The Faculty of Life Sciences is predominantly based on the Chester Campus, with sports-related and computer-related courses also delivered at Warrington. A number of specialist courses are also delivered at our partner associate college at Reaseheath in Cheshire, as well as some delivery outside the UK. The Faculty also supports several research centres.

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  • Co-design and development of a multi-component anxiety management programme for people with an intellectual disability

    Acton, Danny; Waites, Robert; Jaydeokar, Sujeet; Jones, Steven; Cheshire and Wirral Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Centre for Autism, Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Intellectual Disability; University of Chester (Emerald, 2023-01-13)
    Purpose – This paper aims to understand the lived experience of people with intellectual disability ofvtheir anxiety and of being co-design partners in developing a multi-component approach to the management of anxiety. Design/methodology/approach – The development of an anxiety manual and programme was part of a service development which allowed existing and established psychological therapies to be adapted for people with intellectual disability. A qualitative approach was used to better understand the views of people who experienced anxiety on a daily basis. The feedback generated was used to make modifications to the manuals and the anxiety management programme. Findings – The study has demonstrated the value of involving people with intellectual disability in the coproduction of an anxiety management programme. Additional findings identified the real-life challenges and experiences of the impact anxiety has on people’s lives. Originality/value – To our knowledge, this is the first study to involve people with intellectual disability in developing an anxiety management programme as co-production partners. This paper underlines the value of understanding and involving people as co-production partners in developing clinical interventions.
  • The Change in Test Cricket Performance Following the Introduction of T20 Cricket: Implications for Tactical Strategy

    Scott, Nicholls; Lee, Pote; Edd, Thomson; Nicole, Theis; University of Chester; University of Derby; University of Gloucester (Indiana University–Purdue University, 2023-02-02)
    International cricket has evolved from predominantly Test cricket, to shorter formats of competition. With the high player overlap between formats, the introduction of Twenty20 (T20) cricket is proposed to have influenced Test cricket and therefore the tactical strategies coaches and players should attempt to implement. The aim of this study was to identify the change in specific Test cricket performance metrics following the introduction of T20 cricket across a 20-year period (2000-2020). A total of 667 matches involving the top eight International Cricket Council (ICC) Test-cricket nations were analyzed. Overall, the introduction of T20 cricket has been associated with a change in the way in which Test cricket is currently played. Results identified significantly ( p < 0.001) more runs being scored by sixes and less by fours. A significant (17.4%; p < 0.001) decrease was also present in the percentage of Test matches ending in draws (23.5% in 2000 to 6.4% in 2020). Run rates increased for five teams (India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, and Sri Lanka), remained constant for one team (West Indies), and decreased for two teams (Australia, England) across the entire period studied. However, there was no change in the number of days Test matches lasted, with the average number of days continuing to last into day five (4.5 decreasing to 4.3). Findings highlight that improving the ability to strike a greater number of sixes, increase the overall run rate, and facilitate strike rotation when batting to be a focus for coaches and players alike. Future studies should ascertain whether the introduction of T20 has had an effect on One Day International (ODI) performance variables while further considering the impact of home advantage and team quality, to facilitate enhanced tactical and strategic decision-making.
  • There You Are! Automated Detection of Indris’ Songs on Features Extracted from Passive Acoustic Recordings

    Ravaglia, Davide; Ferrario, Valeria; De Gregorio, Chiara; Carugati, Filippo; Raimondi, Teresa; Cristiano, Walter; Torti, Valeria; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Ratsimbazafy, Jonah; Valente, Daria; et al. (MDPI, 2023-01-09)
    Simple Summary: Identifying vocalisations of given species from passive acoustic recordings is a common step in bioacoustics. While manual labelling and identification are widespread, this approach is time-consuming, prone to errors, and unsustainable in the long term, given the vast amount of data collected through passive monitoring. We developed an automated classifier based on a convolutional neural network (CNN) for passive acoustic data collected via an in situ monitoring protocol. In particular, we aimed to detect the vocalisations of the only singing lemur, Indri indri. Our network achieved a very high performance (accuracy >90% and recall >80%) in song detection. Our study contributes significantly to the automated wildlife detection research field because it represents a first attempt to combine a CNN and acoustic features based on a third-octave band system for song detection. Moreover, the automated detection provided insights that will improve field data collection and fine-tune conservation practices. Abstract: The growing concern for the ongoing biodiversity loss drives researchers towards practical and large-scale automated systems to monitor wild animal populations. Primates, with most species threatened by extinction, face substantial risks. We focused on the vocal activity of the indri (Indri indri) recorded in Maromizaha Forest (Madagascar) from 2019 to 2021 via passive acoustics, a method increasingly used for monitoring activities in different environments. We first used indris’ songs, loud distinctive vocal sequences, to detect the species’ presence. We processed the raw data (66,443 10-min recordings) and extracted acoustic features based on the third-octave band system. We then analysed the features extracted from three datasets, divided according to sampling year, site, and recorder type, with a convolutional neural network that was able to generalise to recording sites and previously unsampled periods via data augmentation and transfer learning. For the three datasets, our network detected the song presence with high accuracy (>90%) and recall (>80%) values. Once provided the model with the time and day of recording, the high-performance values ensured that the classification process could accurately depict both daily and annual habits of indris‘ singing pattern, critical information to optimise field data collection. Overall, using this easy-to-implement species-specific detection workflow as a preprocessing method allows researchers to reduce the time dedicated to manual classification.
  • Importance of GNSS data quality assessment with novel control criteria in professional soccer match- play

