Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Business Travel Tips For Bozos

Shoes off. Mouth shut. Bags checked. Hands to self. Compress gas pedal.FEW HELPFUL NOTES FOR SEVERAL OF YOU who stood or sat near me at various airports or on one of several planes in the last week or so (you know who you are):

1. Yes, you have to take your shoes off at the security checkpoint, and no, the TSA personnel really don’t care if they’ve NEVER set off a metal detector ANYWHERE. There’s a guy named Big Rocco in a dark room with a pair of latex gloves just praying that you’ll make a big deal out of your Italian loafers. Do yourself (and us) a favor and don’t.2. Thanks for inviting me to your meeting. I mean, I assume I was invited to your meeting, since you sat next to me and yammered away on your cell phone in a voice loud enough to call the kids home to dinner. I disagreed with your approach on the Smith deal, and I thought you were probably too harsh in your assessment of Jones’ performance during the sales conference. But then, I didn’t really know what the hell you were talking about. Or care.

3. That talking-into-your-hand thing, where you try to muffle the sound of your secret conversation, doesn’t really work. I could still hear every excruciatingly boring topic you discussed. I’m just guessing, but the CIA probably doesn’t use the hand-talking technique to keep stuff hush-hush. Then again, it’s the CIA.

4. There’s a new service option on most airlines that you might like to try: THEY WILL CHECK YOUR BAGS TO YOUR DESTINATION FOR FREE! This means that you don’t have to haul your 330-pound rolling suitcase on board and then spend 10 minutes huffing, puffing, shoving, falling over and arguing with the flight attendant as you try to squeeze 100 square feet of duffel bag into 50 square feet of overhead cabin space. I’ve tried the bag-checking service, and it really works. But maybe you like dropping things on other passengers’ heads.

5. While you’re up there rearranging things, please remember that I made sure my sport coat was pressed before I left this morning. So although I appreciate your kind efforts to wad it into a ball and then compress it with your obviously more important carry-on luggage, I think I’ll take a pass and leave the jacket laid flat just the way it was.

6. Yes, I do want the armrest in the DOWN position. I’m sorry your seat is uncomfortable, but it seems unsporting of you to insist that mine be uncomfortable, too.

7. The nachos and beer before you got on the plane were a bad idea, and yes, we all knew who it was.

8. The large building we left our cars in while we traveled may be called a parking garage, but they meant while you were gone, not while you were crawling at 1.5 mph from Level 5 down to the Exit with 14 cars behind you. You don’t need to make a full stop and look both ways at every turn, either.

9. Even though our bags are the same size and color, I’ve cleverly put a luggage tag on mine, which means we both have a fighting chance at getting home with the right underwear, as long as I can get to baggage claim before you do. Thanks for listening, let me know which flights you’ll be on next week, JRB

By: Brandt, John R.. Industry Week/IW

Monday, July 10, 2006

Research Update: Leisure for Life

The role of schools should be to promote lifelong recreational sport and physical activity participation

Inactive living and obesity across all age, social, ethnic and economic categories has reached epidemic proportions in the United States.

Some studies say that youth sports could be one answer to the obesity epidemic. Research examining recreational sport participation among middle school students suggests a positive correlation between regular sport participation and increased physical activity (e.g., Hoffman et al., 2005).

But another study found that youth sports don't automatically cure obesity problems. Louv (2005,p.47) indicates that the increase in childhood obesity "has coincided with the greatest increase in organized sports for children in history." This finding questions the role that sports can play in addressing the youth obesity issue.

A Decline in Sports Participation
The most apparent explanation for the parallel increase in child obesity and organized youth sport opportunities may be that participation in youth sports has declined significantly during middle school years (see Hedstrom & Gould, 2004; President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport, 1997).

This decline in youth sport participation can be attributed to the fact that there are fewer options for students who are not advanced athletes (Koplan, Liverman, & Kraak, 2005). Other factors include disinterest in sports, the activity no longer being fun, problems with a coach or teacher and wanting to participate in non-sport activities (Seefeldt, Ewing, & Walk, 1992).

Also, children are living further from their schools because communities are building bigger schools on the outskirts of towns, where land is cheaper (Cohen et al., 2006). Cohen et al., found that students who lived more than five miles from their school had significantly lower levels of activity. Time constraints resulting from increased commute times and bus schedules, excessive quantities of homework and environmental barriers (e.g., weather, no equipment) (Allison, Dwyer, & Makin, 1999) have all contributed to decreased participation in extracurricular activities like sports.

