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Agnes Elling, Paul De Knop and Annelies Knoppers

The diversity of sport participants in the Netherlands is beginning to reflect the diversity within the general population. Sport as a whole is becoming more accessible, and participation in sport of different social groups takes place within both mainstream and “separate” sports clubs and in differently organized sports groups. In our paper we critically analyze the broader social integrative functions ascribed to sport by policy makers. We attempt to show that the ongoing democratization of sport participation is not always positively correlated, let alone causally related, to a broader social integrated society. We argue that social integration in itself is a multidimensional process and distinguish three dimensions of integration (structural, social-cultural, and social-affective), which can all occur in and through the practice of sport. Furthermore we argue that the integrative meanings of sport depend on which social groups and which of the dimensions of integration are examined. The complementary and contradictory aspects of the dimensions of social integration with regard to four different social minority groups (ethnic minorities, the elderly, the physically challenged, gays and lesbians) are examined.

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Susanne James-Burdumy, Nicholas Beyler, Kelley Borradaile, Martha Bleeker, Alyssa Maccarone and Jane Fortson

Background:

The Playworks program places coaches in low-income urban schools to engage students in physical activity during recess. The purpose of this study was to estimate the impact of Playworks on students’ physical activity separately for Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and non-Hispanic white students.

Methods:

Twenty-seven schools from 6 cities were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Accelerometers were used to measure the intensity of students’ physical activity, the number of steps taken, and the percentage of time in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) during recess. The impact of Playworks was estimated by comparing average physical activity outcomes in treatment and control groups.

Results:

Compared with non-Hispanic black students in control schools, non-Hispanic black students in Playworks schools recorded 338 more intensity counts per minute, 4.9 more steps per minute, and 6.3 percentage points more time in MVPA during recess. Playworks also had an impact on the number of steps per minute during recess for Hispanic students but no significant impact on the physical activity of non-Hispanic white students.

Conclusions:

The impact of Playworks was larger among minority students than among non-Hispanic white students. One possible explanation is that minority students in non-Playworks schools typically engaged in less physical activity, suggesting that there is more room for improvement.

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Jennifer L. Gay, Sara W. Robb, Kelsey M. Benson and Alice White

Background:

The Social Vulnerability Index (SVI), a publicly available dataset, is used in emergency preparedness to identify communities in greatest need of resources. The SVI includes multiple socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic indicators that also are associated with physical fitness and physical activity. This study examined the utility of using the SVI to explain variation in youth fitness, including aerobic capacity and body mass index.

Methods:

FITNESSGRAM data from 2,126 Georgia schools were matched at the census tract level with SVI themes of socioeconomic, household composition, minority status and language, and housing and transportation. Multivariate multiple regression models were used to test whether SVI factors explained fitness outcomes, controlling for grade level (ie, elementary, middle, high school) and stratified by gender.

Results:

SVI themes explained the most variation in aerobic fitness and body mass index for both boys and girls (R 2 values 11.5% to 26.6%). Socioeconomic, Minority Status and Language, and Housing and Transportation themes were salient predictors of fitness outcomes.

Conclusions:

Youth fitness in Georgia was related to socioeconomic, demographic, and geographic themes. The SVI may be a useful needs assessment tool for health officials and researchers examining multilevel influences on health behaviors or identifying communities for prevention efforts.

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Thomas L. McKenzie, Barbara Baquero, Noe C. Crespo, Elva M. Arredondo, Nadia R. Campbell and John P. Elder

Background:

Understanding home environments might shed light on factors contributing to reduced physical activity (PA) in children, particularly minorities. Few studies have used microlevel observations to simultaneously assess children’s PA and associated conditions in homes.

Methods:

Trained observers assessed PA and associated physical and social environmental variables in the homes of 139 Mexican American children (69 boys, 70 girls; mean age = 6 years) after school.

Results:

Children spent most time indoors (77%) and being sedentary (74%). Reduced PA was associated with viewing media, being indoors, and parents being present. Increased PA was associated with prompts for PA and other children being present. PA prompts differed by child gender and location and prompter age status.

Conclusions:

Children are frequently sedentary at home. Microlevel observations showed PA is associated with potentially modifiable social and physical factors, including spending time outdoors. Studies to determine whether interventions on these correlates can improve children’s PA are needed.

