Sociocultural Aspects of Physical Activity

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, March 1994 | Go to article overview

Sociocultural Aspects of Physical Activity


In the U.S. there are numerous agencies, public and private, who support physical activity for its potential health benefits. Kuwait is a country which is aware of current trends in disease prevention, yet, the general public seems to give them little credence. The subjects in this study were Kuwaiti boys (n = 133) and girls (n = 140), 15 to 16 years old, selected from Kuwaiti public schools. They were asked to answer a survey regarding physical education (PE), physical activity, and personal health habits. The boys were asked to take part in health-related fitness tests. Standard deviation, mean, mode, and percentile ranking were calculated. All students took PE once a week for a 45 minute lesson in the 1991-92 school year. Reported physical activity levels outside of PE were very low, 42% of the boys, and 79% of the girls, were not involved in any other physical activity outside PE. Daily tasks excluded physical activity, 71% of the boys, and 94% of the girls went to school by car or bus. Health-related test results for the boys were astounding. All results for all the subjects were comparable to the 50th percentile of the American norms published in the 1980 AAHPERD Health-related Fitness Test Manual, in some cases results were below the 50th percentile. If the boys, results are used as an indicator, Kuwaiti girls, who are socially discouraged from participating in vigorous physical activities, may have extremely low physical fitness levels. Physical education must provide vigorous physical activity for these girls as it may well be the only physical activity they have. It is apparent that only a national study of all Kuwaiti students will provide the base of information needed to scrutinize the health fitness levels of the children of Kuwait, and ways in which PE can be used to enhance it.

Examination of Racial Diversity Among Foutball Coaches st NCAA Division I-A and I-AA institutions

Dean F. Anderson, Iowa State University

This investigation examined career option viability and position access among college athletic directors and football coaches through the examination of race of person holding positions at NCAA Division I-A and I-AA institutions. Institutions which were identified as having a history of primarily black students and faculty on campus were not included in the sample. The remaining 105 I-A and 73 I-AA institutions were requested by mail to supply a copy of their 1990 (I-A) or 1991 (I-AA) media guides. Media guides were obtained from a (84%) of the I-A and 61 (84%) of the I-AA institutions in the sample. Data were compiled for each athletic director and football coach. Results show that at I-A institutions only 4% of the athletic directors, 4% of the head coaches, 7% of the offensive coordinators, 7% of the defensive coordinators, and 21% of the assistant coaches were black, while at I-AA institutions the percentages were 2%, 0%, 4%, 9%, and 15%. If compared to the percentage of players who were black, there seems to be an underrepresentation of blacks at these positions. As has been found in previous research, occupancy of coaching positions in college football was also found to be associated with centrality of position played. Sixty percent of all coaches in each division were found to have played the central positions of quarterback, offensive line, or linebacker. Results also show that position played was associated with race of assistant coach. White assistant coaches were more likely to have played central positions (63%) than assistant coaches who were black (37%). Lastly, position coached also seems to be associated with centrality of position and race. Black coaches were more likely than white coaches to be coaching the peripheral positions of wide receiver, running back, and defensive line, while they were less likely than white coaches to be coordinators and quarterback coaches. This examination of the formal hierarchy of intercollegiate football suggests that racial discrimination functions so that blacks are under-represented among these visible and prestigious positions. …

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