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A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions
A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions
A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions
A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions
A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions
A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions
A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions
A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions
A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions
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A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions


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  • 1. A paradox of sport management and physical activity interventions§ Karla A. Henderson * Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management, Box 8004 Biltmore, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8004 Contents 1. Definitional comparisons. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 58 1.1. Physical activity and health . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 1.2. Sports and physical activity. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60 1.3. Models for getting people more physically active . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 1.4. Physical activity interventions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 2. Conclusions about physical activity and sport management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64 Two stories provide a personal context for reviewing physical activity intervention literature and its implications for sport management practice and research. Almost 20 years ago, I had an opportunity to visit the UK to meet scholars who were conducting research about women and leisure. Leisure studies as a field of scholarly inquiry was relatively new in both the UK and the U.S. Since the academic areas of recreation and leisure studies had largely emerged from physical education as the parent field, leisure scientists in the U.S. seemingly had distanced themselves from sports as a synonym for leisure. In the UK, however, less differentiation existed between leisure and sport. For example, the first major large-scale research study on women and leisure had been underwritten by the Sports Council of the UK. I asked a colleague how sport was so well Sport Management Review 12 (2009) 57–65 A R T I C L E I N F O Keywords: Enjoyment Exercise Interventions Leisure Recreation Research A B S T R A C T Managers of sports programs, facilities, and organizations can have a role in promoting health through physical activity participation. From the perspective of a leisure scientist who has examined various dimensions of leisure-time physical activity, this paper aims to appraise the status of how sports as potential physical activity interventions have been examined, particularly in the sport management literature. Although the purpose of many sport management organizations is to encourage spectatorship, sports have always offered significant opportunities for children and adults to be more physically active. Sports are a motivator for physical activity because they are enjoyable to participants. Therefore, research done by academics in sports management could reflect more about how mass participation recreational sports can serve as interventions to promote healthy physical activity behavior for individuals and within communities. Published by Elsevier Ltd. § Note: Thanks are extended to George Cunningham for inviting me to submit this paper and to the reviewers as well as my colleague at North Carolina State University, Jonathan Casper, for comments that helped to improve the paper. * Tel.: +919 513 0352; fax: +919 515 3687. E-mail address: Contents lists available at ScienceDirect Sport Management Review journal homepage: 1441-3523/$ – see front matter. Published by Elsevier Ltd. doi:10.1016/j.smr.2008.12.004
  • 2. integrated into leisure curricula in the UK. My colleague responded that in the U.S., sport was connoted with a capital ‘‘S’’ while in the UK, it was a small ‘‘s.’’ I have reflected on that explanation often over the years as it seemed to ring true. My UK colleague’s perception was that the context of Sports meant elite competition and sports referred to the idea of ‘‘sports for all.’’ A second conversation was with a colleague doing research in the broad field of public health and ‘‘active living.’’ This person was adamant that ‘‘sport management is a deterrent to physical activity’’ because the focus of academic education as well as research was not about the physical health of the general public. I disagreed with that dogmatic statement but it may hold true depending on how sports are studied and managed. In examining the sport management literature from the past 20 years, however, it appears that the focus has been primarily concerned with topics related to Sports as spectatorship or entertainment and not sports as opportunities to engage mass participation in active behaviors that can lead to better health. For example, I undertook a quick examination of the unit of analysis/population studied in the research article abstracts that appeared in Sports Management Review since its inception in 1998 through 2007 (i.e., 10 years, 22 issues, N = 104 articles). Ten (10%) of the manuscripts addressed issues related to teaching and research in the field of sport management. About 30% (n = 31) of the articles were focused directly on entertainment and spectators (e.g., fandom, professional team loyalty, ticketing sales). Only six articles (6%) focused on active participation for youth, older adults, families, or the general population. The remaining articles (55%; n = 57) dealt with organizational issues such as employee behavior, organizational structure, supervising volunteers, and other management