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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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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.

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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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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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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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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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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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Alexandre Magalhães, Elisabete Ramos and Maria Fátima Pina

Background:

Proximity to urban green spaces (UGS) and open sports spaces (OSS) benefits health, promotes physical activity (PA) and sports practice (SP).

Objective:

Analyze the association between PA or SP according to distances between UGS or OSS and teenagers’ residences or schools.

Methods:

We evaluated 1333 (53.9% girls) teenagers (13 years old) living and studying in Porto, Portugal (EPITeen cohort). PA was classified as light or moderate/vigorous. Distances were the shortest routes from residences or schools to UGS/OSS, and classified in ≤250 m; >250 m to ≤500 m; >500 m to ≤750 m; >750 m. Chi-square test and chi-square for trends were used to compare proportions; associations were measured using logistic regression, through odds ratio and 95% confidence intervals, adjusting to BMI and parental education.

Results:

Regarding vicinity’ of schools, the prevalence of moderate/vigorous PA among boys, decreases as distances to OSS increases. For girls, the prevalence of sports decreases as distances to UGS increase. For boys, we found an association between moderate/vigorous PA and proximity to OSS in the vicinity of schools: considering ≤250 m as reference, the odds of moderate/vigorous PA is 0.20 (0.06–0.63) for >250 m to ≤500 m; 0.21 (0.07–0.61) for >500 m to ≤750 m and 0.19 (0.06–0.58) for >750 m.

Conclusion:

Vicinities of schools seem to influence teenagers to be more physically active and increase sports participation.

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Stephanie E. Bonn, Lars Alfredsson, Saedis Saevarsdottir and Maria E.C. Schelin

Background:

Effective interventions are needed to increase physical activity in the general population. To target interventions, we need knowledge of insufficiently active groups in society. This study aims to identify demographic and health-related correlates of leisure-time physical inactivity in a general Scandinavian population.

Methods:

Study participants comprised 5734 control subjects, age 18 to 70 years, from 2 ongoing Swedish case-control studies. Participants self-reported their leisure-time physical activity level. The odds of being physically inactive were calculated using logistic regression.

Results:

A total of 42% of participants were classified as physically inactive during leisure time. A lower prevalence of inactivity was associated with middle age, higher education, having previous experience of sports participation, following a low glycemic index/Mediterranean diet and having a light physical workload. A high prevalence of inactivity was associated with greater age, high body mass index, smoking, never drinking alcohol, having children, having a weak social network or lower levels of emotional support, and a low vegetable intake.

Conclusions:

Several factors were associated with leisure-time physical inactivity. Directing interventions to target groups defined by specific factors associated with physical inactivity could be an efficient way to increase activity and improve health in the general population.