PS285 Chapter Notes -Human Penis Size, Cultural Capital, Adipose Tissue

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Published on 29 Jan 2013
Chapter 10: Physical Activity and Exercise
Physical Activity Definitions:
Physical activity is used to describe a wide range of activities that involve energy
expenditure by the human bodyincludes walking, dancing, DIY, gardening, etc.
Modern Lifestyle:
- Hunter-gathers needed to expend substantial energy on a regular basis to
ensure access to food and shelter
- The rapid increase in technology in industrialized societies over the past
generation has led to a much more sedentary lifestyle
- This is a consequence of reduced need for energy expenditure in all spheres of
human lifework, transportation, home maintenance
- A recent UK survey indicated that 60% of men and 72% of women do not
exercise to recommended levels
- Among those who are the most active the common activities are walking,
gardening, DIY and “ball games”
- Evidence is now suggesting even walking is becoming less common
- Fortunately, there is some lesser evidence that people are taking up more
leisure-time physical activity such as walks over two miles, swimming, keep fit
and yoga.
Variation in Participation
- Participation in physical activity is linked to age, sex, socio-economical status
and education background
- Men from manual social classes are more active but this was due to greater
occupational activity
- Adults from manual social classes participated less in sporting and leisure-
related exercise activities
- One problem with many of the estimates of participation of physical activity is
that they often focus on leisure-time activity, especially organized sports
- International Physical Ability Questionnaire: requires participants to complete
a daily record for seven days activity in four domainswork related, active
transport, gardening and domestic, and leisure than acquire measure of
energy in each
Evidence suggests that the majority of people have very sedentary
working styles and most women participate little in leisure-time
physical activity
Physical Activity and Health
- The World Health Organization identified physical inactivity as a major cause
of death and chronic disease worldwide
- A particular impact of inactivity has been the increase in levels of obesity in the
population. Between 1980 and 2002 the rates of obesity in England increased
- About two thirds of women and three quarters of men aged 5574 years are
classed as overweight or obese. Rates are higher among those from manual
social classes
- This has led to a series of governmental reports recommending increased
participation in physical activity.
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Environmental Cues
- Environmental psychologists emphasize the importance of considering the
‘behavioural setting’ or physical/social context within which behaviour occurs
- This includes the ‘built environment’ – where we live and work; these
environments foster inactivity, and hence obesification
- Cochrane et al. (2009) obtained environmental data for an English Midlands
city and combined this with information from a community survey of
participation in physical activity
- Statistical analysis identified a number of environmental predictors of physical
activity suggesting that, the more accessible those places, the more likely
people are to walk to them.
- Salmon and Hall found that personal barriers (i.e., lack of time, other priorities)
predicted the extent of involvement in physical activities more than
environmental barriers like weather, cost and safety
- Social environmental factors more important that physical in predicting
exercise participation
- Most important predictor of participation in physical activity: perceived
behavioural control, behavioural intention, habit and excising peer
- Most important environmental: accessibility to facilities
Cultural Context
- In Western societies, the muscular physique is presented as the ideal male
form. Bodybuilding exercises reflect a bodily culture that is in line with
American values of masculine prowess
- Ability to attain this physical shape is promised to those who participate in
various fitness gyms. However, access to these somewhat elite facilities is often
restricted to those with money
- Aggressive sporting activities are also promoted among the middle class as a
training ground for developing an aggressive business attitude, and also the
making of useful social contacts
- Different religions have different concepts of the body
Forms of Christianity have traditionally held a negative view of
excessive concern about the body
This has been suggested as a reason for the poorer performance of
athletes from more Catholic countries in sporting events
Psychological Models
- Various social cognition models of health behaviour have been used to explain
variations in the extent of participation in physical activity among adults
- Three that have attracted the most research:
1) Theories of Reasoned Action and Planned Behaviour
- TRA proposes that behaviour is predicted by intention to engage in such
behaviour, which in turn is predicted by the individual’s attitude towards the
behaviour and the perceived social norm.
- Attitudinal component: function of perceived consequences of participating
and a personal evaluation of those consequences while the perceived norm is a
function of the perceived expectations to participate and motivation to comply
with those expectations
- The TPB introduced perceived behavioural control into the basic TRA model:
the extent to which they believed they had control over a behaviour
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