issues that included primarily professional, collegiate, and amateur organizations and only a handful of community entities. Some of these organization-focused articles had implications for sports participation but most were focused on organizational issues rather than specifically how to get the general public more active through recreational sports. By definition, sports management should address ‘‘management,’’ but management for both entertainment and participation may require further examination. Green (2005) advocated for a normative level of sport development that includes high performance, competitive, and mass participation sports opportunities. This emphasis on mass participation as the foundation for higher levels of participation does not appear evident in the sports management literature. The focus of sport management research from examining SMR as well as a cursory look at similar sports journals (e.g., Journal of Sport Management, The Sport Journal, International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing) for this paper seems to present a paradox between sport as entertainment and active sports participation. Some sports studies journals address participation issues to a greater extent (e.g., Journal of Sport Sciences, Journal of Sport Behavior, Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology) and perhaps these outlets suffice for addressing physical activity in sports. However, I would argue that given the proportion of concern existing worldwide for the contributions that sports can make to addressing community health and inactivity (United Nations, 2003), sports managers and sports management researchers may want to consider how sports can be an opportunity for physical activity interventions. The purpose of this paper is to appraise the status of sports as potential physical activity interventions. The (false) dichotomy of the focus on sports management as entertainment or participation is the foundation for suggesting that a greater balance might be possible in the sports management field to include more research about the implications of sport management for physical activity participation. 1. Definitional comparisons The definition of terms related to sport management and physical activity may be useful to consider. Definitions are always arbitrary, and words have nuances that reflect different meanings. A term in any standard dictionary usually results in more than one definition described. For example, the word personality can be a quality of being a person, a personal identity, habits and qualities of behavior, the sum of the qualities, or a notable person (Webster, 1966). Similarly, the definitions of physical activity, exercise, sport(s), sport management, and leisure (and leisure-time) connote different meanings within and among the terms. Many researchers use the classic definition by Caspersen, Powell, & Christenson (1985) for physical activity as bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles resulting in energy expenditure. Physical activity can include, but is not limited to occupational, sports, exercise, household, or other daily and leisure activities. In contrast, exercise is planned and structured with a specific purpose to ‘‘improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness’’ (p. 128). This distinction between physical activity and exercise is important in promoting health because physical activity is broader and does not necessarily include moving in a regimented manner as suggested by exercise. Although sports offer the opportunity for exercise, they offer many other physical as well as mental benefits that can improve an individual or a community’s quality of life (Dishman, 2003). Most people would rather get their physical activity through something enjoyable such as sports participation or other leisure activities than through calisthenics. Further, participation used in the context of this paper refers to ‘‘the performance of activities, which inherently require moderately intense physical exertion, and are perceived by the individual as relatively freely chosen as well as either beneficial or enjoyable’’ (Beaton & Funk, 2008, p. 55). Sports include a range of activities that involve rules, physical exertion, and/or coordination and competition between individuals. Sports generally require demonstrating physical prowess that determines the outcome of an activity (i.e., winning or losing) and are rule-bound (Loy, McPherson, & Kenyon, 1978). However, sports are sometimes used to describe any type of competition regardless of physical prerequisites (e.g., NASCAR, poker, chess, video games). Thus, sports can have K.A. Henderson / Sport Management Review 12 (2009) 57–6558
  • 3. elements not related to physical ability, but these examples are less common than the assumption of some type of physical exertion (i.e., either athletes being watched or the active participation). The difference between sport and sports is somewhat unclear as they are used interchangeably. Sports most often refers to activities and sport connotes an all encompassing concept. Sport can refer to organized entertainment (i.e., spectator) opportunities and sports as participants’ exertion in activities. Although the duality of entertainment and physical participation may be a false dichotomy, they offer two ends of a spectrum related to sports and sport management. The context for Sport Management (SM) as the foundation for this paper denotes a collective view of sports activities, and represents a field of study that primarily addresses the business side of sports. According to the North American Society of Sport Management (2008), SM focuses on business applications to sports that may include sport marketing, employment perspectives, management competencies, event management, leadership, sport and the law, personnel management, facility management, organizational structures, fund