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Jack L. Nasar and Christopher H. Holloman

Background:

The research sought to find the salient perceived characteristics of playgrounds for African-American children and their parents, and to test effects of changes in those characteristics on playground choice.

Methods:

Thirty-one African-American children and their parents sorted 15 photographs of playgrounds for similarity. Nonmetric multidimensional scaling on the similarity scores and correlations between the resulting dimensions and judged characteristics of each playground revealed salient perceived characteristics. Study 2 had 40 African-American children and their parents view pairs of photographs, manipulated on the salient characteristics, and pick the one to play on (child question) or for the child to play on (parent question). A third study inventoried and observed children’s activities in 14 playgrounds.

Results:

Study 1 found seats, fence, playground type, and softness of surface as salient perceived characteristics of the playground. Study 2 found that participants were more likely to pick playgrounds with equipment and playgrounds with a softer surface. Study 3 found higher levels of physical activity for playground settings with equipment.

Conclusions:

The findings confirm correlational findings on the desirability of equipment and safety. Communities need to test the effects of changes in playgrounds.

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Tyler G. Johnson, Timothy A. Brusseau, Susan Vincent Graser, Paul W. Darst and Pamela H. Kulinna

Background:

The purpose of this study was to conduct a secondary analysis by combining 2 pedometer data sets to describe and analyze pedometer-determined steps/day of children by ethnicity and metropolitan status.

Methods:

Participants were 582 children (309 girls, 273 boys; 53% Hispanic, 26% Caucasian, 21% African American) age 10 to 11 years (M = 10.37 ± 0.48) attending 1 of 10 schools located in urban, suburban, and rural settings. Participants wore a research grade pedometer for at least 3 week/school days. Mean steps/ day were analyzed by gender, ethnicity, and metropolitan status.

Results:

Statistical analyses indicated 1) boys (12,853 ± 3831; P < .001) obtained significantly more steps/day than girls (10,409 ± 3136); 2) African American (10,709 ± 3386; P < .05) children accumulated significantly less steps/day than Hispanic (11,845 ± 3901) and Caucasian (11,668 ± 3369) children; and 3) urban (10,856 ± 3706; P < .05) children obtained significantly less steps/day than suburban (12,297 ± 3616) and rural (11,934 ± 3374) children.

Conclusions:

Findings support self-report data demonstrating reduced physical activity among African American children and youth, especially girls, and among children and youth living in urban areas. Possible reasons for these discrepancies are explored.

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Karla A. Henderson and Barbara E. Ainsworth

Cultural influences are often important in shaping women’s approaches to healthy living (Sarto, 1998). The lives of many people of color in American society generally are associated with close family ties and community identification (Keller, 1993). If these assumptions are true, then it may be useful to understand the social dynamics that exist in the lives of African American and American Indian women to better understand health issues related to their participation, or lack of participation, in leisure and physical activities. The purpose of this analysis was to explore the meanings of social support and physical activity as expressed by older African American and American Indian women who participated in the Cultural Activity Participation Study (CAPS). We used a grounded theory approach to analyze data from in-depth qualitative interviews conducted with 56 African American and American Indian women in the United States. Based upon the analysis complex social dynamics occurred that both encouraged and inhibited women’s involvement in physical activities. It was shown that these women’s families and community relationships tended to be more important than their personal identities, and that social support systems had an influence on perceptions of, opportunities for, and involvement in leisure related physical activity.

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Deanna M. Hoelscher, Cristina Barroso, Andrew Springer, Brian Castrucci and Steven H. Kelder

Background:

Few studies have compared physical activity (PA) and sedentary activity (SA) by grade and ethnicity, specifically including elementary school students. A cross-sectional probability-based design was used to provide data by ethnicity (African American, Hispanic, and White/Other), gender, and grade (4th, 8th, and 11th) from 2000 to 2002.

Methods:

Two validated questionnaires (elementary and secondary) assessed self-reported PA and SA. Point-prevalence estimates and 95% confidence intervals were computed.

Results:

Over 70% of students reported vigorous PA on ≥3 days/week, but <50% participated in daily physical education. A significant percentage (30% to 50%) of students reported ≥3 hours per day in SA. Fourth-grade boys and girls reported equal PA; however, 8th and 11th grade girls reported lowered vigorous PA. African American 8th- and 11th-grade boys reported the highest PA, but African American children also reported the highest prevalence of SA.

Conclusions:

Findings from this study highlight the disparities in physical and sedentary activities by gender, grade, and race/ethnicity, and the need to address these differences with programs and policy. In general, grade level and gender differences were more striking and consistent than racial/ethnic differences.

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Astin D. Steward and George B. Cunningham

Across two experimental studies, the purpose of this research project was to examine how Whites evaluate African Americans with a strong racial identity. In Study 1, participants evaluated applicants for an athletic director position. Relative to their weakly identified counterparts, applicants believed to possess a strong racial identity were rated as a poorer fit for the job. Results from Study 2, which was also set within the context of hiring an athletic director, show that participant social dominance orientation moderates the relationship between racial identity and subsequent evaluations. The authors discuss theoretical and practical implications, limitations, and future directions.

