Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Thirst for Drink Knowledge- How Coaches and Physical Education Teachers in Singapore Measure Up in an Exercise Hydration Knowledge Quiz

Academic journal article Journal of Physical Education and Sport

Thirst for Drink Knowledge- How Coaches and Physical Education Teachers in Singapore Measure Up in an Exercise Hydration Knowledge Quiz

Article excerpt

Introduction

Weather conditions for Singapore, over the year are a minimum 23 to 26°C to a maximum 31 to 34°C and relative humidity ranges from 90% in early morning to 60% in the mid-afternoon, and is 100% after it rains, according to data provided by the National Environment Agency (NEA) Moreover, Singapore is getting hotter with an increase in temperature of 0.25 degree Celsius per decade based on data from 1948-2008 (National Environment Agency [NEA], 2009). Physical Education is a compulsory subject for about 510,714 school-going youths aged 7 to 17 and PE is conducted outdoors only before 1030 hrs or after 1530 hrs. PE sessions average 120-150 minutes per week, according to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Education of Singapore. Participation and training for sport, 2-3 times a week for up to 3 hours per session after school curriculum hours is also common (Ministry of Education Singapore [MOE], 2011; MOE, n.d.). Both PE and sport sessions are often conducted outdoor and this exposes children and adolescents to heat stress, which is exacerbated by physical exertion since metabolic heat is generated by muscular contraction.

Research into exercise hydration issues has come to the forefront in recent years, especially in the Western world but is still at its infancy, ironically, in the Tropics. A Singapore-based study on 40 male adolescent field hockey players aged 12-13 showed that 97.5% arrived at a 4-hour hockey tournament already dehydrated (UrineSG > 1.020), increasing to 100% at the end of the competition. Mean decrease in pre-to-post competition body mass amounted to 3.26% despite chilled drinks being freely available for player consumption throughout the tournament (Chia & Swarup, 2012). The significance of the loss of fluids equivalent to more than 2% of body mass is that performance is negatively affected (Swaka et al, 2007).The results demonstrated that Singaporean youths do not adequately hydrate before competition and the dehydration is exacerbated, immediately after competition. This was in spite of three types of chilled drinks made available for player consumption at the venue. It is also important to note that on a typical day in Singapore (Air temperature: 30-34 °C, WBGT: 24-29 °C; Relative humidity: 60-80%) the wet bulb globe temperature index (Epstein & Moran, 2006; Parsons, 2006) is usually 26-30°C. This means that Singaporean youth are exposed to a high heat stress index, when exercising outdoors and this increases their vulnerability to heat illnesses (Armstrong et al., 2007). Furthermore, dehydration in such climatic conditions delays the onset of skin vasodilation and sweating (Sawka & Coyle, 1999) which may negate the physiological advantages of heat acclimatization (Buskirk, Iampietro & Bass, 1958; Sawka, Hubbard, Francesconi & Horstman, 1983). Therefore, youths exercising outdoors in Singapore, during the daylight hours are at a high risk of suffering from heat disorders and other associated injuries which are preventable in the first instance.

A prior survey of 586 Singaporean youths aged between 9 and 17 years established that 47% of the participants reported that PE teachers and sport coaches were their main knowledge sources for exercise hydration (Chia et al., unpublished). Yet in Singapore there are no data on the exercise hydration knowledge of PE teachers and sport coaches, even though schools are instructed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to only employ qualified PE teachers and certified coaches to work with youths.

Research findings about the nutrition and hydration knowledge reported elsewhere show mixed results with some showing poor knowledge of fluid replenishment among high school coaches (Geijer, Pitney & Brandenburg, 2009) and others showing different results for knowledge of sport nutrition among athletic trainers (AT), strength and conditioning specialists (SCS) and athletes in the USA (Torres-McGehee et al., 2012). In the latter study, the authors reported that while ATs and SCS had adequate knowledge (equal or >75% score in sport nutrition quiz), only 35. …

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