KineSophy

KineSophy

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Athlete Endorsements in Food Marketing

http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/10/02/peds.2013-0093.full.pdf+html

From the article:
"Professional athletes are in a unique position to use their highly visible status to promote healthy messages to youth, and their role as athletes may lead the public to perceive them as credible sources of knowledge on a healthy lifestyle." (p. 2)

"One study also revealed that parents perceive food products as healthier when they are endorsed by a professional athlete and are more likely to purchase those products." (p. 2)

"The promotion of energy-dense, nutrient-poor products by some of the world's most physically fit and well-known athletes is an ironic combination that sends mixed messages about diet and health." (p. 5)

(p. 5)














Generally speaking, is a person under an ethical obligation to only endorse those products he/she actually uses and/or deems safe, healthy or beneficial? More specifically, as perceived symbols of health and fitness, are athletes under an ethical obligation to only endorse products with demonstrable health or nutritional value?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Toward a Universal Ethic of Human Movement (Part 1)

             As I stated previously, ethics consists of the set of precepts concerned with what an individual human being should do. Yet ethical theory is scalable; different ethical standards exist for different individuals based on variations in age, circumstance, and mental and physical capabilities. One may consider a pauper generous even though he gives what would be a pittance for a rich man, or a trained soldier a coward if he flees from a battle that would justifiably frighten a child. Even killing another human warrants different consequences for young children, mentally challenged persons and fully cognizant individuals. Though we can say a child should not kill another human being, we struggle to convey the force of that sentiment to someone too young to grasp the difference between right and wrong.
Recall Aristotle’s definition of virtue: “having [the right] feelings at the right times, about the right things, toward the right people, for the right end, and in the right way.”1 Virtue is subject to a variety of conditions. It is “not the same for all,”2 but relative to each individual and her particular situation. Virtue requires correct reasoning about which situations call for a particular virtue and what action is required, and then acting with the appropriate virtue in those situations. Yet different situations call for different virtues from different individuals under different circumstances. What one individual should do in a given situation may contrast with what another individual should do.
In my essay “The Ethics of Human Movement,” I stated “a healthy adult between the ages of 20 and 35 is certainly capable of lifting his or own body weight,” a condition I applied loosely to the subsequent precepts of human movement:
1.      A human being should be able to lift his or her own body weight off the ground.
2.      A human being should be able to maintain a comfortable resting squat position for at least ten minutes.
3.      A human being should be able to travel 5000 meters (3.11 miles) in 36 minutes.
But what about humans with injuries, physical disabilities, or those who fall outside the age range of 20 to 35? I do not expect a child or a grandmother to be as strong or fast as an adult in his physical prime. These precepts must be scaled to accommodate the variety of uncontrollable circumstances which affect individual human beings. I begin here with age, since this phenomenon touches all humans and is responsible for many of the peaks and declines in individuals’ mental and physical capabilities. One way to scale these precepts of movement would be to use actual results by age from athletic competitions. This standard allows us to set criteria based on exemplars of physical virtue. It considers what is actually possible, in contrast to the abilities of the average person. Since we are examining ethics, or the standards which human beings should achieve, it makes sense to look at optimal achievement rather than mediocre, unrealized capacities. Virtue is an exemplar, not the least common denominator. But lest the following start to look too much like the benchmarks for a junior high fitness test, I will say that things really get interesting when we turn the question of scalability back onto social ethics to examine the values humans hold with respect to one another.
To begin, consider Tables 1 and 2, which express the U.S.A. Powerlifting deadlift records for men and woman in various age groups as a ratio of weight lifted to the lifter’s bodyweight.

Table 1: U.S.A. Powerlifting Men's Deadlift Records3
Table 2: U.S.A. Powerlifting Women's
Deadlift Records4
Age
Mean Deadlift: Bodyweight
Ratio to 24-39 Age Group
Age
Mean Deadlift: Bodyweight
Ratio to 24-39 Age Group
14-15
2.90
0.708
14-15
2.60
0.788
16-17
3.27
0.798
16-17
2.91
0.880
18-19
3.60
0.880
18-19
2.96
0.896
20-23
3.90
0.952
20-23
2.97
0.898
24-39
4.10
1.000
24-39
3.30
1.000
40-44
3.70
0.905
40-44
2.74
0.830
45-49
3.57
0.873
45-49
2.77
0.839
50-54
3.48
0.849
50-54
2.62
0.792
55-59
3.02
0.737
55-59
2.21
0.669
60-64
2.85
0.696
60-64
1.33
0.402
65-69
2.72
0.664
65-69
1.64
0.497
70-74
2.30
0.561
70-74
1.27
0.386
75-79
2.20
0.538
75-79
1.32
0.400
80-84
1.66
0.404
80-84
-
-
85-89
0.61
0.148
85-89
-
-
90-94
-
-
90-94
1.29
0.39

In both men and women, strength peaks between ages 24 and 39, with the values in the third column of each table indicating the ratio of pound for pound strength for each age group in comparison to the 24-39 age group. Thus, if top powerlifters lift 100% of their capacity between the ages of 24 and 39, they lift about 90-95% of their maximum capacity at 20-23 years old and 83-90% maximum capacity at 40-44.
This data provides a guideline from which to extrapolate estimates for how much weight any adult human should be capable of lifting at a certain age. Since our ethical precepts for human movement offer minimum capacities, we take the smaller of the two gender values for each age group to produce Table 3, which reflects the amount of weight a human being should be able to lift off the ground relative to his or her own bodyweight over a range of ages.