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Anthony P. Kontos and Alfiee M. Breland-Noble

This article examines from a theoretical perspective the most pertinent issues related to providing sport psychology consulting to athletes of color. A review of multicultural concepts including identity, acculturation/enculturation, generalizations, and stereotyping is presented. These concepts provide a framework within which to address issues and examples pertinent to African American, Latino, Asian American, and American Indian athletes. A multicultural sport psychology approach incorporating worldview and integrative theory is examined. Finally, future issues in multicultural sport psychology including changes in the population, female athletes of color, and the need for sport psychologists of color are discussed.

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Shannon N. Zenk, Amy J. Schulz, Angela M. Odoms-Young, JoEllen Wilbur, Stephen Matthews, Cindy Gamboa, Lani R. Wegrzyn, Susan Hobson and Carmen Stokes

Background:

Global positioning systems (GPS) have emerged as a research tool to better understand environmental influences on physical activity. This study examined the feasibility of using GPS in terms of perceived acceptability, barriers, and ease of use in a racially/ethnically diverse sample of lower socioeconomic position (SEP).

Methods:

Data were from 2 pilot studies involving a total of 170 African American, Hispanic, and White urban adults with a mean (standard deviation) age of 47.8 (±13.1) years. Participants wore a GPS for up to 7 days. They answered questions about GPS acceptability, barriers (wear-related concerns), and ease of use before and after wearing the GPS.

Results:

We found high ratings of GPS acceptability and ease of use and low levels of wear-related concerns, which were maintained after data collection. While most were comfortable with their movements being tracked, older participants (P < .05) and African Americans (P < .05) reported lower comfort levels. Participants who were younger, with higher education, and low incomes were more likely to indicate that the GPS made the study more interesting (P < .05). Participants described technical and wear-related problems, but few concerns related to safety, loss, or appearance.

Conclusions:

Use of GPS was feasible in this racially/ethnically diverse, lower SEP sample.

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Chad J. Krumbach, Dave R. Ellis and Judy A. Driskell

The influences of gender, ethnicity, and sport of varsity athletes on their vitamin/mineral supplementation habits were examined. Subjects included 145 females and 266 males from 22 varsity teams; 80% were Caucasian; 12% African American; and 8% Combined-Other. Over half of the subjects took supplements. Males were more likely than females to give "too expensive" as a reason for not taking supplements, and "improve athletic performance" and "build muscle" as reasons for taking supplements. The most common supplement was multivitamins plus minerals. Females were more likely to take calcium and iron, and males vitamins B 12 and A. African Americans were the most likely to take vitamin A. Males were more likely to get supplement information from nutritionists/dietitians and self, and females from family members or friends and physicians or pharmacists. Football players were more likely to get supplement information from nutritionists/dietitians, and males in other sports from coaches/trainers. There were some differences in vitamin/mineral supplement habits of the athletes by gender, ethnicity, and sport.

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Jocelyn S. Carter, Sabrina Karczewski, Draycen D. DeCator and Alescia M. Hollowell

Background:

Children who engage in regular physical activity are protected from developing behavioral problems at home and school, but many children do not have the opportunity to participate in regular physical activity. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a noncurricular school-based physical activity program resulted in reductions in children’s psychological problems in 2 domains: internalizing (eg, depression) and externalizing (eg, aggression) and whether these effects varied according to ethnicity, gender, and baseline psychological symptoms.

Methods:

One hundred and eleven third-grade students (mean age = 8.47; 55% African American, 42% Latino) from 4 schools participated in the study. Children in 2 schools received the Work to Play physical activity intervention during the study (intervention condition) and children in the other 2 schools did not receive the program until after the study was complete (waitlist control condition). Teachers and parents reported on children’s psychological symptoms at baseline and at follow-up approximately 9 months later.

Results:

Regression analyses showed that children who participated in the program had fewer internalizing symptoms at follow-up. Ethnicity moderated intervention effects with significant decreases in internalizing symptoms for African American, but not Hispanic participants. Neither gender nor baseline psychological symptoms moderated the program’s effectiveness.

Conclusions:

The Work-to-Play intervention program appeared to be effective in reducing internalizing symptoms for ethnic minority participants who are at the greatest risk for psychological problems.

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James C. Hannon and Thomas Ratliffe

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of coed (coed) and single-gender game-play settings on the activity levels of Caucasian and African American high school physical education students. Students participated in flag football, ultimate Frisbee, and soccer units. Classes were as follows: there were two coed classes, two coed classes were split into male and female teams for game play, one class was exclusively female, and one class was exclusively male. Digi-walker pedometers were worn by students to monitor activity levels calculated as steps per minute. High school males, on average, had higher step counts than females in all settings, and Caucasian students were more active, on average, than African American students. There were no differences in activity levels for females between coed and single-gender game-play settings. There was some evidence, however, that in ultimate Frisbee and soccer units, male students in males-only classes were less physically active than were males in coed and split coed classes. Teacher interaction rates and team-sport preferences rather than the gender composition might have contributed to differences in activity levels of the classes.