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Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, June 2005

Active thinking: Introduction to special focus edition of Youth Studies Australia, on youth sport, physical activity and leisure in Australia and New Zealand
by Geoff Dickson, p.9.

Engaging students with school life
by Sue Thomson

Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, 2005, pp.10-15

How can we engage more students with school? This paper examines research that points to a student's participation in extracurricular activities, such as sport, as having a strong effect on a range of educational outcomes. It also examines the influences on students' individual engagement with school, and the influence of whole-school engagement on individual engagement.

Becoming somebody: Changing priorities and physical activity
by Jan Wright, Doune Macdonald, Johanna Wyn and Lynda Kriflik

Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, 2005, pp.16-21

The ways young people negotiate their participation in physical activity in relation to other priorities in their lives, during and beyond school, are explored here from a sociological approach to youth. The data from interviews for the Longitudinal Life Activity Project are used to explore how the place and meaning of physical activity in young peoples' lives influence the choices they make about participation in physical activity in relation to other priorities, such as study and work.

Is it fun to be young on the Gold Coast? Perceptions of leisure opportunities and constraints among young people living on the Gold Coast
by Kathy Lloyd, Maureen Harrington, Ray Hibbins, Alistair Boag and Michael Cuthill

Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, 2005, pp.22-27

Leisure has always been a space where young people have sought to experience different lifestyles, activities, identities and social groups. However, 'being young' is far more than an age-related process, and planning for young people's leisure requires knowledge and understanding of the needs and experiences of this diverse social group. This paper explores the perceptions of young people living in what is known as the surf and fun capital of Australia. The research indicates that for many, it is not fun to be young on the Gold Coast, and that it is a highly structured existence centred on school, work, and family obligations with little to do in what spare time exists.

Sloth or gluttony: Understanding obesity in New Zealand youth
by Grant Schofield, Louise Schofield, Geoff Dickson and Karen Croteau

Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, 2005, pp.28-30

While international trends show an increase of overweight and obesity in youth, accurate and representative New Zealand data are scarce. However, it is likely that young New Zealanders are following overseas trends. The importance of the promotion and sustained consumption of physical activity by youth to manage population overweight and obesity should not be underestimated. A growing body of research indicates that low activity rather than overeating may be a significant basis of the obesity problem. As a national research priority, New Zealand must establish a regular national public health surveillance program, which concurrently measures youth nutrition, physical activity and body composition, and accounts for the ethnic diversity in New Zealand. Objective measures of physical activity are essential to understand how much our youth move.

Barriers to physical activity in young New Zealanders
by Mike Hamlin and Jenny Ross

Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, 2005, pp.31-37

A range of social, behavioural and physical changes in young people's lives has resulted in barriers great enough to cause reduced activity levels. Major barriers include a reduction in active transport, altered community design, less physical education time at school, a rise of the two-income family, an increase in labour-saving appliances, and a shift away from active to passive leisure and entertainment pursuits. Society must work to decrease the influence of these barriers and, wherever possible, enhance and support opportunities for young people to become physically active.

Physical activity levels of first-year New Zealand university students
by Kim Sinclair, Mike Hamlin and Daniel Steel

Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, 2005, pp.38-42

A questionnaire administered to 60 first-year university students revealed significant declines in vigorous and moderate physical activity participation of students since beginning university. Physical activity participation was negatively related to the importance individuals placed on peer support and positively related to more time spent on other activities. If the general student population is similar to the sample, then they may not be meeting current physical activity guidelines for health. Interventions need to address the unique barriers to physical activity of this group.

Active transportation: An important part of adolescent physical activity
by Grant Schofield, Louise Schofield and Kerry Mummery

Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, 2005, pp.43-47

For adolescents, 'after school' is an important time to accumulate health-related physical activity. Active commuting (walking or cycling) during this period may be an important factor in achieving daily activity goals. The results of a cross-sectional study examining physical activity in a sample of adolescent students in Central Queensland highlight the potential of promoting active transportation as a means of increasing physical activity levels of adolescent school goers.

Influences on sportspersonship orientations: Contextual and motivational
by Kelly Joyner and Kerry Mummery

Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, 2005, pp.48-53

Listening to the commentary of any football or cricket match provides many examples of interpretations of the type of influence sport has on those participating in it - interpretations that fall generously on both sides of the fence separating good behaviour and attitudes from bad. This investigation into the factors that influence 'sportspersonship' in young athletes finds differences relating to sport type (individual or team sport) and in goal orientation (task oriented or ego oriented). The authors conclude that individual, task-oriented sport appears to encourage greater sportspersonship.

Junior sport participation programs in Australia
by Aaron Smith

Youth Studies Australia, v.24, n.1, 2005, pp.54-59

In a climate where youth physical activity is just one of many competing sedentary leisure alternatives, the success of junior sport participation programs is more important than ever before. This paper considers the composition of junior sport participation programs in Australia in an attempt to identify the critical and common dimensions for success. By reviewing the limited evidence provided by research, the paper argues that the modified sport model offers a platform for organisations to develop similar physical activity-related programs. The characteristics that might be considered representative of successful modified sport programs are listed, and, as these characteristics venture beyond those demonstrated in research, they provide some suggestive criteria of focus for future research.