• Anthropometric and physical performance characteristics of top-elite, elite and non-elite youth female team handball players

      Moss, Samantha L.; McWhannell, Nicola; Michalsik, Lars B.; Twist, Craig (2015-02-16)
      In order to maximise the potential for success, developing nations need to produce superior systems to identify and develop talent, which requires comprehensive and up-to-date values on elite players. This study examined the anthropometric and physical characteristics of youth female team handball players (16.07 ± 1.30 y) in non-elite (n= 47), elite (n= 37) and top-elite players (n= 29). Anthropometric profiling included sum of eight skinfolds, body mass, stature, girths, breadths and somatotype. Performance tests included 20 m sprint, counter movement jump, throwing velocity, repeated shuttle sprint and jump ability test, and Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1. Youth top-elite players had greater body mass, lean mass, stature, limb girths and breadths than elite and non-elite players, while only stature and flexed arm were higher in elite compared to non-elite players (all P < 0.05). Sum of skinfolds and waist-to-hip ratio were similar between groups (P > 0.05). Top-elite performed better in most performance tests compared to both elite and non-elite players (P < 0.05), although maximal and repeated10 m sprints were similar between standard (P > 0.05). Elite outperformed non-elite players in throwing velocity only. Findings reveal that non-elite players compare unfavourably to top-elite international European players in many anthropometric and performance characteristics, and differ in few characteristics compared to elite European club team players. This study is useful for emerging team handball nations in improving talent identification processes.
    • From Surveillance to Intervention: Overview and Baseline Findings for the Active City of Liverpool Active Schools and SportsLinx (A-CLASS) Project

      McWhannell, Nicola; Foweather, Lawrence; Graves, Lee; Henaghan, Jayne; Ridgers, Nicola D.; Stratton, Gareth; University of Chester; Liverpool John Moores University, Laude Lady Elizabeth Junior School, Deakin University, Swansea University (MDPI, 2018-03-23)
      This paper outlines the implementation of a programme of work that started with the development of a population-level children’s health, fitness and lifestyle study in 1996 (SportsLinx) leading to selected interventions one of which is described in detail: the Active City of Liverpool, Active Schools and SportsLinx (A-CLASS) Project. The A-CLASS Project aimed to quantify the effectiveness of structured and unstructured physical activity (PA) programmes on children’s PA, fitness, body composition, bone health, cardiac and vascular structures, fundamental movement skills, physical self-perception and self-esteem. The study was a four-arm parallel-group school-based cluster randomised controlled trial (clinical trials no. NCT02963805), and compared different exposure groups: a high intensity PA (HIPA) group, a fundamental movement skill (FMS) group, a PA signposting (PASS) group and a control group, in a two-schools-per-condition design. Baseline findings indicate that children’s fundamental movement skill competence levels are low-to-moderate, yet these skills are inversely associated with percentage body fat. Outcomes of this project will make an important contribution to the design and implementation of children’s PA promotion initiatives.
    • Perceptions and measurement of playtime physical activity in English primary school children: The influence of socioeconomic status

      McWhannell, Nicola; Triggs, Carmel; Moss, Samantha (Sage, 2017-11-27)
      Children in areas of low socioeconomic status might face barriers to physical activity during school playtime in comparison to their high socioeconomic status counterparts. However, limited research within the area currently prevents evidence-based interventions from being targeted appropriately. This exploratory study aimed to assess and compare playtime physical activity levels and perceptions of physical activity in primary school children from two schools of different socioeconomic status. Fifty-three children wore an accelerometer during playtime for three school days while 33 children participated in single-sex focus groups to elicit their experiences of physical activity during playtime. Results revealed that children from the low socioeconomic status school spent more time in sedentary activities (P = 0.001) and spent less time in moderate and moderate to vigorous physical activity (P = 0.001) than children from the high socioeconomic status school. Despite some between-school similarities in their perceptions of physical activity, differences resonated in their reasons for taking part in physical activity, perceptions of the play environment and ideas to improve physical activity. These findings contribute to current research and provide in-depth information from active users of the play environment that could be useful to inform new interventions for schools of varying socioeconomic status.
    • Physical activity guidelines and cardiovascular risk in children: a cross sectional analysis to determine whether 60 minutes is enough

      Füssenich, Lotte M.; Boddy, Lynne M.; Green, Daniel J.; Graves, Lee E. F.; Foweather, Lawrence; Dagger, Rebecca M.; McWhannell, Nicola; Henaghan, Jayne; Ridgers, Nicola D.; Stratton, Gareth; et al. (BioMed Central, 2016-01-22)
      Background: Physical activity reduces cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends children engage in 60 min daily moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). The effect of compliance with this recommendation on childhood cardiovascular risk has not been empirically tested. To evaluate whether achieving recommendations results in reduced composite-cardiovascular risk score (CCVR) in children, and to examine if vigorous PA (VPA) has independent risk-reduction effects. Methods PA was measured using accelerometry in 182 children (9–11 years). Subjects were grouped according to achievement of 60 min daily MVPA (active) or not (inactive). CCVR was calculated (sum of z-scores: DXA body fat %, blood pressure, VO2peak, flow mediated dilation, left ventricular diastolic function; CVR score ≥1SD indicated ‘higher risk’). The cohort was further split into quintiles for VPA and odds ratios (OR) calculated for each quintile. Results Active children (92 (53 boys)) undertook more MVPA (38 ± 11 min, P < 0.001), had greater VO2peak (4.5 ± 0.8 ml/kg/min P < 0.001), and lower fat % (3.9 ± 1.1 %, P < 0.001) than inactive. No difference were observed between active and inactive for CCVR or OR (P > 0.05). CCVR in the lowest VPA quintile was significantly greater than the highest quintile (3.9 ± 0.6, P < 0.05), and the OR was 4.7 times higher. Conclusion Achievement of current guidelines has positive effects on body composition and cardiorespiratory fitness, but not CCVR. Vigorous physical activity appears to have beneficial effects on CVD risk, independent of moderate PA, implying a more prescriptive approach may be needed for future VPA guidelines.