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Bareket Falk, Sarah Braid, Michael Moore, Deborah O’Leary, Phil Sullivan and Panagiota Klentrou

The objective of this study was to assess bone strength using quantitative ultrasound (QUS, Sunlight Omnisense) in pre- and early-pubertal normal weight (NW, % body fat ≤20, n = 28), and overweight (OW, % body fat ≥25, n = 15) boys. Groups were similar in chronological and skeletal age, sexual maturity, sports participation, and calcium intake. Leisure-time physical activity was lower in OW boys. Radial speed of sound (SOS) was similar in the two groups. Tibial SOS, however, was significantly lower in OW compared with NW (3,554 ± 109 vs. 3,646 ± 71 m·s−1, respectively). Among pre- and early-pubertal boys, higher adiposity appears to be associated with lower bone SOS in the lower extremities.

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Clemens Drenowatz, Olivia Wartha, Jochen Klenk, Susanne Brandstetter, Martin Wabitsch and Jürgen Steinacker

This study examined the association between biological maturity, CVD risk, fitness and health behavior in 709 (359 male, 350 female) 8-year-old children (range: 6.3–8.9 years). Sports participation and sedentary behavior was assessed via parent questionnaire. Height and weight was measured and maturity status was predicted based on % of adult-height reached. Fitness was assessed via a test battery and CVD risk was determined using mean arterial pressure, cholesterol and intra-abdominal fat. BMIpercentiles (BMIPCT) differed significantly among early, average and late maturing children. Early maturing children displayed a higher CVD risk profile (0.5 vs. -0.2), lower fitness scores (-0.4 vs. 0.2), and spent more time watching TV (51 vs. 43 min/day) compared with their peers. After controlling for BMIPCT differences remained only for fitness in boys and TV time in girls.

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Jennifer M. Sacheck, Tara Nelson, Laura Ficker, Tamar Kafka, Julia Kuder and Christina D. Economos

Amid the childhood obesity epidemic, understanding how organized sports participation contributes to meeting physical activity recommendations in children is important. Anthropometrics were measured in children (n = 111; 68% female, 9.1 ± 0.8yr) before one 50-min soccer match. Time spent at different physical activity intensity levels was examined using Actigraph accelerometers. 49% of the match time was spent in sedentary activity (25.4 ± 5.7 min), while 33% of the match (16.9 ± 4.7 min) was spent in moderate-to-vigorous activity (MVPA; p < .001). 22.5% of the children were overweight/obese and spent more time in sedentary activity (+3.2 ± 1.2 min; p < .05) and less time in MVPA (-3.0 ± 1.0 min; p < .01) compared with the normal weight children. These data demonstrate that playing an organized sport such as soccer only meets a portion (~25%) of the 60 min of MVPA recommended and even less of this recommendation is met by overweight/obese children.

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Christina L. Smith and Martha Storandt

Histories of competitive sports involvement, health beliefs, reasons for exercising, and personality were compared across three groups of older adults who varied according to involvement in physical activity. Based on questionnaire responses, 246 participants were classified as competitors, noncompetitors. or nonexercisers. Competitors exhibited a lifelong history of sports participation. Although nonexercisers and noncompetitors participated in sports during their childhood and teenage years, their involvement in competition decreased noticeably in their 20s and remained low throughout adulthood. Competitors rated exercise significantly more important than did nonexercisers and non-competitors and had more varied reasons for exercising. Nonexercisers considered reducing stress and improving mood to be less important reasons for exercising than competitors and noncompetitors. All three groups were found to possess high levels of positive and low levels of negative personality traits.

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Guy L. Rowland, Robert E. Franken and Kimberley Harrison

A life-span inventory of sports participation and Zuckerman's (1979) Sensation Seeking Scale, Form V, were administered to 97 male and 104 female undergraduate students. The results indicated that, over time, high sensation seekers tend to become involved in more sports than do low sensation seekers, but low sensation seekers tend to remain involved with each sport for longer periods of time than do high sensation seekers. Gender and sensation seeking were found to interact in the choice of sporting activities. Low but generally positive correlations were observed between sensation seeking and participation in risky sports. These data suggest that both the need for new experiences and an attraction to high risk characterize the high sensation seeker 's participation in sporting activities.