raising, and conflict resolution. Most of these applications relate indirectly to helping the public be more physically active and to necessarily promoting physical health. Therefore, SM appears to be somewhat paradoxical relative to entertainment and active participation as well as business and health. Managing sports for the recreational participation of youth and adults resulting in health outcomes is less obvious in the SM literature than the emphasis on business and entertainment. Compelling reasons exist in today’s society, however, to consider more directly the relationships among physical activity, sports, and health promotion when possible. When tied to physical activity, leisure is often used in the context of leisure time physical activity (LTPA), which is a narrow view of leisure from the perspective of many leisure scientists (Howe & Rancourt, 1990; Rojek, 2005). Leisure is more than activities or free time and is often described related to a psychological states including elements of intrinsic outcomes (e.g., enjoyment) and perceived freedom (i.e., choice). Therefore, physical activity that occurs in leisure such as through sports participation may offer intrinsic mental (Dishman, 2003; Fox, 1999) as well as extrinsic physical benefits. ‘‘Physical activity by choice’’ may be a way to think about how LTPA is connected to both physical and mental health (Henderson & Bialeschki, 2005, p. 358). Sports and leisure are not synonymous although many people enjoy sports as participants and/or spectators during their leisure. For some people, leisure may include anything but sports, but for others, their leisure lives may be consumed with sports in some form (e.g., an ardent sports fan, a volunteer leader in a sports club). Finally, the terms active recreation or active leisure are commonly used in the parks and recreation field today. Leisure might include many activities and experiences, but recreation generally refers to voluntary, organized, and enjoyable activities that occur during free time (Henderson et al., 2001). Active recreation or active leisure are umbrella terms for a wide range of free time or leisure activities that include sports, exercise, and physical recreation (Tsai, 2005). The other binary term used in contrast to active recreation is passive recreation (e.g., sitting quietly, enjoying nature, watching others participate). These passive leisure activities are generally not ‘‘organized’’ but have important benefits somewhat different from active recreation. These definitions may be evident, but in discussing a topic like sports and physical activity interventions, the nuances may be important. In this paper I use sports to generally refer to ‘‘sports for all’’ and leisure-time physical activity to mean ‘‘physical activity by choice’’ such as would likely occur in sports participation. 1.1. Physical activity and health Most people are aware of the staggering issues surrounding cardiovascular health, overweight and obesity issues, and physical inactivity. For example, sedentary living and obesity have reached epidemic proportions in North America and other parts of the world. Research shows that only about a quarter of the U.S. population engages in the recommended amount of physical activity (i.e., 30 + min of moderate physical activity five or more days per week, or vigorous physical activity for 20 + min three or more days per week; Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2005) and another quarter of the population is almost totally inactive. Similar results are found in Australia with only 29% of Australians playing sport or exercising twice a week or more and 60% not active enough for optimal health (Sports Medicine Australia, 2007). Statistics are better in New Zealand with 68% active in their leisure time, but almost a third of the population was defined as inactive (SPARCS, 2007). Links have been established between low levels of physical activity and obesity and related diseases including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). Physical activity has been clearly shown to be a modifiable risk factor that can improve people’s health. Further, the rates of physical activity in the U.S. (Brownson, Boehmer, & Luke, 2004) as well as Australia (Sports Medicine Australia, 2007) are declining. The decline has occurred most in work-activity, transportation, activity in the home, and in overall daily living. However, according to Brownson et al. the amount of LTPA in the U.S. is remaining stable and is slightly increasing, although it has been low for some time. In addition, concerns among particular populations are also important. For example, only a third of persons aged 65 years and older participate in any type of sustained physical activity (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2005). In 2001, 24% of male (9–12th grade) students and 38% of female students in the U.S. were classified as inactive (Brownson et al.). The rise in childhood obesity and the lack of physical activity are highly correlated. More statistics could be presented, but the point is that physical inactivity is a health risk and any way that people can be encouraged to be more physically active through sports, recreation, and leisure is important. K.A. Henderson / Sport Management Review 12 (2009) 57–65 59
  • 4. 1.2. Sports and physical activity Some research has been undertaken to examine physical activity trends by leisure-time domains (e.g., sports). The U.S. Surgeon General’s Report (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,1996) indicated that the results of the National Health Interview Survey showed that the most common LTPA was walking followed by gardening and yard work, stretching exercises, bicycling, strengthening exercises, stair climbing, jogging or running, aerobics or aerobic dancing, and swimming. Noticeably missing from this top ranked list are most sports. For all ages (18-75 + years) and sexes, the percentages of people participating in sports in the U.S. were: tennis = 3%, bowling = 4%, golf = 5%, baseball or softball = 4%, other racquet sports = 2%, basketball = 6%, volleyball = 3%, soccer = 1%, football = 2%, and all other sports = 6%. [Note: These percentages should not be summed as a total since multiple responses are likely reflected.] Further, the research showed that participation in vigorous or contact sports generally declines with age. Although the definition emphasizes physical exertion, sports are not always a means for accumulating the recommended amounts of physical activity each day. However, because low percentages of people participate in sports activities does not mean that these activities do not lead to enhanced health. Little is known about exactly how sports organizations might contribute to facilitating the recommended daily amounts. In 2008, Priest, Armstrong, Doyle, and Waters conducted a comprehensive review to determine the effective interventions that sporting organizations can use to increase people’s sport and physical activity participation. Despite an examination of hundreds of possible sources, Priest et al. found no rigorous studies that evaluated the effects of interventions organized by sport organizations to increase participation in sport leading to greater physical activity. In this review, the authors also defined participation as an active player as well as through ‘‘inactive’’ involvement such as coach, instructor, teacher, administrator, manager, or volunteer. This review did not show that sports organizations have no contribution to physical activity participation, but indicated that the evidence does not exist. Qualitative data regarding the value of sports organizations can be found, but rigorous quantitative studies to measure these outcomes were not uncovered in Priest et al.’s extensive review. Other ways of analyzing the relationships between sports and physical activity have shown mixed results. For example, Kaczynski and Henderson (2007) reviewed the literature regarding public parks/recreation settings and physical activity. Settings examined included sports facilities, recreation centers, and golf courses. For sports facilities, two studies showed no association and one showed mixed associations related to how much physical activity occurred. For recreation centers, four studies revealed positive relationships and three indicated no associations between participation and increased physical activity. Golf opportunities all showed positive relationships to physical activity. Although the results were mixed, the relationship between community parks and recreation settings focused on sports and increased physical activity among participants generally has been positive. Sports participation and physical education in schools has also been examined. Because of the declining trend in required physical education classes in many U.S. schools, for example, many young people are more inactive than in the past. Interscholastic and intramural sports are assumed to offer sport-based physical activity opportunities for children. However, Johnston, Delva, & O’Malley (2007) found only 33% of girls and 37% of boys participated in varsity sports in the 500 US schools they surveyed. Participation rates in intramural sports (i.e., 19% boys and 16% girls) were even lower. At most, only slightly more than half of the young people in schools participated in any type of organized school sport activity. Although varsity sport participation did not decline in higher grades, intramural participation did decline as students got older. Further, participation in school sports of any kind was lower among low SES and Hispanic students than among middle-income and non-Hispanic students. Some of this difference in participation regarding SES and ethnicity seemed to relate to school environments because in some schools, sports opportunities were simply not available. Sports are also wide ranging in their potential for physical activity. The Compendium of Physical Activities (Ainsworth, Haskell, & Leon, 1993) lists the metabolic equivalent rates for various physical activities. All activities are assigned an intensity based on their energy expenditure rate expressed as the ratio of work metabolic rate to resting metabolic rate (METs). Ratings under 3 are considered sedentary, 3-6 are moderately active, and over 6 is vigorous. Examples of some of these sports ratings are: Archery (non-hunting) 3.5 METs Basketball (game) 8.0 Billiards 2.5 Ultimate Frisbee 3.5 Golf (general) 4.5 Hockey (field or ice) 8.0 Paddleball (Competitive) 10.0 Shuffleboard 3.0 Tennis 7.0 Volleyball (Competitive) 4.0 Volleyball (General) 3.0 Thus, in analyzing the relationships between sports and physical activity, the type, duration, and intensity of sport participation clearly affects the possibilities of sports contributing to increased physical activity. Floyd, Spengler, Maddock, Gobster, & Suau (2008) further illustrated this variability of sports in their observations of activity METS in parks. They found sedentary behavior in parks was more often observed on baseball/softball fields in addition to dog park areas (i.e., dogs were active but not their humans!), picnic shelters, and open-space areas. Higher levels K.A. Henderson / Sport Management Review 12 (2009) 57–6560
