Sports For Kids

Youth Fitness Leads To Better Lifestyle

Participation in Organized Sports by Young Children Predicts the Level of Physical Activity Later in Life.

The odds of an adult being physically active during free time are greatly increased if they took part in organized sports as a child, according to newly published survey results appearing in the December issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise®, the official scientific journal of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The results indicate that encouraging participation in youth sports could result in improved health outcomes for the general population.

“Taking part in organized sports and athletic competition outside of usual school activities could provide young children with the skills they need to foster enjoyment of physical exercise, activity or recreational sports,” said lead author Allen Kraut, M.D., of the University of Manitoba, Canada. “Establishing this pattern in young people seems to form the foundation for healthy, active habits later in life.

Researchers analyzed survey results from the Cardiovascular Occupational Risk Factors in Israel Study (CORDIS), which included questionnaires taken from more than 3,500 men employed in various industrial situations in Israel. Information collected included a wide variety of occupational and personal information.

The men were asked whether they had participated in athletic activities, including team and non-team sports during their school years (age Six to Eighteen), and the number of years they participated. Physical education classes were not included in the definition of school-age sports. Individuals were considered to have participated in sports if they reported playing sports for at least one year of their childhood. To analyze leisure time athletic activity, researchers asked respondents if they were currently physically active in their free time, and if so, how often. Those who reported such activity at least once each seven days for more than 30 minutes were considered active for the purposes of this study. For those who participated in sports as a child, the odds were 3.5 times higher that they would to reach the threshold of being physically active as adults.

Because of the large size of the study group and the type of information collected, the researchers were able to ensure that their results were not affected by several factors that could potentially influence the association between youth sports and adult physical activity such as age, marital status, work activities and health conditions.

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