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Koenraad J. Lindner

School children and youth from Primary Grade 5 to Secondary Grade 7 (average age range, 9 to 18 years) in Hong Kong completed a sports participation questionnaire and rated their own academic performance (AP). Results of ANOVAs indicated that frequency and extent of participation tended to be significantly higher for students with high self-ratings than for students with less satisfactory self-reported performance, and that this trend was significantly stronger in females than males and present in all age groups. The correlations between participation and AP were generally significant but low. These results indicate that those who perceive themselves to be the better achievers in academic subjects are as a group the more frequent participants, with stronger motives for involvement in sport and physical activity. A prevalent fear among parents and teachers in Hong Kong, that regular sport participation could threaten academic achievement, appears unfounded.

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Renée M. Parker, Michael J. Lambert and Gary M. Burlingame

The present study was conducted to determine if female distance runners who report engaging in pathological food behaviors display the psychological characteristics of clinically diagnosed female eating-disordered patients. Comparisons were made among 29 eating-disturbed college runners, 31 normal college runners, 19 clinically diagnosed eating-disordered patients, and 34 nonathletic, non-eating-disordered college students. Measures included a 3-day diet journal, questionnaires collecting both personal information and information on eating behaviors and sports participation, the Eating Disorder Inventory (EDI), the Setting Conditions for Anorexia Nervosa Scale (SCANS), and the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI). Without reaching eating-disordered clinical levels, the eating-disturbed runners appeared on psychological inventories as being more concerned with food and dieting than were the comparison runners and non-eating-disordered nonathletes. Only the eating-disordered group presented with significant levels of psychopathology. Implications for the athletic community are discussed.

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Martin Kristiansen, Ryna Levy-Milne, Susan Barr and Anne Flint

The purpose of this study was to assess reasons for and prevalence of supplement use among varsity athletes and nonvarsity athlete students (controls) at a Canadian university. A questionnaire, distributed to 247 varsity athletes and 204 controls, included variables regarding sports participation, supplements used, reasons for usage, perceived effects, and areas of interest about supplements. Response rates were 85.5% among varsity athletes and 44.6% among controls. Supplements were used by 98.6% of varsity athletes and 94.3% of controls. Varsity men most often reported using sports drinks, and used these (and carbohydrate gels, protein powder, and creatine) more than varsity women. Caffeine products were most often reported by other groups. Health professionals and the Internet were the most reported information sources, while friends most often recommended supplements. Many subjects indicated knowing little about supplements and wanting to learn more. Results indicate a need for nutrition education among both varsity athletes and university students.

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Linda M. Petlichkoff

In 1990 the Athletic Footwear Association (AFA) (1) released a report entitled “American Youth and Sports Participation” that examined teenagers’ (ages 10-18 years) feelings about their sport involvement. This report was the culmination of an extensive study of more than 10,000 young people from 11 cities across the U.S. in which issues related to why teenagers participate, why they quit, and their feelings about winning were addressed.1 The results highlighted in the AFA report indicate that (a) participation in organized sports declines sharply as youngsters get older, (b) “fun” is the key reason for involvement and “lack of fun” is one of the primary reasons for discontinuing, (c) winning plays less of a role than most adults would think, and (d) not all athletes have the same motivations for their involvement.

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Thomas Rowland

The two articles in the area of cardiovascular physiology and disease in youth were chosen for commentary because of their exploration of new approaches to the diagnosis and management of cardiovascular derangements in young persons. The first, by Hinds et al., describes the potential clinical importance of detection of cardiovascular changes during exercise testing in adolescent athletes following concussions. This approach might prove useful in establishing safe return-to-play guidelines. The second, a review article by Van De Schoor et al, evaluates the frequency of myocardial scarring in athletes, some of adolescent age, which is a recognized risk factor for sudden cardiac death. These findings support other evidence indicating that sports participation per se might rarely increase the risk of such tragedies. Clearly more research is indicated by the information raised in both of these articles, but their importance to clinical medicine is obvious.