A Critique of Working Out on Polluted Streets Bears Minimal Benefit for Older People - Article Analysis Essay

Published: 2021-08-17
559 words
3 pages
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Harvey Mudd College
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The article highlighted the negligible positive impacts of older people exercising on polluted streets (Senthilingam, 2017). The article seemed to be aimed at investigating the differential health benefits of physical exercise in the park, free from pollution, and on polluted urban streets. In this article, the authors did not explicitly mention the research questions or the hypotheses. Even though the author did not mention the research design that was used in this study, randomization of the participants into two groups (an open park and a polluted street) means that the design was experimental. In experimental designs, random assignment is used to assign subjects to different groups, an experimental group ad a control group.

In this study, there were predictor and outcome variables. The predictor variable is exercise while the outcome variable is the impact on respiratory and cardiovascular system (Senthilingam, 2017). The population for this study comprised of individuals aged 60 and above. The population from which the sample was picked from consisted of a mixture of healthy individuals, those with cardiovascular complications, and those having COPD. The sampling strategy used to recruit the participants was not mentioned. However, the most appropriate sampling technique is a probability one, such as simple random sampling as it enhances the generalizability of results. The sample for the study comprised of 119 participants aged 60 and above placed into three groups by randomization. The sample characteristics included were provided as healthy, COPD patients, and those with heart diseases.

The author operationalized exercise, the predictor variable, was operationalized as walking, either in the park or the streets. On the other hand, the outcome variable was operationalized regarding lung capacity and function and stiffness of the arteries. Descriptive statistics are not explicitly stated in the article. However, it can be implied from the findings that the descriptive statistics of interest were the average (mean) lung capacity of the three groups of participants and the average blood velocities in arteries of the participants before and after the experiment. Also, the inferential statistics were not explicitly mentioned. However, it can be implied that one-way ANOVA was used in the study. This is because it is the only method which can enable a researcher to determine whether or a statistically significant difference in an outcome variable exist in three or more independent groups.

The inference implied in the study is that pollution cancels positive health impacts of exercise. The author concluded that exercising in an open park, free from pollution, improves lung capacity as well as cardiovascular fitness. Conversely, exercising in a polluted environment has minimal impact on lung capacity and cardiovascular health.

The author of the article did well I making a complex scientific concepts look simple and thus understandable to a consumer who is not well-versed with complex scientific terminologies. Therefore, the journalistic goals of the article were met. However, because the sampling technique was not outlined, it is difficult to determine whether sample for the study was representative of the population. Because of this, the external validity or generalizability of the research findings is questionable. Consequently, results of this study may not be generalizable beyond the sample that was being studied. Also, the authors failed to indicate the number of subjects in each of the three groups.


Senthilingam, M. (2017). Working out on polluted streets bears minimal benefit for older people. Retrieved from http://edition.cnn.com/2017/12/05/health/exercise-polluted-urban-streets-intl/index.html

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