Thursday, 13 September 2018

Age shouldn't be a barrier to playing competitive sports

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Basketball Victoria
Claire Jenkin, University of Hertfordshire
To stay healthy and fit, older people have traditionally been advised to take up gentle activities, such as walking and tai chi. But it’s time we added competitive sports to the mix.
Competitive sport is usually seen as a young person’s game. If you encourage children to take up sport when they are young, you establish lifelong participation – or so the theory goes.
In reality, even for those who enjoy playing sport, participation can vary depending on their stage of life and may be influenced by things like opportunities or priorities. People who don’t enjoy sport tend to drop out as soon as they can.
Given the physical demands, it is unsurprising that participation in most sports declines with age, resulting in few older people taking part.
Also, public health guidelines often suggest sport is for young people, but not for older people. But the development of modified sport for older people, which often lowers the impact of some traditional sports, may start to change this mindset.

Walking sport

Different types of modified sport for older adults exist, but by far the most popular are sports that replace running with walking. Walking football was perhaps the first – developed in the UK in 2011. Since then, hundreds of clubs have been established in the UK alone. England even played Italy in an international walking football tournament in May 2018.

Other sports have followed suit. There are now walking versions of rugby, netball and basketball. Although most of these walking sports were first developed in the UK, their popularity is spreading globally, with countries such as Australia now introducing similar programmes.
My colleagues and I recently undertook an evaluation of a walking basketball programme in Melbourne, Australia to understand why some people took up modified sports at an older age.
We asked the participants, aged 53-83, why they joined the programme and what benefits they experienced. Many participants said it was an opportunity to have fun and socialise. They enjoyed the competitive element and saw the sport as a chance to improve their health. They also found the sport to be mentally stimulating as they had to think about who to pass the ball to and figure out the best strategy for scoring a goal.

For some, it was an opportunity to reengage in a sport they had played when they were younger, while, for others, it was an introduction to sport. Regardless of their previous experience in sport, they all loved the programme.
For those who don’t like competitive sports, there are plenty of different ways to stay fit. zhu difeng/

Modified sport may not be attractive to all people. Some people might prefer more traditional activities, such as dance and tai chi. But the opportunity to play modified sport can be an excellent option for those who want to play competitive sport at an older age. As such, modified versions of traditional sports should be further developed, promoted and funded by public health bodies around the world to diversify physical activity options for this age group.The Conversation

Claire Jenkin, Senior Lecturer in Sports Development, University of Hertfordshire
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

KSI vs Logan Paul YouTube boxing match: stars sparring with traditional broadcasters to make millions

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Believe the hype. YouTube.
Lyndsay Duthie, University of Hertfordshire
The amateur boxing match between YouTube stars KSI (UK) and Logan Paul (USA) on August 25 could amass more than 20m views, if previous events are anything to go by. That’s more than watched the finals of the FA Cup, or Wimbledon.

This is big news and big business. With pay-per-view on YouTube priced at £7.50 a pop and tickets at the Manchester Arena going for anywhere between £34 and £516 – not to mention the profits from merchandise and sponsorship deals – this event will make millions for both competitors, regardless of who wins and loses.

Events such as this position YouTube as a major provider of high production-value content that speaks directly to its audience. For example, YouTube reaches 98.3% of Internet users in the age bracket 18 to 24 – a feat which today’s TV networks are still working hard to replicate.
But with power comes great responsibility, and while YouTube has tightened its rules about which YouTube videos can be monetised, the platform is still under pressure to take greater responsibility for the content posted on its site.

Meet the contestants

Both KSI and Logan Paul boast more than 18m subscribers each, having spent years uploading videos and building their following on YouTube. KSI’s real name is Olajide William Olatunji. He is a 25-year-old British YouTuber, who started out making videos of himself playing FIFA when he was just 15. Now, he earns an estimated £2.3m a year.
Logan Paul (left) and KSI (right). YouTube.