Table 3: Standards for Deadlifting Relative to Age
Age
% Bodyweight
14-15
71%
16-17
80%
18-19
88%
20-23
90%
24-39
100%
40-44
83%
45-49
84%
50-54
79%
55-59
67%
60+
40%*
*-Strength capacities after age 60 seem to level off around 40%, with the exception of a few outliers. The age ranges from 60 to 94 in Tables 1 and 2 are therefore compressed to 60+ in Table 3.
           
Moving to the second ethical precept for human movement, a full squat requires suitable range of motion in knee flexion (bending the knee) hip flexion (bringing the knee toward the chest), hip abduction (moving the leg away from the body’s center line), hip external rotation (turning the leg outward from the hip) and ankle dorsiflexion (bringing the top of the foot toward the shin). Table 4 lists average hip and knee range of motion by age, gender and race among 1,683 subjects. All values are measured in degrees and reflect active range of motion, i.e. range of motion created by the individual’s own muscular activity without any application of external force.

Table 4: Hip and Knee Range of Motion by Gender, Race and Age5
Gender
Race
Age
Knee Flexion
Hip Flexion
Hip Abduction
Hip External Rotation
Male
White
25-39
134
123
46
33
40-59
133
121
43
31
60-74
131
118
39
27
Female
White
25-39
132
123
44
36
40-59
132
121
41
34
60-74
131
119
40
32
Male
Black
25-39
128
115
41
32
40-59
130
118
45
29
60-74
125
118
38
27
Female
Black
25-39
132
116
36
32
40-59
128
110
41
33
60-74
126
106
37
28

This data supports other research indicating flexibility generally decreases from early childhood until puberty, increases throughout adolescence, levels off in adulthood and eventually decreases with age.6 Yet adults who remain active can minimize flexibility loss, and as Table 4 indicates, even when activity level is not controlled, flexibility losses with age are relatively minimal.
Exemplars of human movement7
            Though a full squat requires more range of motion than the values in Table 4, squatting puts joints through a passive range of motion. The weight of the body in a squat acts as an external force on the joints and produces greater range of motion than the active range an individual can achieve with her own muscular strength. If a healthy adult should be capable of maintaining a full squat for ten minutes or more, this range of motion should not decrease significantly with age, especially if the individual remains active. In countries where individuals regularly squat, people maintain this ability even into old age, as evidenced by the image on the left. Given the aforementioned declines in strength with age, muscular endurance might seem the greatest limiting factor in maintaining a full squat for an extended period of time. However, a full squat is a resting position; further descent into the squat is limited mainly by joint range of motion and contact between body parts, and less so by muscular strength (as in an isometric wall sit). Assuming the individual can achieve the requisite position, significant strength should not be required to maintain a full squat. Still, in order to account for joint wear, slight decreases in flexibility that may limit the attainment of the comfortable position and other age-related complications, I propose the following standards for range of motion.

Table 5: Standards for Resting Squat Time Relative to Age
Age
Minimum Time in Squat
13-19
11:00
20-24
10:00
25-39
10:00
40-59
9:00
60-74
8:00

Admittedly, research in the capacity of individuals of different ages to achieve a full resting squat position is limited. The standards in Table 5 are based on estimates derived from limited data of isolated joint movements. Further data is required to set more appropriate guidelines for this movement standard.

_____________________
1.       Aristotle. “The Nature of Virtue.” Ethical Thoery, Ed. Russ Shafer-Landau, Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2007, p. 678.
2.       Ibid, p. 677.
3.       Values derived from “Men’s American Records.” U.S.A. Powerlifting. 13 July 2013. Online. 22 Sep. 2013. http://www.goheavy.net/records/viewrecordsetgroup.aspx?recordsetgroupguid= 2cf819ab-1d0c-4a59-adef-b997869bcd8d.
4.       Values derived from “Men’s American Records.” U.S.A. Powerlifting. 27 July 2013. Online. 22 Sep. 2013. http://www.goheavy.net/records/viewrecordsetgroup.aspx?recordsetgroupguid= 83016a42-d021-475b-9bb5-b0e69a9da000.
5.       Roach, Kathryn E. and Miles, Toni P. “Normal Hip and Knee Active Range of Motion: The Relationship to Age.” Physical Therapy, 1991, p. 656-665. Online. 23 Sep. 2013. http://www.physther.net/content/71/9/656.full.pdf+html.
6.       Alter, Michael J. Sport Stretch. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 1990. p. 20.
7.       “Asian squat.” Stretch to Win ® Institute. Image. 21 May 2011. Online. 30 Sep. 2013. http://www.stretchtowin.com/instituteblog/2011/05/fascial-stretch-therapy%E2%84%A2-and-the-almighty-squat/asian-squat/.