The LIVESTRONG Foundation published the following article.
Youth Sports & Obesity Obesity is an increasing epidemic in the United States, and throughout the world. In 2010 the Centers for Disease and Prevention said that childhood obesity in the United States had more than tripled in the previous 30 years. A leading cause of youth obesity is inactivity, this gives youth sports an important role to play in the fight against obesity.
Types Youth sports can be played on a recreational or more competitive basis. In relation to obesity the level of competition is not important. The primary factor is that youth sports encourage regular physical activity in an enjoyable environment. Sports, such as soccer that require a high amount of running and aerobic exercise, may be most effective to help young players lose weight.
Significance Researchers from Colorado State University reported that lack of physical activity is a contributor to childhood obesity. Participation in youth sports will be a crucial factor for any child to increase physical activity level, and subsequently reduce their risk of obesity. The Washington Post reported on the damage done by a decrease in youth sports. The article stated that cuts to youth sports were directly correlated to an increase in obesity and behavioral problems in young people.
Benefits The increased physical activity of youth sports participation will have a positive impact on obesity risk. The World Health Organization cited increased physical activity as a key factor in fighting obesity. The reach of youth sports can go beyond purely an activity level. Researchers Caroline Payne and Kate Fogarty from Florida University reported research finding children who participated in youth sports to be more nutrition-conscious.
Risks Obesity is a disease that increases the risk of young people to a number of dangerous health conditions. The World Health Organization states that obesity is associated with respiratory difficulties and musculoskeletal problems. Obesity can also leave young people at increased risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer in later life.
Expert Insight Dr. Barbara Moore researched the impact of increased physical activity and youth sports participation on childhood obesity. Moore found that in overweight children and teens increased physical activity on three to seven days per week leads to a reduction in body fat. The study recommended that school-age youth participate in physical activity for 60 minutes. The physical activity should be moderate to vigorous intensity. It is also important that the physical activity is enjoyable and developmentally appropriate. Participating in a favorite sport is an easy way to ensure this.