  • 5. of physical activity were found as would be expected at soccer fields, basketball, tennis/racquetball, and volleyball areas in parks. Floyd et al. recommended that interventions in program areas such as sports venues in parks are needed to increase the amount of physical activity that is possible. Not all parks are designed to promote active sports, but more can be done to encourage physical activity. In addition, a growing body of evidence now exists about possible physical activity interventions based on health models aimed to get people more active. 1.3. Models for getting people more physically active Theories and models have been proposed over the past quarter century to examine health promotion and how to get people to participate in healthy behaviors such as smoking cessation and physical activity. These models have not necessarily addressed sports participation but they have implications regarding the contributions that sports can make to increasing physical activity participation. Most models relate to individual behavior and focus on cognition, which assumes that the individual evaluates the benefits and costs associated with healthy actions (Browning & Thomas, 2005). Browning and Thomas described the models that have been tested most widely in health promotion literature: Health Belief Model (HBM), Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB), Self-Efficacy, and the Transtheoretical Model (TTM). Beaton and Funk (2008) used five criteria (i.e., congruency with conventional wisdom, functional meaning across paradigms, holistic accountability, process-focused used including inputs and outputs, and rigorous testing and evaluation) to describe useful models to examine active leisure and recreation. They chose HBM, TPB, and TTM because they are ubiquitous in health research in addition to Schema Theory, Sport Commitment Model, and Psychological Continuum Model as applicable models to analyze. Besides these cognitive behavioral models (Tsai, 2005), ecological perspectives have incorporated personal, psychological, and environmental factors that influence participation in physical activity (Henderson & Bialeschki, 2005). The common models that may provide a theoretical foundation for understanding more about sports, sport management, and physical activity interventions discussed briefly as examples in this paper include: HBM, TPB, Social Cognition and Self-efficacy, TTM (i.e., stage changes), Social Support, Enjoyment, and Social Ecology. The Health Belief Model proposes that people participate in physical activity or any healthy behavior because they want to avoid illness. An individual considers his or her perceived susceptibility, severity of the illness, benefits of being healthy, barriers to the behavior, cues to action, and self-efficacy (Glanz & Rimer, 1995). Decisions are then made relative to how important disease avoidance is to an individual and what physical activity, exercise, or sport behavior is needed to mitigate the potential problems. HBM may be linked to prescription (e.g., doctor’s orders) more than to choice, although individuals can determine whether and how they choose to be physically active through sports. The Theory of Planned Behavior is a widely applied cognitive model. The theory was developed by Ajzen (1991) by building on some of his earlier work. One assumption of this model is that people need to feel they have control over their behavior, which includes control over opportunities, resources, and skills. An individual has behavioral, normative, and control beliefs about a behavior such as physical activity (Beaton & Funk, 2008). These complex beliefs are determinants of intentions to change a behavior (Seefeldt, Malina, & Clark, 2002) such as in using sports opportunities to become more physically active. Social Cognitive Models suggest that individual behavior is affected by the environment, personal attributes, and the behavior itself. It may include elements related to outcome expectations, observational learning, and reinforcement (Glanz & Rimer, 1995). The self-efficacy model (Bandura, 1994) is a commonly applied social cognitive theory. Self-efficacy is behavior specific and suggests that the confidence one has in his/her ability and skills will influence whether or not involvement in any activity occurs or continues. Dishman, Motl, & Saunders (2004), for example, found that self-efficacy resulted in increased physical activity among school-aged students, and one way to get girls more active was by developing the self- efficacy through practical skill development and monitoring, which included the use of sports skills. Other cognitive models that have implications for sport and physical activity interventions include the sport commitment model (Scanlan, Carpenter, Simons, Schmidt, & Keeler, 1993) as well as self-determination theory (Hagger & Chatzisarantis, 2007). The Transtheoretical Model (Prochaska & Velieer, 1997) is an extension of the theories of change model developed by Prochaska and DiClemente (1983). Four central tenets comprise the transtheoretical model of behavior change: people move through stages to change, processes for change are identified, decisional balance must be reached (i.e., regarding benefits and costs), and self-efficacy and confidence are acquired. The five stages in the model include: pre-contemplation (i.e., not planning to participate), contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance or termination. Identifying the stage an individual is in relates directly to motivational readiness. People, however, move back and forth between the stages over time as people drop in and out of physical activities including sports. Further, change is difficult because physical activity behavior is complex, determining stage is difficult, change and participation in physical activity is influenced by numerous outside issues, and stage progression does not necessarily lead to behavior change (Adams & White, 2005). The Social Support Model emphasizes that the support of important others (e.g., family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, leaders of sport programs) are important in whether an individual adapts and adheres to physical activity. The support may be informational, emotional, structural, or evaluative (Seefeldt et al., 2000). To encourage and sustain any type of physical or sport activity, the source and the intent of social support must be considered. Another model that is congruent with conventional wisdom that emerged from a leisure perspective is the Enjoyment Model (Henderson & Ainsworth, 2002), although it has not been rigorously tested. None of the health models directly consider the connections between enjoyment, leisure, and physical activity. The model illustrates how enjoyment is a critical factor in mitigating constraints and emphasizing intrinsic benefits of physical activity participation. The opportunity to K.A. Henderson / Sport Management Review 12 (2009) 57–65 61