    Shergill, Aman S.; Twist, Craig; Highton, Jamie; University of Chester (Taylor and Francis, 2021-07-06)
    This study assessed the quality of Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) signal during professional football match-play in different stadia with the application of a novel Data Quality Control Criteria (DQCC). DQCC was applied to GPS-files from match-play, derived using 10 Hz GNSS devices for 27 professional soccer players across a season to assess external load measures accounting for poor positioning quality (%) and horizontal dilution of precision. Performances were categorised on playing position as Wide or Central to assess proximity to stand cover on GNSS signal quality. An average reduction in total distance (11.2%), high-speed running distance (6.4%), sprint distance (7.0%), accelerations (10.3%) and decelerations (10.0%) (all P <0.01) was observed upon DQCC application. In worst cases, 90% of an external variable was affected by poor quality signal. Signal quality was worse for wide positioned players than centrally positioned (positioning quality 2.6% lower (P <0.01)), resulting in a larger reduction of external variables upon DQCC application. Large stands in football stadia affect the data quality of GNSS and is exacerbated for players positioned closer to stand cover. Viewing only data with acceptable Position Quality and HDOP meaningfully reduces measured external loads, which has implications for the application of match data.
  • Introducing open book examinations in clinical education: A case study

    Smith, Peter M.; Bowles, Joanne; Jellicoe, Mark; Mathur, Manu; Molyneux, Lorraine; Randell, Leigh-Ann; Smith, Richard N.; Valappil, Sabeel P.; University of Liverpool; The University of Law; Queen Mary University of London; University of Chester (Liverpool University Press, 2023-01-18)
    During the recent COVID-19 pandemic, in common with educators across the Higher Education sector, the School of Dentistry at the University of Liverpool reimagined the learning and assessment strategy by moving from proctored closed-book assessment to largely unmonitored open-book examinations (OBE). This article discusses understandings from an educator perspective following our implementation of OBE. The educator perspective discussed here indicates that OBE have the potential to be an authentic and acceptable form of assessment, but that some reframing of attitudes towards assessment from all stakeholders and their approaches to assessment is necessary when developing these innovative types of assessment.
  • Antibacterial, Remineralising and Matrix Metalloproteinase Inhibiting Scandium-doped Phosphate Glasses for Treatment of Dental Caries

    Valappil, Sabeel P.; Abou Neel, Ensanya A.; Pickup, David M.; Burden, Emily; Sahdev, Rohan; Miles, Emma J; Cooper, Lee; Ansari, Tahera I; Hanna, John V; Higham, Susan M.; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-11-22)
    Objectives: Antibiotic resistance is increasingly a growing global threat. This study aimed to investigate the potential use of newly developed scandium-doped phosphate-based glasses (Sc-PBGs) as an antibacterial and anticariogenic agent through controlled release of Sc3+ ions. Methods: Sc-PBGs with various calcium and sodium oxide contents were produced and characterised using thermal and spectroscopic analysis. Degradation behaviour, ion release, antibacterial action against Streptococcus mutans, anti-matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) activity, remineralisation potential and in vivo biocompatibility were also investigated. Results: The developed glass system showed linear Sc3+ ions release over time. The released Sc3+ shows statistically significant inhibition of S. mutans biofilm (1.2 log10 CFU reduction at 6 h) and matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) activity, compared with Sc-free glass and positive control. When Sc-PBGs were mounted alongside enamel sections, subjected to acidic challenges, alternating hyper- and hypomineralisation layers consistent with periods of re- and demineralisation were observed demonstrating their potential remineralising action. Furthermore, Sc-PBGs produced a non-toxic response when implanted subcutaneously for 2 weeks in Sprague Dawley rats. Significance: Since Sc3+ ions might act on various enzymes essential to the biological mechanisms underlying caries, Sc-PBGs could be a promising therapeutic agent against cariogenic bacteria.
  • Antibacterial, Remineralizing Zinc Oxide-Doped Phosphate-Based Glasses

