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Michael P. Sam and Steven J. Jackson

This study illustrates how the rules and practices of a task force inquiry shaped the formulation of its policy. Adopting an institutional approach, it analyzes New Zealand’s Ministerial Taskforce on Sport, Fitness and Leisure (2001). Specifically, this article investigates the role of institutional arrangements (including public consultation and submission procedures) in shaping, delimiting, and circumscribing that task force’s findings and recommendations. The investigation consists of a critical analysis of available texts—including recorded observations of public consultations, written submissions, committee notes—and interviews with task force members. Two features of this task force are described and analyzed: (1) its terms of reference and operative assumptions and (2) its rules and procedures that guided the public participation processes. It is shown that the institutional arrangements can channel debates and thereby recast political relations among interests.

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Daniel J. Larson and Joel Maxcy

The world governing body for cycling proscribed the use of two-way radio communication in road cycling races, with the ban set to become fully effective in 2012. The ban was instituted because radio use was perceived to have altered the cycling competitions by making outcomes more predictable and of less interest to sport’s consumers. This empirical analysis of the policy rationale considers the uncertainty of outcome hypothesis (UOH) as it applies to professional cycling races and creates a novel measure, the likelihood of breakaway success (LBS). The LBS is analyzed in 1436 bicycle races between 1985–2010 to examine potential changes in outcomes associated with the use of two-way radio technology by competitors and team directors. The data suggests that radio technology has had a significant association with event outcome types. The relevance of the findings to intraorganizational communication, management, and hierarchies of sports teams are also discussed.

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Amy Eyler, Ross Brownson, Tom Schmid and Michael Pratt

With increasing evidence of the detrimental effects of physical inactivity, there is interest in enhancing research on policies that may influence physical activity in communities. Given the potential policy impact, a framework that organized and conceptualized policy interventions and priorities for public health efforts to promote physical activity was developed. In addition, the Physical Activity Policy Research Network (PAPRN) was formed as a way to operationalize the contents of the framework. Recommendations for future work in this area include enhancing transdisciplinary collaborations, raising the priority of policy evaluation, studying policies at all levels, and emphasizing dissemination of findings.

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Stephen S. Cheung

potentially vital spice in the overall appeal of sports for the general public. But despite the competitions happening in the heat of summer every year, the Australian Open’s extreme heat policy is brief to the point of being meaningless, with any and all decisions left completely to the referee’s discretion

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Nisha Botchwey, Myron F. Floyd, Keshia Pollack Porter, Carmen L. Cutter, Chad Spoon, Tom L. Schmid, Terry L. Conway, J. Aaron Hipp, Anna J. Kim, M. Renee Umstattd Meyer, Amanda L. Walker, Tina J. Kauh and Jim F. Sallis

spend large amounts of time, such as schools, child-care facilities, and parks, as well as changes to local, state, and federal policies, have the potential to reduce sedentary behavior and increase PA. Environment and policy changes are recommended by the Institute of Medicine and others as critical

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Kristiann C. Heesch and Jennifer L. Han

Background:

Policies that encourage physical activity are recommended to increase physical activity rates. Few studies have examined public support for such policies. The aim of this study was to assess support for policies that may increase active transport and correlates of this support.

Methods:

A telephone survey was administered to 460 Oklahoma residents.

Results:

Most respondents supported policies that may encourage walking and bicycling for transport. Most favored the improvement of public transportation over building new roads to address transportation concerns. In multivariate models, a positive attitude toward walking was the only variable significantly associated with support for most policy outcomes (p < 0.05). Participation in active commuting and a positive attitude toward bicycling were correlates of strong support for the creation of bike ways (p < 0.05).

Conclusions:

Experience with active commuting and positive attitudes toward walking and bicycling are associated with support for policies that may encourage walking and bicycling for transport.

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Erin M. Smith, Grace Wilburn and Paul A. Estabrooks

Background:

Since the adoption of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, many researchers have examined changes in the school nutrition environment; however, far less research has focused on the evaluation of physical activity (PA) policies within public schools.

Methods:

School district wellness policies (n = 144) of Virginia and Maryland were coded using a previously validated audit tool with a scale of 0 (weakest, least comprehensive) to 1 (strongest, most comprehensive).

Results:

Mean policy strength was weak (.20 ± .15), and, on average, policies were moderately comprehensive (.40 ± .22). The strongest (.73 ± .44) and most comprehensive (.79 ± .40) policy subgroup addressed daily recess in elementary schools. Virginia had significantly higher scores in 9 policy groups, while Maryland had higher significant policy scores in the 2 following groups: (1) the strength and comprehensiveness of a written physical education (PE) curriculum for each grade level (Ps < .05) and (2) the strength and comprehensiveness of addressing the use of PE waivers (Ps < .05).

Conclusions:

PA wellness policies in Maryland and Virginia are extremely weak and only moderately comprehensive; it is unlikely that these policies will significantly influence school-based PA.

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Michael W. Beets, Rohan Shah, Robert Glenn Weaver, Jennifer Huberty, Aaron Beighle and Justin B. Moore

Background:

After-school programs (ASPs) across the nation have been asked to increase the amount of activity children accumulate during such programs. Policies/standards that benchmark the amount of total activity (light-to-vigorous physical activity, LVPA) and moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) accumulated in an ASP have been developed. Little is known about the prevalence of children meeting these goals.

Methods:

Children (N = 812, 6 to 12 y old) attending 19 ASPs wore accelerometers for 4 days while attending an ASP. LVPA and MVPA were dichotomized according to existing ASP policies/standards. Data on whether a policy/standard was met were compared between gender, age, BMI, race/ethnicity, and ASP-type (faith-, school-, community-based) using mixed-model logistic-regression.

Results:

The prevalence of meeting an LVPA policy/standard ranged from 75.4% (National Afterschool Association [NAA], 20% of program time spent in LVPA) to 97.8% (NAA, 20% of time in attendance spent in LVPA), and meeting an MVPA policy/standard ranged from 0.3% (California, 60 min MVPA/d) to 26.9% (North Carolina, 20% of attendance spent in MVPA). Boys, younger children, nonwhites, and children attending faithor community-based ASPs were more likely to meet any policy/standard.

Conclusion:

Current practice in ASPs is sufficient to meet LVPA policies/standards but insufficient to meet MVPA policy/standards. Efforts must be directed toward identifying the most appropriate policy/standard and strategies to meet it.

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Genevieve F. Dunton, Michael Cousineau and Kim D. Reynolds

Background:

Policy strategies aimed at modifying aspects of the social, physical, economic, and educational environments have been proposed as potential solutions to the growing problem of physical inactivity. To develop effective physical activity policies in these and other areas, greater understanding of how and why policies successfully impact behavior change is needed.

Methods:

The current paper proposes a conceptual framework explaining how policy strategies map onto health behavior theoretical variables and processes thought to lead to physical activity change. This framework is used to make hypotheses about the potential effectiveness of different policy strategies.

Results:

Health behavior theories suggest that policies providing information may be particularly useful for individuals who are not yet considering or have only recently begun to consider becoming more physically active. Policies that provide opportunities may be less effective for individuals who do not find physical activity to be inherently fun and interesting. Policies that offer incentives or require the behavior may not be particularly useful at promoting long-term changes in physical activity.

Conclusion:

Exploring possible connections between policy strategies and theoretical constructs can help to clarify how each approach might work and for whom it may be the most appropriate to implement.

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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.