An increasing negative attitude toward physical activity has been another contributing factor resulting in the reduction in physical activity patterns. Although younger children have a generally positive attitude toward physical education and activity, there is strong evidence to suggest that their positive perception decreases with age (Trudeau & Shepherd, 2005). Body consciousness, especially for female adolescents and overweight children, may be another significant obstacle for participation in extra-curricular physical activity opportunities (Allison, Dwyer, & Makin, 1999; Phillips & Hill, 1998).

The Intramural Solution
An emerging notion, which is supported by a growing body of research that examines declining physical activity patterns in youth, has led to calls for schools to introduce or reintroduce intramural programs (Koplan, Liverman, & Kraak, 2005). This call to action is motivated by a desire to re-engineer sporting opportunities around children's motives for participating.

In examining these motivations, See-feldt, Ewing and Walk (1992) found that "wanting to win" was rated eighth behind factors such as having fun, staying in shape, learning and improving skills, and being a part of a team. Similarly, in reviewing research conducted on motivation to participate in sports, Weiss and Ferrer-Caja (2002) found the major motivational themes to be developing physical competence, gaining social acceptance (e.g., being with friends), enhancing physical fitness and enjoying the experience.

Middle schools show a level of interscholastic sport teams of 82 percent, with high schools being even higher at 94 percent (Wechsler et al., 2000). In contrast, far fewer schools offer intramural programs. Only 49 percent of schools surveyed by the 2000 School Health Policies and Programs Study (SHPPS) offered intramural sports (Burgeson et al., 2001). The opportunities provided by inter-scholastic sports are so focused on winning and competition (Petlichkoff, 1992) that schools seem to be overlooking the reasons why children want to participate in sports.

To counteract these issues, the Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth (Koplan, Livermore & Kraak, 2005) recommended that intramural sports be more widely introduced within schools in order to meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities who lack time, skills or confidence to participate in inter-scholastic sports. The committee also recommended that intramural sports become a staple of both school and after-school programs.

Wechsler et al., (2000) contend that because of the lack of prestige associated with intramural sports compared to inter-scholastic sports, their potential is often overlooked. However, because their target population is focused upon children who may not have participated in much physical activity, children who may not have the skills to participate in inter-scholastic sports, or children who dislike the competitive nature of interscholastic sports (Wechsler et al., 2000), researchers and policy makers are suddenly becoming more interested in their role in addressing childhood physical inactivity.

Leisure For Life
Some recent studies have found a positive association between participation in youth sports and increased physical activity in later life (e.g., Kuh & Cooper, 1992; Taylor et al., 1999; Telamo et al., 1997; van Mechelen et al., 2000). Seefeldt, Ewing and Walk (1992) found that youth sport participation correlated with a strong appreciation for fitness that carried on later in life.

However, these findings come with a caveat. Taylor et al. (1999) found that children who had negative experiences in youth sports and were "forced to exercise" were less likely to be physically active as adults. So while participation in youth sports could help prevent both youth and adult obesity, it could also be seen as a detriment.

The leisure repertoire model (see Iso-Ahola, 1980; Iso-Ahola, Jackson & Dunn, 1994) theorizes that during childhood to early adulthood, individuals tend to seek new leisure experiences. After early adulthood that tendency declines. As they age, individuals tend to seek familiar leisure activities and gravitate toward familiar leisure patterns (Iso-Ahola, Jackson & Dunn, 1994). Roberts (1999) points out that individuals tend to become more conservative in their leisure patterns, sticking to past routines.

Researchers and policy-makers have begun to examine the long-term ramifications of youth involvement. Results have suggested that enjoyable participation in activities during childhood and adolescence can result in a "leisure for life" philosophy. For example, Scott and Willits (1989; 1998) found that participation in leisure activities as an adolescent was a strong predictor of involvement as an adult, even after controlling for gender, education and income.

In examining youth sport participation, Perkins et al. (2004) found that young adults were not likely to participate in sport if they had not participated in the past. Perkins et al. (2004) may have put it best when he said "sports participation during early adolescence is likely to lead to greater participation in adulthood, underscoring the importance of getting youth involved in sport activities so that they can develop lifelong habits that include physical fitness" (p. 516).

The decline in youth sport participation can be attributed to the fact that there are fewer options for students who are not advanced athletes.

Fun Fact: Did you know that 45 percent of all eligible participants play agency-sponsored youth sports, such as little league baseball, but only 10 percent of those eligible play intramural school sports?