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Katherine L. Lavelle

The re/production of Chinese cultural identity is often fraught with contradictions. When China’s Yao Ming was drafted Number 1 in the National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, he was supposed to reinforce and transcend Chinese/ Asian identity. Yao’s entrance into the NBA signaled a new understanding of Asian identity in the United States. To study this phenomenon, the author examined commentary from television broadcasts of U.S. NBA games featuring a prominent Asian athlete (Yao Ming) using critical discourse analysis. Analysis of 13 games from Yao Ming’s 2nd and 3rd seasons revealed that Yao is linguistically constructed as a panethnic Asian/Chinese person. In addition, the analysis upholds the stereotypes that Asian people are a “model minority” and unfit to play professional sports. Given the dearth of Asian players in the NBA, how do linguistic representations of Yao Ming in game commentary reinforce Asian and Chinese cultural stereotypes or create a new identity of China?

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Moshe Semyonov

This paper challenges the popular argument that sport is an effective channel for upward mobility, especially for ethnic minorities. My study of retired professional soccer players in Israel establishes the following findings: First, members of the subordinate ethnic group are disadvantaged in attainment of status not only in schools and labor markets but also in and via sport. Second, a professional career in sport does not intervene between background variables and later occupational attainment. Third, both ethnicity and educational level are the most significant determinants of postretirement occupational attainment; higher education and higher ethnic status improve opportunities for later occupational success. On the basis of these findings it is suggested that the same rules of inequality that push individuals to seek alternative routes of mobility, such as professional sport, continue to operate in and beyond sport.

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Edward M. Kian

In 2013–14, Jason Collins and Michael Sam became the first 2 athletes from the 4 most popular professional leagues in the United States to publicly come out as gay during their playing careers. U.S. men’s pro team sports have historically been arenas where hegemonic masculinity flourishes and open homosexuality is nearly nonexistent. However, these athletes came out during a period when sexual minorities had won numerous civil rights and were gaining acceptance by a majority of Americans, particularly those who self-identify as politically liberal. A textual analysis examined framing of Collins’s and Sam’s coming out in articles published on the liberal political Web site MSNBC.com. Focus was placed on how these athletes, homosexuality, and masculinity were framed in the corresponding message-board comments posted in response to these articles. Five primary themes emerged from the data, showing that acceptable forms of masculinities and homosexuality in sport remain contested terrains, even on liberal message boards.

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Ka-Chun Siu, Shireen S. Rajaram and Carolina Padilla

Increasing evidence underscores the health benefits of Tai Chi (TC), although there is limited evidence of benefits among racial and ethnic minorities. This study investigated the impact of psychosocial status on balance among 23 Latino seniors after a twice-a-week, 12-week TC exercise program. Functional status was measured at baseline, immediately after, and three months following the TC exercise program, using the Timed Up and Go Test and Tinetti Falls Efficacy Scale. Psychosocial status was measured at baseline by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale and Norbeck Social Support Questionnaire. Both measures of functional status improved and were sustained after three months of TC. Greater improvement was significantly related to a higher level of baseline social support. More depressed seniors reported less fear of falling after TC. Depression and social support are important moderators of functional improvement after TC among Latino seniors.

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Maureen M. Bylina, Tzyy-Chyn Hu, Terrence J. Conway, Jane Perrin, Jennifer L. Eldridge Houser, Jennifer Hurst and Carolyn C. Cox

This study assessed perceptions about exercise among a convenience sample of low-income, urban, older adult patients at a publicly operated ambulatory primary-care clinic, and results were then compared with the findings of a national study. Although it was expected that the predominantly minority and economically disadvantaged participants in this study would trail significantly behind their White counterparts in their perceptions and behavior regarding exercise, findings demonstrated otherwise. Specifically, when physicians encourage moderate exercise, when patients believe that they can overcome barriers to exercise, and when the environment supports moderate exercise through the availability of community exercise classes, inequities in health behaviors can be reduced. Interventions designed to increase exercise for this population should be developed with an understanding of the many barriers that they will have to overcome, a focus on building confidence, and communicating the many benefits of this behavior.

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Deborah Ann Butler

In this paper I ask how it is that women, despite being a significant part of the workforce in horseracing, are still only a minority of professional jockeys. I explore the relationship between social practices and the gender based inequalities and use Bourdieu’s concepts of field, capital and habitus to analyze its classed and gendered nature. I draw on an ethnographic study of a racing yard, focusing particularly on the experiences of Anne Dudley, one of my female interviewees, who, unusually, had ridden as a jockey. She typifies the ways in which women’s career trajectories within the racing field are shaped by access to physical and social capital. I argue that habitus can be used to illustrate how redirection(s) in practices or ideas are brought about within a patriarchal, masculine field of power.