    Rajadorai, Sindhuja; Harris, Genevieve; Robinson, Alistair; Miles, Emma J; Roberts, Jonathan; Cooper, Lee; Abou Neel, Ensanya A.; Higham, Susan M.; Flannigan, Norah L; Valappil, Sabeel P.; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-09-11)
    This study reports a novel melt quenched zinc oxide-doped phosphate-based glasses (Zn-PBGs) of varying CaO mol% designated as C11, C12, C13. The glass degradation rate, ions release, antibacterial activity against S. mutans and remineralization potential were investigated. Zn-PBGs showed one order of magnitude higher degradation rate than Zn-free PBG. The highest rate was observed for C11; Na+, Ca2+, Zn2+ and P5+ release followed the same trend. The higher the Zn2+ release, the greater the S. mutans growth inhibition. C11 showed significantly lower mineral loss from enamel than positive and negative controls. Zn-PBGs could be used to reverse enamel demineralization.
  • Bowel cancer knowledge gaps evident among Irish residents: results of a national questionnaire survey.

    Flynn, Laura; orcid: 0000-0002-6982-4249; Fallows, Stephen (2023-01-19)
    The extent of knowledge of bowel cancer, its symptoms and risk factors are unknown in Irish residents. An understanding of bowel cancer awareness may be useful in aiding healthcare professionals, and policy makers develop improved bowel cancer awareness programmes and public health initiatives in Ireland. A 22-question online questionnaire survey was designed to gather data to assess residents' awareness of bowel cancer, its symptoms, and risk factors and to determine reasons for not participating in BowelScreen Ireland. There were 449 participants (329 women, 119 men and 1 'prefer not to say'). The majority of participants were aged 35-49 years (42.8%), and 82.6% had completed a third level qualification. Irish residents (non-healthcare professionals/scientists (NHCP/S)) recalled on average less than three warning signs/symptoms. Among NHCP/S the most well-recalled protective diet and lifestyle choices were active lifestyle/exercise (62.1%), a fibre rich diet (45.4%) and no/low alcohol consumption (32.1%). Many were unable to recall red and processed meat as risk factors with only 10.7% and 4.9%, respectively, citing these foods. However, prompted awareness was superior with 71.1% agreeing or strongly agreeing that consumption of red and processed meat is a risk factor. 43.4% said they would be 'fairly confident' in recognising a sign/symptom, but more than a third (38.7%) reported they were 'not very confident'. This survey emphasises the need to improve the awareness of bowel cancer as gaps in this specific cancer knowledge were evident among Irish residents. [Abstract copyright: © 2023. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland.]
  • The cariogenic effect of starch on oral microcosm grown within the dual constant depth film fermenter

    Roberts, Jonathan M.; Bradshaw, David J.; Lynch, Richard J.M.; Higham, Susan M.; Valappil, Sabeel P.; University of Liverpool; GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare; University of Chester (Public Library of Science, 2021-10-20)
    Evidence on the link between starch intake and caries incidence is conflicting, therefore the cariogenicity of starch compared with sucrose was explored using a dual Constant Depth Film Fermenter (dCDFF) biotic model system. Bovine enamel discs were used as a substrate and the dCDFF was inoculated using human saliva. CDFF units were supplemented with artificial saliva growth media at a constant rate to mimic resting salivary flow rate over 14 days. The CDFF units were exposed to different conditions, 2 % sucrose or 2 % starch 8 times daily and either no additional fluoride or 1450 ppm F- twice daily. Bovine enamel discs were removed at intervals (days 3, 7, 10 and 14) for bacterial enumeration and enamel analysis using Quantitative Light Induced Fluorescence (QLF) and Transverse Microradiography (TMR). Results showed that in the absence of fluoride there was generally no difference in mineral loss between enamel exposed to either sucrose or starch when analysed using TMR and QLF (P > 0.05). In the presence of fluoride by day 14 there was significantly more mineral loss under starch than sucrose when analysed with TMR (P < 0.05). It was confirmed that starch and sucrose are similarly cariogenic within the dCDFF in the absence of fluoride. With the aid of salivary amylase, the bacteria utilise starch to produce an acidic environment similar to that of bacteria exposed to sucrose only. In the presence of fluoride, starch was more cariogenic which may be due to the bacteria producing a more hydrophobic intercellular matrix lowering the penetration of fluoride through the biofilm. This is significant as it indicates that the focus on sugars being the primary cause of caries may need re-evaluating and an increase in focus on carbohydrates is needed as they may be similarly cariogenic as sugars if not more so.
  • Quantifying the Demineralisation of Enamel Using a Hyperspectral Camera Measuring Fluorescence Loss