  • 6. choose enjoyable activities that also enhance one’s physical and mental health is important (Coleman & Iso-Ahola, 1995; Iso- Ahola, 1994; Wankel, 1993). If involvement in physical activity leads to better health, one enjoys life more and lives longer. If one enjoys an activity, he or she is more likely to continue participation. Enjoyment may also be considered an element within other models. For example, enjoyment is often related to self-efficacy and how people feel about their abilities during participation. Similarly, social cognitive and social support theories relate to the interpersonal ways that physical activity and enjoyment might be reinforced by positive and fun relationships with family and friends. The final model discussed in this paper that moves beyond individual motivation is the Social Ecological Model that has guided much of the recentworkrelatedtoactive living. Thismodel may emergeas a useful way tolook at sportsparticipationon a variety of levels. Social ecology has been used as a context for examining the possibilities for physical activity for individuals within their social and physical environments (Sallis, Bauman, & Pratt, 1998). Stokols (1992) suggested that the healthfulness of a situation and well-being of participants are influenced by multiple facets of their environments. According to McLeroy, Bibeau, Steckler, & Glanz (1988) as well as Sallis et al., the elements that facilitate or discourage healthy behaviors such as physical activity participation through exercise, sport, or daily living include: intrapersonal, interpersonal or social, physical environments such as organizational and community resources, and policies. The ecological environment consists of constraints (i.e., barriers) to as well as enablers (i.e., determinants, correlates, affordances) for any type of physical activity. These models have been the foundation for research on physical activity interventions, although most theories have been applied to adults and not to young people. Explaining participation in all types of activities by these theories has met with mixed results (Seefeldt et al., 2002). However, the models may have foundations to offer in considering further how sports can be a contributor to healthier living and how sports organizations might better develop programs and market sports that can promote physical activity for greater numbers of people. Several models have been empirically tested related to physical activity interventions. 1.4. Physical activity interventions Research clearly links health and physical activity. The consuming question is how can interventions, programs, activities, facilities, built environments, and particular activities (e.g., sports) be designed to promote physical activity based on what is known about individuals and environments. The evidence has been slow to develop (Lin & Fawkes, 2005; Priest, Armstrong, Doyle, & Waters, 2008). Education and social marketing are the sin qua non of interventions, but how these strategies work within sports organizations and in communities is a big question. In this section, some research is examined to give a sense of physical activity intervention possibilities. However, few of these studies examined aspects of sports. Review papers have been written regarding various aspects of physical activity. For example, initial reviews by Sallis et al. (1998) and King, Jeffery, Fridinger, & Dusenbury (1995) confirmed that little was known about environmental or policy interventions influencing physical activity. Recent reviews (e.g., Humpel, Owen, & Leslie, 2002; Kaczynski & Henderson, 2007; Owen, Humpel, Leslie, Bauman, & Sallis, 2004; Saelens, Sallis, & Frank, 2003) have found more consistent positive associations between physical activity and factors in the built environment such as access to facilities, safety, aesthetics, and particular amenities. However, few studies have examined experimental trials to determine which specific interventions or evidence-based practices are best (Morris & Choi, 2005). As described earlier in the paper, Priest et al.’s (2008) review found controlled evaluation studies regarding how sports organizations contributed to increasing sport participation as non-existent. Evidence-based practice is the foundation for exploring health concerns in the 21st century and may offer opportunities in exploring how sports can encourage greater physical activity. Evidence-based practice is needed to know whether interventions work, to determine cost-effectiveness, to appraise the strengths of particular programs, and to determine limitations and gaps in available evidence (Lin & Fawkes, 2005). Research and evaluation are needed to determine what interventions and strategies facilitate people becoming and remaining physically active, but this research applied specifically to physical activity, exercise, and sports in communities is only beginning. Morris and Choi (2005) reviewed community and lifestyle/active living interventions. One of the concerns they raised about intervention studies were whether or not a true control condition was used, a comparative condition, or none at all. Often times a control or comparative condition is not possible to use in determining whether or not physical activity behavior changed because of a particular intervention. Morris and Choi also noted that in applying theories (i.e., planned behavior, transtheoretical, social