Soource: The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Research Digest

Alfrano, C. M., Klesges, R. C., Murray, D. M., Beech, B. M., & McClanahan, B.S. (2002). History of sport participation in relation to obesity and related health behaviors in women. Preventive Medicine, 34, 82-89.

Allison, K.R., Dwyer, J.J.M., & Makin, S. (1999). Perceived barriers to physical activity among high school students. Preventive Medicine, 28, 608-614.

Burgeson, C. R., Wechsler, H., Brener, N. D., Young, J. C., & Spain, C. G., (2001). Physical education and activity: Results from the School Health Policies and Programs Study 2000. Journal of School Health, 71(7), 279-293.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2004). Prevalence of overweight among children and adolescents: United States, 1999-2002. Retrieved February 23, 2006, from

Cohen, D. A., Ashwood, $., Scott, M., Overton, A., Evenson, K. R., Voorhees, C. C., Bedimo-Rung, A., & McKenzie, T. L. (2006). Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 3(1), S129-S138.

Engstrom, L. M. (1991). Exercise adherence in sport for all from youth to adulthood. In P. Oja & R. Telama (Eds.), Sport for all. (pp. 473-483). Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.

Green, K., Smith, A., & Roberts, K. (2005). Young people and lifelong participation in sport and physical activity: A sociological perspective on contemporary physical education programs in England and Wales. Leisure Studies, 24(1), 27-43.

Hedley, A. A., Ogden, C. L., Johnson, C. L., Carroll, M.D., Curtin, L. R., & Flegal, K. M. (2004). Overweight and obesity among US children, adolescents, and adults, 1999-2002. Journal of the American Medical Association, 291, 2847-2850.

Hedstrom, R., & Goutd, D. (2004). Research in youth sports: Critical issues status. Retrieved November 23, 2005, from

Hoffman, J. R., Kang, J., Faigenbaum, A. D., & Ratamess, N. A. (2005). Recreational sports participation is associated with enhanced physical fitness in children. Research in Sports Medicine, 13(2), 149-161.

Iso-Ahola, S. E. (1980). The social psychology of leisure and recreation. Dubuque, Iowa: William C. Brown Publishers.

Iso-Ahola, S. E., Jackson, E., & Dunn, E. (1994). Starting, ceasing, and replacing leisure activities over the life-span. Journal of Leisure Research, 26(3), 227-249.

Koplan, J. P., Liverman, C. T., & Kraak, V.I. (2005). Preventing childhood obesity: Health in the balance. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.

Kuh, D. J. L., & Cooper, C. (1992). Physical activity at 36 years: Patterns and childhood predictors in a longitudinal study. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 46, 114-119.

Louv, R. (2005). Last child in the woods: Saving our children from nature deficit disorder. Chapel Hill, N.C.: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

McKenzie, T. L. (2001). Promoting physical activity in youth: Focus on middle school environments. Quest, 53, 326-334.

Nader, P.R., Stone, E.J., Lytle, LA, Perry, C.L., Osganian, s.K., Kelder, S., Webber, L.S., Elder, J.P., Montgomery, D., Feldman, HA. (1999). Three-year maintenance of improved diet and physical activity: The CATCH cohort. Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health. Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Mediane, 153, 695-704.

Perkins, D. F., Jacobs, J. E., Barber, B. L., & Eccles, J. S. (2004). Childhood and adolescent sports participation as predictors of participation in sports and physical fitness activities during young adulthood. Youth & Society, 35(4), 495-520.

Petlichkoff, L. M. (1992). The drop out dilemma in youth sports. In O. Bar (Ed.), Encyclopedia of sports medicine: the child and adolescent athlete (pp. 418-430). Oxford, Blackwell Scientific.

Petlichkoff, L. M. (1992). Youth sport participation and withdrawals: Is it simply a matter of fun? Pediatric Exercise Science, 4, 105-110.

Phillips, R.G., & Hill, A.J., (1998). Fat, plain, but not friendless: self-esteem and peer acceptance of obese pre-adolescent girls. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 22, 287-293.

President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport (1997). Physical activity and sport in the lives of girls: Physical and mental health dimensions from on interdisciplinary approach. University of Minnesota: Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport.

Roberts, K. (1999). Leisure in contemporary society. Wallingford: CABI Publications.

Sallis, J. F., Conway, T. L., Prochaska, J. J., McKenzie, T. L., Marshall, S. J., & Brown, M. (2001). The association of school environments with youth physical activity. American Journal of Public Health, 91, 618-620.

Scott, D., & Willits, F. K. (1989). Adolescent and adult leisure patterns: A 37 year follow up study. Leisure Sciences, 11, 323-335.

