Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

Organized Sports Don’t Give Kids Enough Exercise

Study Shows Most Kids in Organized Sports Aren’t Getting Recommended Amount of Activity

Downtime During Practice continued...

“Thus, there clearly are opportunities to increase physical activity in youth sports,” they write. “Based on current findings, it appears that youth sports practices are making a less-than-optimal contribution to the public health goals of increasing physical activity and preventing childhood obesity.”

The researchers say that the health effects of youth sports could be improved by adopting policies that ensure that children get sufficient physical activity during practices.

The suggested policies include:

  • Coaches and parents could stress participation over competition.
  • Teams should be available for kids at different levels of skills.
  • Lower-income youths should be able to participate more in sports activities if organizations devised sliding fees.
  • Youth sports coaches and parents should take steps to increase frequency of practices, make short seasons longer, and use devices such as pedometers or accelerometers to make sure physical activity during practices and games is sufficient.

Russel R. Pate, PhD, and Jennifer O’Neill, PhD, MPH, of the University of South Carolina, write in an editorial that more research is needed to find ways to make sure kids get more exercise and to make it more vigorous. And this should be done not just in sports, but for kids who take part in other physical activities, such as ballet, tap dancing, rock climbing, cycling, canoeing, and kayaking.

“We need to learn ways in which the doses of physical activity provided during youth sports and activity programs can be most effectively increased by modifying the manner in which the practices and contests are conducted,” Pate and O’Neill write.

They say more informal physical activity should be encouraged in homes and neighborhoods, and that to reduce obesity and improve health, physical activity for youths should be stressed more by parents and teachers.

“Available evidence indicates that sports programs can make an important contribution, but probably cannot be the singular solution to this challenge,” Pate and O’Neill write.

1|2

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
 
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
 
mother and daughter talking
Tool
child brushing his teeth
Slideshow
 
Sipping hot tea
Slideshow
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 
6-Week Challenges
Want to know more?
Chill Out and Charge Up Challenge – How to help your tribe de-stress and energize.
Spark Change Challenge - Ready for a healthy change? Get some major motivation.
I have read and agreed to WebMD's Privacy Policy.
Enter cell phone number
- -
Entering your cell phone number and pressing submit indicates you agree to receive text messages from WebMD related to this challenge. WebMD is utilizing a 3rd party vendor, CellTrust, to provide the messages. You can opt out at any time.
Standard text rates apply
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
Article
rl with friends
fitSlideshow
 
tissue box
Quiz
Child with adhd
Slideshow