    Roberts, Jonathan M.; Bradshaw, David J.; Lynch, Richard J.M.; Higham, Susan M.; Valappil, Sabeel P.; University of Liverpool; GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-10-30)
    Background The gold standard for quantifying mineral loss of enamel is transverse microradiography (TMR) and is complimented by the non-destructive quantitative light induced fluorescence (QLF) which measures changes in autofluorescence. Fluorescence loss has been shown to correlate with mineral loss. Building upon the established method, the use of hyperspectral fluorescence imaging (HI) allows the capture of a broader range of wavelengths to quantify fluorescence changes more accurately. Methods Bovine Enamel was demineralised within the dual constant depth film fermenter over 14 days and analysed using TMR, QLF and HI. The mineral change values were compared using Pearson's Correlation Coefficient. Results The analysis showed a statistically significant correlation that was equal between TMR and HI (r = 0.844) and TMR and QLF (r = 0.844), but weaker between QLF and HI (r = 0.811). Conclusions The correlations indicate that HI is a promising valid non-destructive method for quantifying mineral loss from bovine enamel that is as accurate as QLF and complements TMR.
  • Effect of varying recovery intensities on power outputs during severe intensity intervals in trained cyclists during the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Chorley, Alan; Lamb, Kevin; University of Chester
    Purpose: The study aimed to investigate the effects of different recovery intensities on the power outputs of repeated severe intensity intervals and the implications for W′ reconstitution in trained cyclists. Methods: 18 trained cyclists (FTP 258.0 ± 42.7 W; weekly training 8.6 ± 1.7 h∙week-1) familiar with interval training, use of the Zwift® platform throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and previously established FTP (95% of mean power output from a 20-min test), performed 5 x 3-min severe intensity efforts interspersed with 2-min recoveries. Recovery intensities were: 50 W (LOW), 50% of functional threshold power (MOD), and self-selected power output (SELF). Results: Whilst power outputs declined as the session progressed, mean power outputs during the severe intervals across the conditions were not different to each other (LOW 300.1 ± 48.1 W; MOD: 296.9 ± 50.4 W; SELF: 298.8 ± 53.3 W) despite the different recovery conditions. Mean power outputs of the self-selected recovery periods were 121.7 ± 26.2 W. However, intensity varied during the self-selected recovery periods, with values in the last 15-s being greater than the first 15-s (p <0.001) and decreasing throughout the session (128.7 ± 25.4 W to 113.9 ± 29.3 W). Conclusions: Reducing recovery intensities below 50% of FTP failed to enhance subsequent severe intensity intervals, suggesting a lower limit for optimal W′ reconstitution had been reached. As self-selected recoveries were seen to adapt in order to maintain the severe intensity power output as the session progressed, adopting such a strategy might be preferential for interval training sessions.
  • Perfectionism among young female competitive Irish dancers: prevalence and relationship with injury responses

    Pentith, Rebecca; Moss, Samantha; Lamb, Kevin; Edwards, Carmel; University of Chester (J. Michael Ryan Publishing, 2021-03-29)
    This study investigated the prevalence of perfectionism among young female competitive Irish dancers and examined the relationships between perfectionistic tendencies and coping strategies used when experiencing injury. Sixty-eight female dancers (Mean age: 14 ± 2.3 years) completed the Child-Adolescent Perfectionism Scale and the Ways of Coping Questionnaire and provided a record of injuries incurred during their championship careers. Participants reported 189 injuries, mostly involving the lower extremities. Seventy-nine percent of dancers reported perfectionistic tendencies (mixed perfectionism 40%, pure self-oriented perfectionism 29%, pure socially prescribed perfectionism 10%), and most frequently adopted “planful problemsolving,” “seeking social support,” “distancing,” and “self-controlling” strategies to cope with injury. Perfectionism and two coping strategies were found to be significantly related (p = 0.03); “planful problem-solving” was typically used “quite a bit or a great deal” by the mixed perfectionism group, but only “somewhat” by the non-perfectionism group, whereas “confrontive coping” was typically not used by the non-perfectionism group but was used “somewhat” by the mixed perfectionism group. Given the presence of such a large degree of perfectionism and the simultaneous employment of problem- and emotion-focused strategies when coping with injuries, it is suggested that medical practitioners acknowledge such tendencies when supporting their dancers in order to reduce the likelihood of negative psychological impact.
  • Lower pollen nutritional quality delays nest building and egg laying in Bombus terrestris audax micro-colonies leading to reduced biomass gain

    Ryder, Jordan T.; Thompson, Helen M.; Walters, Keith F. A.; Cherrill, Andrew; Harper Adams University; University of Chester; Syngenta; Imperial College London (Springer, 2021-09-27)
    The performance of Bombus terrestris micro-colonies fed five diets differing in pollen species composition and level of nine essential amino acids (EAA; leucine, lysine, valine, arginine, isoleucine, phenylalanine, threonine, histidine, methionine) was assessed for 37 days by recording total biomass gain, nest building initiation, brood production (eggs, small and large larvae, pupae, drones), nectar, and pollen collection. Stronger colony performance was linked to higher amino acid levels but no consistent differences in biomass gain were recorded between mono- and poly-species diets. Poorest performance occurred in micro-colonies offered pure oilseed rape (OSR) pollen which contained the lowest EAA levels. Reduced micro-colony development (delayed nest initiation and lower brood production) was related to OSR proportion in the diet and lower EAA levels. Results are discussed in relation to selection of plant species in the design of habitats to promote bee populations.
  • Depth and temperature profiles reflect individual differences in the daytime diving behaviours of pelagic thresher sharks

    Oliver, Simon P.; Grothues, Thomas M.; Mayo, Zoe J.; Williams, Aimie L.; Silvosa, Medel; Cases, Gary; University of Chester; The Thresher Shark Research and Conservation Project; The State University of New Jersey; University of Liverpool; NatureScot; Mindanao State University; Divelink Cebu
    We used acoustic telemetry to investigate the roles of depth and temperature in the daytime foraging behaviours of 13 tagged pelagic thresher sharks by monitoring their fine scale vertical movements in the Philippines. Cumulatively, pelagic thresher shark dives traversed the entire water column where they encountered temperatures that ranged from 33oC at the surface to 12oC at 250m depths throughout the day, but the movements of individuals varied in the extent of both their deep and shallow water limits. Dives were not synchronized to diurnal cycles, and periodicity reflected cycles of similar dives, the dives themselves, deviations, cruising, and individuality. Pelagic thresher shark movements between the warm surface layer and cooler waters below the thermocline (155 – 175 m) may reflect a common Alopiid strategy that balances maintaining tolerable ambient water temperatures with opportunities to search for and forage on spatially patchy distributions of prey.
  • Exploring the interplay between fat talk, social media use and body image among young women: New opportunities for health education?

    Kennedy, Lynne; Preston, Grace; Kenny, Ursula (SAGE Publications, 2023-01-11)
    Background: ‘Fat Talk’, or the act of negatively discussing one’s own or another person’s body, is linked to body image constructs, body dissatisfaction, low self-esteem and disordered eating. The spaces in which young women talk about the body are changing, as social media use escalates. Understanding the interplay between social media use, body image and fat talk, in different contexts, is needed. Method: Focus group interviews were used to explore how young women (aged 15–19) experience fat talk while using social media and the possible effect on body image constructs. Using purposive convenience sampling, young women who regularly used social media and were living in an inner city of England were recruited. Thematic analysis was used for analysis and six themes were identified, both a priori and inductively, to explore the interplay between them. Findings: Over 35 women were successfully recruited into the study, with 18 of these finally participating in focus group interviews. Among participants, social media use was linked to increased self-evaluation of the body, engagement in social comparative behaviour and negative self-talk about the body. Although fat talk was reportedly common and widespread, it was unacceptable in the online space. However, body talk, other than size or shape, was permissible. Conclusion: Fat talk can be divisive; however, if it becomes unacceptable in the online space, negative self-talk may increase. If fat talk is replaced by an all-encompassing ‘body talk’, then this too may exacerbate existing pressures on young people and their mental health and well-being. Understanding the relationship between social media, body dissatisfaction and body talk may provide new opportunities for health education to promote a more constructive prevention discourse of the body, including body talk, in or around the online space.
  • See you in spring: overwinter survival is higher than post summer in the Alpine marmot

