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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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Donald Sabo, Merrill J. Melnick and Beth E. Vanfossen

This study examines the impact of race and gender differences on the social mobility of high school athletes using the longitudinal, panel data of the High School and Beyond study. Regressions of educational and occupational attainment measures on sports participation were estimated for subgroups differentiated by race/ethnic status, gender, and school location (urban, suburban, and rural). It was found that participation in high school sports was most likely to affect the postsecondary status attainment of white males and, to a lesser extent, suburban white females and rural Hispanic females. High school athletic participation had almost no effect on the college-going behavior or educational expectations of black males and females. Interscholastic athletic participation was generally unrelated to postsecondary occupational status and aspirations.

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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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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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Kathleen E. Miller and Joseph H. Hoffman

Past research has linked physical activity and sports participation with improved mental and social well-being, including reduced risk of depression and suicidality. In this study we examined relationships among several dimensions of athletic involvement (team sport participation, individual sport participation, athlete identity, and jock identity), gender, and depression and suicidal behavior in a sample of 791 undergraduate students. Both participation in a team sport and athlete identity were associated with lower depression scores. Athlete identity was also associated with lower odds of a past-year suicide attempt, whereas jock identity was associated with elevated odds of a suicide attempt. The findings are discussed in light of the relationship between mental well-being and a larger constellation of health-risk behaviors linked to a “toxic jock” identity.

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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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Silvia A. González, Olga L. Sarmiento, Daniel D. Cohen, Diana M. Camargo, Jorge E. Correa, Diana C. Páez and Robinson Ramírez-Vélez

Background:

Physical activity (PA) is central to the global agenda for the prevention on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Although 80% of NCDs occur in low-to-middle-income countries, the evidence on PA comes mainly from high-income countries. In this context, the report card for Colombia is an advocacy tool to help in the translation of evidence into concrete actions. The aims of this paper were two-fold: to present the methodology used to develop the first Report Card on Physical Activity in Colombian Children and Youth and to summarize the results.

Methods:

Twelve indicators of PA were graded using numerical grades (5, highest, to 1, lowest) based on data from national surveys and policy documents.

Results:

National policy and obesity indicators were graded “4,” while departmental policy and overweight indicators were graded “3.” Overall PA levels, sports participation, sedentary behaviors and nongovernment initiatives were graded “2,” and school influence was graded “1.” Active transportation, active play, low cardiorespiratory fitness, and family and community influence received an incomplete.

Conclusion:

PA levels are low and sedentary behaviors are high in Colombian children and youth. Although the prevalence of obesity in Colombia is lower compared with other Latin American countries, it is increasing. A rich legal framework and availability of institutional arrangements provide unique opportunities to bridge the gap between knowledge and practice that need to be evaluated.

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Frank M. Howell, Andrew W. Miracle and C. Roger Rees

It has been reported that participation in high school athletics has a positive effect on education, occupational status attainment, and earnings. (Otto and Alwin, 1977; Howell and Picou, 1983). The findings regarding the economical benefits of sport participation have emerged from two regional panel studies and need to be examined for generalizability beyond local labor markets. We test this hypothesis using the five-wave Youth in Transition panel based on a national sample of 1,628 males. The respondents were surveyed repeatedly during their high school years (1966-69). They were followed-up 1 year posthigh school (1970) and again 5 years (1974) after graduation. Our results do not support the hypothesis. However, we suggest that the lack of supportive findings may be explained by the stage in the life cycle at which the follow-up was completed. That is, any economical payoff owing to participation in high school athletics is not an immediate return but may begin to accrue 10 or more years after graduation when career lines have begun to unfold. Another possibility is that the effect of high school sports participation on earnings may only occur for those also subsequently attending college. The implications of specific explanations of sport participation outcomes for the life course interpretation are discussed.

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Rebecca A. Seguin, Christina D. Economos, Ruth Palombo, Raymond Hyatt, Julia Kuder and Miriam E. Nelson

Background:

Despite the recognized health benefits, few older women participate in strength-training exercises.

Methods:

The purpose of this study was to examine factors related to older women’s adherence to strength training after participation in the Strong Women Program, a nationally disseminated community program. Adherence was defined as ≥4 months of twice-weekly strength training. Surveys were sent to 970 program participants from 23 states and to participants’ corresponding program leaders. Five-hundred fifty-seven participants responded (57%).

Results:

Of respondents who completed surveys (527), 79% (415) adhered to strength training; adherers reported a mean of 14.1 ± 9.1 months of strength training. Logistic-regression analysis revealed that exercise adherence was positively associated with age (p = .001), higher lifetime physical activity levels (p = .045), better perceived health (p = .003), leader’s sports participation (p = .028), and leader’s prior experience leading programs (p = .006).

Conclusion:

These data lend insight to factors that may be related to exercise adherence among midlife and older women.