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Young People and Physical Activity - Consultancy Report. Deliverable 1 Preliminary Literature Review


Hughes, CJ, Young People and Physical Activity - Consultancy Report. Deliverable 1 Preliminary Literature Review, Link Youth Health Service and the DHHS Tasmania (Population Health), 1 (2011) [Consultants Report]

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The dramatic growth in childhood obesity a major public health issue facing public health agencies worldwide. (Delormier et al., 2009 p. 185). A complex combination of changes has contributed to this shift. The so]called eobesity crisisf has been variously linked to the trend away from family meals, towards egrazingf and eating alone, changes in parental employment , availability and marketing of foods and drinks, gobesogenic environmentsh and general societal trends that encourage overeating 3 and little physical activity (Delormier et al., 2009 p. 215, Salvy et al., 2008a p. 195). However, as Delormier and colleagues note, despite widespread social changes being implicated in the rise of obesity, efforts to reverse the trend have predominantly focused on the behaviour of individuals (2009 p. 215). They note that an important limitation of studying eating strictly as an individual behaviour, is that it exaggerates gthe extent to which rational choice drives what people choose to eat, and underestimates the extent to which eating is embedded in the flow of day]to]day life. Peoplefs eating patterns form in relation to other people, alongside everyday activities that take place in family groups, work and school. Eating does involve isolated choice, but it is choice conditioned by the context in which it occursh (Delormier et al., 2009 p. 217). Socio]environmental approaches, by contrast, emphasise the importance of understanding gthe social, built, and natural environments in which people choose food and engage in physical activityh (Maley et al., 2010 p. 185). Given that most adolescents spend a large proportion of their time at school, it is important to take account of the ways in which the school physical and social environments impact upon studentsf echoicesf. For instance, a recent American study noted that gMost secondary schools (78%) have student]accessible vending machinesc and 34% of high schools permit students to use vending machines at any timeh (Patrick and Nicklas, 2005 p. 86). It seems likely that the situation in Australia is similar. This project is innovative due to its focus on two interrelated issues a) enormative environmentsf within schools, and b) the ways in which normative perceptions function as a form of epeer influencef. With respect to the first issue, this document outlines a number of relevant studies including one on weight]related teasing (which is associated with body dissatisfaction and eating disorders) in the school setting (Haines et al., 2006), and another which investigates the eesocial contagionff of dieting and unhealthy weight control behaviours (use of laxatives, self]induced vomiting, fasting) among female school students (Eisenberg et al., 2005 p. 1170). With respect to the second issue, research on the impact of peer influences has been heralded as ehaving important implications for obesity treatment and prevention. Cross]sectional studies have also shown that youth physical activity is related to social support and modelling by peers (Hardman 2010: 4). Peers and friends may act as a guide regarding what, and how much, it is appropriate for adolescents to eat (Salvy et al., 2008a p. 185) This and other issues will now be discussed with reference to the literature.

Item Details

Item Type:Consultants Report
Keywords:youth, physical activity, young people
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health and community services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Other health
Objective Field:Other health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Hughes, CJ (Dr Clarissa Hughes)
ID Code:76011
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2012-02-22
Last Modified:2012-02-22

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