Scott, D., & Willits, F. K. (1998). Adolescent and adult leisure patterns: A reassessment. Journal of Leisure Research, 30(3), 319-330.

Seefeldt, V., Ewing, M., & Walk, S. (1992). Overview of youth sports programs in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development.

Steinbeck, K. S. (2001). The importance of physical activity in the prevention of overweight and obesity in childhood: A review and an opinion. Obesity Reviews, 2, 117-130.

Taylor, W. C., Blair, S. N., Cummings, S. S., Wun, C. C., & Malina, R. M. (1999). Childhood and adolescent physical activity patterns and adult physical activity. Mediane and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31(1), 118-123.

Telama, R., Laakso, L, Yang, X., & Viikari, J. (1997). Physical activity in childhood and adolescence as predictor of physical activity in young adulthood. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 13(4), 317-323.

Thompson, A. M., Humbert, M. L., & Mirwald, R. L. (2003). A longitudinal study of the impact of childhood and adolescent physical activity experiences on adult physical activity perceptions and behaviors. Qualitative Health Researcher, 13, 358-377.

Trudeau, F., & Shephard, R. J. (2005). Contribution of school programs to physical activity levels and attitudes in children and adults. Sports Medicine, 35(2), 89-105.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1997). Center for Disease Control: Guidelines for School and Community Programs to Promote Life-long Physical Activity Among Young People. Retrieved February 12, 2006, from

van Mechelen, W., Twisk, J.W.R., Post, G.B., Snel, J., & Kemper, H.C.G. (2000). Physical activity of young people: the Amsterdam longitudinal growth and health study. Mediane and Science in Sports and Exercise, 32(9), 1610-1616.

Wechsler, H., Devereaux, R. S., Davis, M., & Collins, J. (2000). Using the school environment to promote physical activity and healthy eating. Preventive Mediane, 31, S121-S137.

Weiss, M. R., & Ferrer-Caja, E. (2002). Motivational orientations and sport behavior. In T. Horn (Ed.), Advances in sport psychology (pp. 101-183). Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics.

Jason Bocarro, Ph.D., is assistant professors in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University. Bocarro's research interests have focused primarily on the role and impact of community youth development programs.

Michael Kanters, Ph.D., is an associate professor in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University. Kanters researches youth sport development and the inter-relationships of leisure, health and wellness.

Jonathan Casper, Ph.D., is assistant professors in the Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management at North Carolina State University. Casper focuses on social and psychological aspects of youth and adult sport participation and spectator ship.

Research Into Action: Implementing An Intramural Program In...
The following suggestions and strategies can help your agency implement an intramural program.

1. Mission/Philosophy
The literature on barriers to youth sport participation and high drop-out rates in sports suggests that a more inclusive and diversified approach to youth sports delivery may be effective at attracting and retaining children in sports programs. Intramural sports should complement the physical education children receive in school. All children, regardless of athletic skills should be encouraged to participate in a diverse array of activities that are fun and contribute to lifelong physical activity. Specific goals of an intramural program as outlined by the National Intramural Sports Council of the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE, 2001) should include:

Provide an opportunity to participate in sport and physical activities without regard for high-performance skill.
Provide activities in a safe and professionally supervised environment.
Nurture healthy competition, enjoyment fair play and teamwork.
Establish a student-centered program that considers the needs and interests of all students.
Enhance social interaction and reduce student conflict.
Provide opportunity for coed physical activity participation.
Provide opportunities for students to experience a variety of physical activities that will contribute to an active lifestyle and enhance their leisure time.

2. Integrate with Other Programs that Promote Healthy and Active Living
Intramural programs appear to be more successful when they build upon lessons and skill developments achieved through school physical education classes. It is important to recognize that intramural sports should not replace school physical education, but provide an avenue for students to practice and improve upon the fundamental skills taught in physical education. In addition, the research on changing health behaviors clearly shows that interventions like intramurals are more effective when combined with environmental changes in the school environment (i.e., active living education, role modeling, parent involvement and support) (Nader, Stone, Lytle, Perry, Osganian, Kelder, Webber, Elder, Montgomery, & Feldman, 1999).

3. Program Administration
Although intramural programs are best administered by a trained physical education or recreational specialist, their success appears to be dependent on extensive student and volunteer-parent involvement. Students should have ample opportunities to be involved in the selection of activities, and participate in leadership programs designed to prepare students to assume roles as program coordinators and officials/referees. Volunteer parent involvement is important because it serves to both facilitate student participation and helps to ensure adherence to important school policies and procedures.