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Open access

Stella Babalola, Joshua O. Akinyemi and Clifford O. Odimegwu


Nigeria has one of the highest fertility rates in Africa. Data from 2013 Demographic and Health Surveys indicate a virtual stagnation of fertility rate since 2003. Low contraceptive use and pronatalist attitudes are among the factors contributing to the high fertility rate in Nigeria. In this manuscript, we pooled data from three most recent waves of Demographic and Health Surveys to examine trends in demand for children over time and identify the factors associated with change in demand for children. The data show that demand for children has declined since 2003 although not monotonically so. Variables that were positively associated with increased likelihood of desiring no additional children were residence in the South-West (as opposed to residence in the North-Central), exposure to family planning (FP) messages on the mass media, number of children ever born, educational level, and urban residence. In contrast, uncertainty about fertility desire was more widespread in 2008 compared to 2013 although less widespread in 2003 than in 2013. The likelihood of being undecided about fertility desire was positively associated with discrepancies in family size desires between husband and wife, parity and Islamic religious affiliation. Programs should aim to increase access to effective contraceptive methods and promote demand for contraceptives as a way of fostering a sustainable reduction in demand for children. Furthermore, strategies that address uncertainty by fostering women’s understanding of the social and health implications of large family sizes are relevant.

Open access

Jerzy Saczuk and Agnieszka Wasiluk


Introduction. Along with the changing socio-economic status of the Polish society, differences in the nutritional statuses of children and adolescents as well as a decrease in their physical fitness are becoming apparent. The aim of the study was to determine ten-year changes in the physical fitness of girls with normal weight-to-height ratios compared to their underweight, overweight, and obese peers.

Material and methods.A total of 5,760 girls aged 13-18 years were examined in 2006, and 2,669 girls were evaluated ten years later. The participants of the study underwent the Eurofit tests, and their height and weight were measured, which made it possible to calculate BMI. The subjects were divided into groups based on the recommendations of the International Obesity Task Force. Ten-year differences in physical fitness were expressed in T-scale points, and their magnitude was estimated using Student’s t-test for independent samples. The frequency of underweight and excess weight was expressed in percentages, and the size of statistical differences between the groups was evaluated using the χ2 test.

Results. During the decade analysed, the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the group of girls increased and that of underweight decreased. From 2006 to 2016, there were no significant changes in the physical fitness of the girls, neither in the calculations for the entire population nor in the group with normal BMI. On the other hand, an improvement in the level of physical fitness of under-weight girls and its decrease in overweight and obese subjects were observed. However, the changes were not consistent across all Eurofit tests.

Conclusion. The changes in the weight-to-height ratios and physical fitness of the girls who participated in the study show that there is a need to undertake inter-ministerial corrective actions aimed at increasing the physical activity of children and adolescents, with particular emphasis on students with excess body weight.

Open access

Whye Lian Cheah, Myat Su Bo, Winnie Anak Kana, Nur Irdina Binti Mohd Tourisz, Mohamad Arif Hadzimi Bin Ishak and Mahanagaraani Yogeswaran


Introduction. Rapid Weight Loss (RWL) is a common practice in combat sports where weight is classified to ensure equitable competition in terms of strength and agility. This study aimed to investigate the profiles of non-elite combat athletes and their RWL practices.

Material and methods. This research was a cross-sectional study conducted in Kuching, Sarawak. Data were collected using a validated self-administered dual-language questionnaire.

Results. A total of 65 respondents participated in the study; two-thirds were male, and the majority were taekwondo athletes. About 66% of the respondents reported to have practised rapid weight loss, with average weight loss of 3.4 kg (SD = 1.90) and highest weight loss of 4.9 kg (SD = 3.16). The most common RWL methods used were exercising more (69.8%), gradual dieting (51.1%), and training in heated rooms (20.8%). Physical trainers and training colleagues were rated as persons having the most influence on the use of RWL by the respondents. The perceived adverse effects which were mentioned the most frequently by the respondents were fatigue (69.2%), decreased vigour (50.8%), and muscle cramps (46.2%). As for the type of combat sport practised, muay thai and jiu jitsu had the highest number of respondents who used RWL. There were significant differences in RWL practices depending on the influences of training colleagues, physicians/doctors, physical trainers, parents, dieticians, and former athletes as well as perceived adverse effects of RWL.

Conclusions. The findings of the current study were observed to be similar to those of research involving elite combat sport athletes where the prevalence of RWL was reasonably high, with similar characteristics. A proper regulatory programme should be put in place to assist both the athletes and their coaches/trainers in implementing proper weight control.

Open access

Małgorzata Sobera and Alicja Rutkowska-Kucharska


Introduction. The aim of the study was to determine the differences in the quality of postural control between two female rhythmic gymnasts with different training experience during the performance of balance exercises. In rhythmic gymnastics, the same balance exercises are performed by novice and elite gymnasts. Balance exercises involving standing on the toes of one leg with the free leg raised in different positions are considered to be extreme forms of exercise in terms of the postural balance abilities required. In coaching practice, it is important to have tools which facilitate the objective assessment of the process of maintaining balance in such exercises.

Material and methods.The study involved two female rhythmic gymnasts: a younger one (age = 8 years and training experience = 4 years) and an older one (age = 21 years and training experience = 14 years). The athletes performed three balance exercises standing on a Kistler platform: the split with hand support (lateral balance), the ring with hand support, and the back split without hand support (balance on the whole foot). The parameters describing the quality of postural control used in the current analysis were the range and velocity of COP displacements in the anterior-posterior and medial-lateral directions.

Results. Postural control in the balance exercises in the younger rhythmic gymnast was characterised by almost two times greater COP displacements in the anterior-posterior direction and more rapid than that of the older gymnast. COP displacements in the medial-lateral direction in all the exercises described did not differentiate the subjects. In the back split without hand support, the older athlete showed greater variability of postural control with smaller COP displacement and velocity than the younger gymnast.

Conclusion. Gymnastics training should include exercises strengthening the muscles acting on the ankle and hip joints, which could improve the stability of these joints during the performance of difficult balance exercises. Improving the stabilising function of these muscles helps to minimise anterior-posterior movements in these joints.

Open access

Krystian Zawadzki


Introduction. In the world-wide literature, there is no unanimity in the assessment of the impact of mega sporting events on the tourism sector. Therefore, the main purpose of this study was to quantify the impact of mega sporting events on changes in tourist inflow and the amount of expenditure incurred by visitors.

Material and methods.In this study, an ex-post analysis of many different categories of mega sporting events was carried out in the context of their impact on selected aspects of the tourism sector in host countries. The study examined events organised in the years 1996-2014 classified into one of four categories: the Summer Olympic Games (SOG), the Winter Olympic Games (WOG), the Football World Cup (FIFA), and the European Football Championship (UEFA). The approach adopted made it possible to analyse the impact of sporting events on the tourism sector over 15 years. Data on both the inflow of tourists and the expenditure generated by them were taken from a single source – reports of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Results. The results obtained are characterised by ambiguity, although the study identified the categories of sporting events and the sporting event phase in which clearly positive or negative effects on the tourism sector could be observed.

Conclusions. The difficulty in confirming unambiguously positive, tangible effects on the tourism sector resulting from the organisation of mega sporting events makes it problematic to justify the commitment of large expenditure to preparing and conducting these events. It is necessary to look for other, intangible benefits related to the organisation of these events. It also seems appropriate to continue the research undertaken in the future on the basis of data disaggregated at the regional level.

Open access

Evgeny Myakinchenko, Gao Binghong and Mikhail Shestakov


Introduction. The aim of our work was to study the effect of natural hypoxia applied by elite athletes in the course of common training. Data analysed in this paper were collected during joint Russian-Chinese research on the training of elite athletes, who were members of the Russian national team (8 male biathletes, B-team) and 2016 Chinese Olympic team (12 female rowers, R-team).

Material and methods. The study was held in the preparatory period, which lasted 4-5 months. The preparatory period in each team was divided into two stages. In the R-team, in the first stage, a training camp was organised at sea level (SL) (200 m, 57 days), and in the second stage, an altitude camp (AC) was held at 2,280 m (40 days). In the B-team, in the first stage, two training camps were held: the first one at 1,100 m (AC, June-July, 19 days) and the second one, a sea level camp (SLC), at 140 m (July-August, 31 days). Thus, the second control test was preceded by 31-day-long training at SL. In the second stage (September-October), three training camps were held: the first one at 1,100 m (AC, 19 days), the second one at 150 m (SLC, 13 days), and the third one at 1,100-2,800 m (AC, 11 days). Both teams underwent three control tests: prior to the first training stage, at the end of the first training stage, and 6-8 days after the end of the second training stage. All control tests were performed at SL.

Results. Monitoring of elite athletes’ training in the preparatory period showed positive changes in physical preparedness in both groups. However, we found that those positive changes might not be related to an additional effect of natural hypoxia.

Conclusion. Our study has shown that rational and well-balanced planning according to training goals is the key factor in improving general and specific athletic preparedness.

Open access

Barbara Długołęcka, Ewa Jówko, Jan Czeczelewski, Igor Cieśliński and Andrzej Klusiewicz


Introduction. The study sought to assess bone mineral content (BMC) and bone mineral density (BMD) in men with different levels of physical activity during the period of reaching peak bone mass

Material and methods. The research included wrestlers (n = 31) and students of the University of Physical Education (n = 88) aged 18-24. The state of the bone tissue was assessed with the use of the bone densitometry (DEXA) method (lumbar spine L2-L4). Data concerning the physical activity levels and nutritional behaviours of the study participants were gathered in a diagnostic survey carried out using a specially prepared questionnaire.

Results. The analysis of the results revealed that as there were no statistically significant differences in nutritional behaviours between men from particular groups, physical activity proved to be the factor which significantly differentiated the groups under investigation in terms of their bone mass. The highest mean values of the bone parameters analysed were achieved by the wrestlers, who demonstrated a high level of physical activity.

Open access

Przemysław Dębski, Ewelina Białas and Rafał Gnat


Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a well-known and popular therapy. Its growing popularity is based on high effectiveness and availability. However, there is a lack of agreement about which parameters should be used to optimize the effects of the therapy. The purpose of this review is to critically select and assess current literature and ascertain the values of the follow­ing parameters: (1) therapy duration, (2) volume of applied pressure, (3) speed and (4) frequency of roll, (5) type of roller, (6) the number of treatment applications during one session, (7) the duration of intervals between applications that yield the best results in terms of soft tissue.

The authors launched their research in May 2018. The search strategy included the electronic databases EBSCOhost and PubMed. The following inclusion criteria were assessed:

- English language, high quality manuscripts (evaluation in PEDro scale)

- at least one of the groups using the foam roller, tennis ball or the stick to fascial release

- basic parameters of therapy described.A total 55 articles met the inclusion criteria. Patients can usually withstand a maximum tolerable pressure for 30-120 seconds, repeated 1-3 times, separated by 30 seconds of rest. The intensity of a single rolling movement should be moderate, and the movement should last about 3 seconds. Keeping the roller on particularly sensitive areas is recommended to release tension and enhance blood perfusion.Currently, there is no consensus on an optimal FR programme. However, there is a tendency to use SMR tools with a physiol­ogy-based method to enhance therapeutic efficiency.