Youth Obesity – Prevention With Sports

Youth obesity has been a growing issue in North America with lack of exercise being one the major contributing factors along with poor eating habits. Keeping kids active is one of the recommendations from a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Surveys done by researchers in New Hampshire and Vermont asked students and parents about their involvement in extracurricular physical activity, sports teams they played on, biking and walking to school, screen time, and diet in the past 12 months.

Youth obesity statistics were based on self reported height and weight to calculate BMI values. Of the students studied, 29% were overweight/obese and a further 13% were obese.

Of the activities studied, only those individuals who played on sports teams were found to have an inverse relationship to both overweight/obesity and obesity. Those who played on at least three sports teams were 27% less likely to be overweight/obese and 39% less likely to be obese when compared with those who did not play on a team. Over 70% of the students had played at least one sport with 35% playing at least three.

Walking and biking to school was found to have students 33% less likely to be obese but with only 3.5 days of activity it had little effect on those who were overweight/obese. Being active during a regular commute each day has healthy benefits but would need to be more intense and more frequent to make a real difference.

Due to advances in technology and societal trends, the number of students who actively commuted to school in 1969 as compared to 2001 dropped from nearly half of all U.S. children to a mere 20%. To verify this stat, nearly 70% of the students in the study said they never bike or walk to school. The researchers found that youth obesity would drop by 22.1% if students spent at least four days per week using their bike or feet to get to school instead of riding a car or bus.

Researchers estimate that youth obesity would decrease by 26.1% and overweight/obesity levels would drop by 10.6% simply by having students play on at least two sports teams per year.

The researchers stated “Increasing opportunities for all adolescents, regardless of athletic ability, to participate in sports should be prioritized for obesity prevention.”

The surveys verified previous research that found that physical education classes had little effect on a student’s weight status.

My name is Jacques Delorme and I run a youth nutrition blog at [] where you can get all sorts of information on nutrition, exercise and motivation for youth athletes. Visit my site and feel free to leave comments and questions if you need more information.

By Jacques Delorme  |   Submitted On February 22, 2013

Article Source: