence, and direction of attention, and by motivating strategy development; (d) feedback regarding progress is necessary for goal setting to work; and (e) goals must be accepted if they are to affect performance. The implications of these findings for athletics are discussed. Ten hypotheses, based on previous research, are offered regarding the effects of goal setting in sports. In addition, suggestions are made regarding the following: setting goals for both practice and game situations; setting goals for different elements of athletic skill as well as for strength and stamina; using goals to increase self-confidence; using short-term goals to help attain long-term performance goals; improving performance by increasing task difficulty independently of goal difficulty; and obtaining goal acceptance and commitment in sports.

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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.