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Evaluation of Global Health in Master Swimmers Involved in French National Championships.

Abstract : Background: Swimming is often recommended as a means of increasing physical activity and gaining health benefits. The present study examined the psychological, social, and physical health states in competitive swimmers engaged in long-term training. Methods: The study took place during the 4 days of the French master championships in France in 2011 (from 10 to 13 March). Global health parameters were evaluated and compared with general values reported in studies aiming to describe health standard values in France or Europe. All swimmers selected for the event were invited to participate in the study. Setting questionnaires concerning mental and social health (short form 36), physical activity (International Physical Activity Questionnaire), and medication were administered. Peak expiratory flow (l.min−1) was measured, and body mass index (kg.m−2) was calculated from height (m) and body mass (kg). Prevalence of overweight and obesity was calculated by age and gender. Chi-squared tests were used to compare prevalence of overweight and obesity between participants and reference values. Short form 36 scores and physical activity (met.h.week−1) were compared with reference values by single t-tests. Two-way ANOVA was used to compare peak flow results with standard values. The level of significance was set at p < 0.05. Results: Out of 1554 master swimmers, 490 participated in this study (rates of participation = 44.8 and 23.5 % for females and males, respectively). Data showed inequality of health indexes as compared with reference values, despite a significantly higher level of physical activity including swimming activity. The prevalence of obesity was significantly lower (p < 0.05), and peak expiratory flow values were higher among female swimmers (from 7.6 to 17 % higher according to the age, p < 0.05). Perception of vitality was significantly higher for all female swimmers and the older age groups of male swimmers (p < 0.05). Perception of bodily pain indicated significantly lower scores for swimmers than the reference values (p < 0.05). Significantly lower prevalence of swimmers taking medication was noted in comparison with the French national values (p = 0.012). Conclusions: Compared with reference data from various sources, master competitive swimmers used less medication, had lower rates of obesity in most age groups, had greater peak expiratory flow values suggesting improved lung function, had higher levels of total physical activity, and had more favorable scores for various subscales of the SF-36. The results argue in favor of competitive swimming for its positive effects on health outcomes.
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Francois Potdevin, Gilles Vanlerberghe, Gautier Zunquin, Thierry Peze, Denis Theunynck. Evaluation of Global Health in Master Swimmers Involved in French National Championships.. Sports medicine - Open, Springer, 2015, 1, pp.12. ⟨10.1186/s40798-015-0021-0⟩. ⟨hal-02519520⟩



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