US YouTube star Logan Paul, age 22, first found fame on the super short form video sharing app Vine, before switching to YouTube where he now has two channels earning him around £11m a year.
KSI pioneered this new genre of crossover – the YouTube boxing match – with his first “grudge match” against YouTuber Joe Weller, who has 4m subscribers. Buoyed from his win against Weller in February this year, KSI said:
If any YouTuber wants it, you can come get it. Jake Paul, Logan Paul, any of the Pauls, I don’t care.
And what a smart move that was, gaining KSI an extra 2m subscribers, as well as fame among US YouTube users, when Logan Paul came on board.

TV executives, take note

Although most of their videos are free to view, YouTube stars can make massive earnings. According to numbers published by YouTube, KSI racks up more than 5m views each day, which converts to roughly £7,600 in revenue. After tax, he will make around £4,600 a day from YouTube alone.
Advertisers pay YouTube according to the number of views lasting more than 30 seconds or clicks to their ads. In turn, YouTube pays a proportion to the content creators.
How much a YouTuber earns from the advertisements on their videos depends on who watches them, and how much attention they pay to the ads. The loyal subscribers of YouTube stars such as KSI and Logan Paul make up a very specific younger demographic, which can otherwise be difficult for brands to reach on TV.
TV networks have also recognised the value of YouTube stars, and are already trying to get them involved in the more traditional format. For example, the BBC has recruited Thatcher Joe – aka Joe Sugg, brother of YouTube darling Zoella – to appear as a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing as a contestant, no doubt hoping his 10m YouTube followers will come along for the ride.
For the most part, YouTube is a solitary viewing experience. But this live boxing match is YouTube’s version of event TV – everyone will be watching at same time. The fact that YouTube can achieve viewers in the millions here makes it a real alternative traditional TV.

Money, money, money

YouTube has already announced its intentions to help its creators find other ways to make money, apart from advertising. And events such as boxing matches are one means to this end.
KSI and Logan Paul have both spent the past six months ramping up the hype for their fight, publishing “diss” tracks and updates on their training for their fans to follow. This is their main means of selling merchandise and tickets and building subscribers. Their loyal followers can’t get enough of their antics and will pay for the opportunity to see them in action.
It will also open the door to sponsorships: someone like KSI can point to the number of people watching his videos, to argue that big brands should get involved, as they are hitting the equivalent of viewing numbers for traditional TV and beyond, with longevity on their YouTube channels to exploit further.

Yet YouTube stars have been known to take drama to the extreme. Earlier this year, Logan Paul posted a vlog showing the lifeless body of a suicide victim, which was met with massive backlash from the wider public. In response, YouTube temporarily suspended ads on his channel.
It can feel like nothing is off limits if it will pull in subscribers. And this creates a difficult problem for YouTube, since it raises questions over online censorship and who is policing online content.
Logan Paul is so confident that he will beat KSI that he has bet $1m on himself to win. But this is pocket money, compared with the millions that he and KSI are on track to earn in merchandise and ticket sales. And whatever happens, a rematch has already been scheduled in the US in February 2019. Kerching!

The author would like to thank her son, Zach Duthie, for his help with the research for this article.The Conversation
Lyndsay Duthie, Head of Film and Television Programme, University of Hertfordshire
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Seeing food wasted makes us mad – but should it?

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Martin Cohen, University of Hertfordshire
There is currently a grand consensus of academics, policymakers and food campaign groups that “something must be done” to reduce food wastage. Malnutrition is real, but so too is the obesity crisis. But when everyone agrees, you can afford to be a little sceptical. Because food is about much more than just calories and nutrients. Food is also part of a wider cycle of products and services that we consume – and they also play a part in this story.
People point at reports from public bodies like the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), who claim that the world loses or wastes nearly a third of the food produced for human consumption. Estimates like this include things like crops that are not harvested, perhaps because of a supply glut. Difficulties with storage and transport also mean that a large proportion of global food “waste” occurs in Africa, where post-harvest losses of food grains are estimated at 25% of the total harvested production while fruit and vegetable losses can reach 50%.