    Ferrari, Caterina; Cerri, Jacopo; Rolando, Antonio; Bassano, Bruno; von Hardenberg, Achaz; Bertolino, Sandro (Informa UK Limited, 2023-01-09)
  • Use of long-acting injectable antiretroviral agents for human immunodeficiency Virus: A review

    Ariyo, Olumuyiwa E.; Jones, Christopher E.; Federal Teaching Hospital, Nigeria; University of Chester (Elsevier, 2021-11-23)
    The development of potent antiretroviral drugs has significantly reduced morbidity and mortality associated with human immunodeficiency virus infection, however, the effectiveness of these medications depends upon consistent daily oral intake. Non-adherence can lead to the emergence of resistance, treatment failure and disease progression. This has necessitated the development of long-acting antiretroviral formulations administrable via an infrequent dosing regimen. Long-acting injectable forms of cabotegravir and rilpivirine have reached various stages in clinical trials both for the treatment and prevention of HIV. Other long-acting agents are at various stages of development. This review evaluates the current research on the development of long-acting injectable antiretroviral agents for the treatment and prevention of HIV.
  • Sport, Children, and Socialization

    Green, Ken; Wheeler, Sharon; Foss Johansen, Patrick; University of Chester; Wrexham Glynd?r University; Inland University of Applied Sciences (Oxford University Press, 2022-11-21)
    This chapter explores what is meant by ‘socialization’ as well as some of the key aspects of sports socialization (such as the long-standing problematic of the process of socialization into sport, the impact of socio-economic divisions on socialization, and the relationship between socialization and lifelong participation). It also examines the main approaches to understanding socialization into sport and some of the main debates (such as the growing involvement of parents in the sporting socialization of children). All-in-all, there is now a substantial body of evidence that the foundations for lifelong participation in sport are usually laid in childhood and youth in family contexts. Participation is unlikely to endure into and through adulthood unless foundations have been laid in childhood in the family.
  • SCCS scientific opinion on Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) - SCCS/1636/21

    Granum (rapporteur), Berit; Bernauer, Ulrike; Bodin, Laurent; Chaudhry, Qasim; Pieter Jan, Coenraads; Dusinska, Maria; Ezendam, Janine; Gaffet, Eric; Galli, Corrado L.; Panteri, Eirini; et al. (Elsevier, 2023-01-05)
    Opinion to be cited as SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety), scientific opinion on Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT), preliminary version of September 27, 2021, final version of December 2, 2021, SCCS/1636/21.
  • ‘Not to judge by the looks but you can tell by the looks!’ Physical capital as symbolic capital in the individualization of health among young Norwegians

    Green, Ken; Roset, Linda; Tjomsland, Hege; Cale, Lorraine; Sigurjonsson, Thorsteinn; Thurston, Miranda; University of Chester; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences; Western Norway University of Applied Sciences; Loughborough University; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences; Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences (Taylor and Francis, 2022-12-28)
    In this paper we explore how 15–16-year-old Norwegians experience social and cultural norms that shape their relationship with health and physical activity (PA) in a country where participation in PA is normative, in the sense that it is not only a widely shared practice but, in having significant cultural traction, is commonly understood as a ‘normal’ part of Norwegian daily life. The study draws upon qualitative data generated from 31 focus groups involving 148 10th graders (15–16-year-olds) in eight secondary schools in Norway. A key finding was that health was primarily viewed as synonymous with physical health and physical health as closely related to PA. A symbolic marker for physical condition – and, by extension, physical health – was physical appearance and ‘looks’ (in other words, physical attractiveness), revolving around gender normative bodily ‘shape’. In this vein, the youngsters tended towards individualistic views of health – seeing health as a responsibility that lay largely in their hands. We argue that the significance of growing up and living in a wealthy, social democratic nation-state, with high living standards and high social and cultural expectations, can have profound implications for youngsters’ perceptions of health and PA, the impact of neoliberalism notwithstanding.

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