cognition), a variety of strategies might be used such as advice, assessment, written material, exercise vouchers, support person, group activities, telephone contact, competition, and website access to name only a few. They found no one type of intervention was more or less useful in getting people to be more active. All behaviors are complex due to internal and external factors (i.e. social ecology). Some interventions work better for some people than for others, which suggested that many strategies as well as opportunities are needed. Some physical activity interventions have targeted particular groups like youth, older adults, racial and ethnic minorities, and people with disabilities. For example, generally researchers have found that older adults do not wish to be physically active in formal groups (King, Rejeski, & Buchner, 1998). However, some research has been conducted related to older adults and competitive sport. Lyons and Dionigi (2007) explained the value of competitive sports because of the community it builds and the resistance to aging. King et al. concluded that physical activity participation in older age was a lifelong process influenced by earlier life experiences and stages of development. Little is known, however, about physical activity interventions that might be effective with low-income older adults and the oldest old people. K.A. Henderson / Sport Management Review 12 (2009) 57–6562
  • 7. Youth have been a particular interest for physical activity interventions due to the rising childhood obesity problem. Sports are attractive to many young people because they afford opportunities to be active and have fun. Youth sports as a means for being physically active also provide developmental (e.g., social, psychological, physical) benefits. Seefeldt et al. (2002) noted that if physical activity becomes habitual in children, it will carry over to later life. Further, the contribution of youth sports to physical activity in adulthood may be attributed to the socialization process that occurs when adolescents persist in sports. Seefeldt et al. concluded: The promotion of sports and physical activity during childhood and adolescence is justified on the basis of direct benefits to physical fitness, psychological development and social confidence. However, the carry-over of benefits accrued at earlier ages depends on continued renewal throughout the lifespan. (p. 152). Recommendations have been made for physical activity interventions for children (e.g., Ward, Saunders, & Pate, 2007) that can include focusing on specific sports for particular developmental benefits. Some interventions have been instituted especially to encourage more participation in youth sports. For example, Hill and Green (2008) used manning theory (i.e., policies regarding how many people can be on a team) to explore whether increased opportunities for participation, skill acquisition, satisfaction, and enjoyment were found if youth teams had a no substitute rule (i.e., no one sits on the bench). Youth were more active if they all got to play and perhaps especially more so if the team was short-handed. Lubans and Morgan (2008) used social cognitive theory to examine how an extra-curricular school sport program could promote lifestyle and lifetime activity for adolescents. They used an intervention and control group with pedometers to measure activity and found that behavior modifications and monitoring were successful in getting adolescents to be more active in a variety of sport and fitness activities. People with disabilities also have not been studied to a great extent related to physical activity and recreational sports interventions. People with disabilities engage in far less moderate or vigorous activity than people without disabilities (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996). Researchers have shown that the value of physical activity and sports participation for many people with disabilities is that it prevents secondary illnesses as well as provides a normalizing opportunity for participants (Anderson, Wozencroft, & Bedini, 2008; Fernhall, Heffernan, Jae, & Hedrick, 2008; Henderson & Bedini, 1995). Although limited, researchers have examined the value of participation for people with disabilities in elite sports such as the Paralympics (Vanlandewijck, 2006). A major concern of Healthy People 2010 (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2000) is the health disparities that exist in the U.S. Racial/ethnic minority groups and low-income populations are less likely than non-Hispanic whites to meet the guidelines for physical activity (Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2005). The pervasive reasons for less activity among minority groups generally includes low socioeconomic status, lack of suitable activity programs, concerns for safety, and the importance attached to physical activity by the cultural or ethnic group (Seefeldt et al., 2002). More research has been undertaken in recent years, but additional work is necessary to understand environments for physical activity (e.g., correlates, ‘‘friendly and unfriendly’’ places, discrimination) related to promoting physical activity through possible interventions (Taylor, Floyd, Whitt-Glover, & Brooks, 2007) like sports. Many types of physical activity participation (e.g., sports, exercise, walking) are possible, and particular interventions also may work better with some activities than others. Morris and Choi (2005) as well as Seefeldt et al. (2002) concluded that successful physical activity interventions tailored programs to individual needs, accounted for fitness levels, allowed for control over the activity, and provided social support from family, friends, and peers. The initiation and maintenance of regular physical activity whether exercise, walking, outdoor activities, or sports especially in adults, also depends on biological and