European farmers may find it costs more money to harvest the produce than the crop will make if sold on a saturated market. A detailed study in Italy, in 2009, for example, claimed that the nominal value of cereals, vegetables and even “luxury” fruit and vegetables left to rot in the field was €3.5 billion.

Similarly, in the UK, a 2013 report estimated that 30% of veg never make it to the table.
And speaking of food not being harvested, the European Union’s policy of guaranteeing farmers certain prices whether there was a market for the crops or not resulted in the overproduction of food for years that produced things like “wine lakes” and mountains of fruits and vegetables – all of which had to be destroyed at additional cost.

Let them eat food waste

But today, in many countries, the focus in discussion of “food waste” is always at the end of the supply chain – the supermarket shelf. France led the way with a law that actually requires supermarkets to hand over food they are thinking of binning to charities for redistribution to people on low incomes. A staggering 1.85m people benefit from the 200m or so meals it produces annually.
Meanwhile, in Denmark, a network of alternative supermarkets selling surplus produce that would otherwise be wasted has been created. And in the UK, food waste campaigners from the Real Junk Food Project have opened a warehouse store in which customers are invited to shop for food thrown out by supermarkets and other businesses. The charity, which claims to have saved over a million kilograms of food from being wasted, sells it on a “pay as you feel” basis and says it has filled around 50,000 hungry bellies.

Read more: Enormous amounts of food are wasted during manufacturing – here's where it occurs

Food stores and restaurants are easy targets for campaigners, but the fact is that in countries like France and Britain, it is estimated that only 11% of food waste is from retail. The reality remains that in terms of volume, the real issues lie elsewhere. As a matter of practical policy, efforts to reduce this 11% of food waste are misguided. The FAO itself admits that throwing away food is often cheaper for end users than using or reusing.

When supermarkets, as in France, are either obliged to collect and redistribute food that is near its “sell by date”, or to resell it within the shop at a reduced price, the result is additional costs to the business, which will be passed on to consumers, who include people on low incomes. Supermarkets that sell off milk at half-price to “recover” their initial investment, must reduce their sales of milk at full price because the cheap purchase displaces the full-price one. This likely does not make economic sense, given that – as farmers complain – milk is supplied to supermarkets at less than the cost of bottled water.
Ready to be reduced. Matylda Laurence /

The same thinking means a French boulangerie will not sell its famous baguettes off cheap at the end of the day, because it makes more sense for them to maintain their profit margin than to “recoup” their investment in the original loaf.

Water politics

Which brings me to the case of water, our most indispensable nutrient. I was involved in a successful campaign in the 1990s to hold the Yorkshire Water company to account for its failure to maintain supplies to cities such as Leeds and Bradford during a rare regional downturn in summer rainfall. The feeling was that the company had put profit before responsibility by allowing more than one third of water to leak away uselessly from its pipes.

The figures for leakage – like the figures for food waste today – appalled frugal consumers. Questions were asked in the Houses of Parliament and the head of the company eventually resigned.
Despite all this, it’s true that it actually makes more sense, and costs a lot less money, to pump extra water through a leaky distribution system than to lovingly tend that system. Water in the UK is cheap to collect (you just have to create and connect reservoirs) while the distribution grid is expensive to maintain. When the government imposes water meters, for example, saying it will reduce “waste”, it simply prices up water and that affects the poorest consumers most of all.

A very similar story is true for food waste. When the European Union looked at the economic impact of reducing food waste it found that (paradoxically) the costs of being frugal were enormous. It estimated that in Germany, job losses resulting from reducing food production would amount to around 600,000 — and a similar hit for the two economies of Spain and Poland put together.
As everyone of us who has hesitated to leave food on our plate knows, despite being full up, there is, after all, no simple link between what we eat and what we need.

So next time you see supermarkets throwing away slightly off fruit, you can be a little bit more tolerant – in a sense, they are also creating jobs: jobs on farms, jobs in retail and jobs in the wider economy too.The Conversation

Martin Cohen, Visiting Research Fellow in Philosophy, University of Hertfordshire
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.