sociocultural factors across the lifespan. The Task Force on Community Prevention Services (2002) identified three major strategies for physical activity intervention in communities: informational, behavioral and social approaches, and environmental and policy interventions. Based on this research, for example, intentional community-wide campaigns focused on physical activity opportunities (including sports opportunities) were strongly recommended along with social approaches like school based PE and extra- curricular opportunities as well as social support linkages in communities and individual-adapted health behavior change programs. After-school programs especially may be an important way intentionally to promote physical activity and sports because they do not interfere with academic performance (Story, Kaphingst, & French, 2006). Lubans and Morgan (2005) recommended that innovative extra-curricular school sport participation should incorporate inclusive, engaging and theoretically driven approaches to promote physical activity (i.e., regardless of athletic ability) through skill development and monitoring, self-efficacy development using goal setting and self- management, opportunities for practice, modeling, and social (e.g., parent and peer) support. Mowen, Kaczynski, & Cohen (2008) further recommended that park features and park programming (i.e., a focus on getting people more active through sports) are needed if parks are to be used to their fullest and if physical activity is to increase in communities. Related to intentional opportunities for physical activity and sports participation is the examination of environmental and policy issues. Strong evidence exists for the creation of enhanced access to places for physical activity and sport combined with informational outreach. Sallis et al. (2006) concluded that multilevel interventions based on ecological models that target individuals, social environments, physical environments, and policies must be addressed to promote physical activity. However, sports are only one element, and often not a visible element, addressed in these interventions. Ironically, few researchers have examined sports as a means for promoting physical activity, even in an arena like youth sports. Yet, many groups in communities have the capacity to promote sports through parks and recreation, school intramurals, not-for-profit community organizations (e.g., YMCA’s, Big Brothers and Big Sisters) and private sports organizations (e.g., soccer leagues, swim clubs). The challenge, K.A. Henderson / Sport Management Review 12 (2009) 57–65 63
  • 8. according to Lin and Fawkes (2005), is to show how any kind of activity program including successful sports programs can lead to measurable changes in physical activity and ultimately health outcomes. 2. Conclusions about physical activity and sport management Promoting physical activity is vital. Sports are ubiquitous in society and are significant for many reasons. Therefore, identifying additional ways to more fully connect health and sports is essential. The challenge for the future is to increase physical activity levels to glean health benefits and sustain them over a period of time (Morris & Choi, 2005). Sports offer opportunities to get people more active. People choose sports because they are fun. Therefore, sports participation offers an enjoyable way to potentially become more active and maintain activity. Not all sport managers have the mandate or capacity to encourage sports participation, but these opportunities exist for other managers concerned with recreational sports. Further, the sports management literature has been heavily weighed toward sport as entertainment and toward issues of organizational management. Perhaps a greater balance might be sought in the future toward research that also addresses participation. The normative theory of sport development described by Green (2005) with mass participation as the base of a pyramid leading to high performance sports at the top offers a way for sport management researchers to consider how their efforts might be expanded. Because many interventions designed to improve physical activity habits primarily have focused on exercise programs (Dishman & Buckworth, 1996), Kilpatrick, Hebert, & Bartholomew, 2005) advocated that a logical next step in developing and implementing physical activity interventions should include recreational sports activities. The motivators for sports participation are likely quite different than the motivators to exercise for most people. Kilpatrick et al. concluded that ‘‘it is likely that recreational forms of physical activity are enjoyable in and of themselves and, as a result, are linked more closely to desirable motivational strategies’’ (p. 94). A unique asset that sports have is that they are opportunities for enjoyment. Enjoyment, however, is also built on the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and aspirations individuals hold regarding active sport participation (Henderson & Ainsworth, 2002). Sports offer the opportunity for physical activity by choice (Henderson & Bialeschki, 2005). Much more is yet to be learned about how to manage sports as a means for promoting active lifestyles for both children and adults. The relationship between sport management and physical activity promotion need not be a paradox. Sport management encompasses a broad focus that should include Sport and sports. Entertainment and participation are both important. Although the literature about sport management has not focused predominantly on physical activity, the possibilities in this area exist for future research and practice. The high performance and competitive aspects of sport hold an important place in society, but additional emphasis on sports for all offers a further opportunity to promote both physical and mental health. 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