By Kasey Bowser
“Obesity over the past 25 years has doubled in our youth and will affect more than one-third of our children by the third grade,” according to a report done on youth sports (True Sport Report) by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) and TrueSport.com. This epidemic will continue to increase if something isn’t done to teach our younger generations about proper nutrition and exercise.
It all starts at an early stage in life. In the True Sport Report, research shows that when children begin playing sports at a young age they are more likely to continue to play throughout their adolescence, which is about the time sports participation in youth begins to decline.
Not only does playing sports and regular exercise help delay the development of chronic diseases such as heart conditions, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis, it also helps to maintain a healthy weight and reduce levels of stress.
The physical benefits also include:
*Higher levels of cardio-respiratory fitness
*Lower body fat
*Higher energy levels
There is a current trend among parents who believe it’s beneficial for their children to participate in a sport year round. Experts caution and say to get your children involved in a variety of activities, which will help with injury prevention and overuse of muscles and help your kid develop a well-rounded range of skills.
“Participating in a variety of activities and sports promote a lifelong engagement in physical activity,” The True Report stated. “If children do not have the opportunity to experience diversity in sports, they may be less likely to be motivated to specialize at a later age and more likely to burn out.”
Stay tuned for a blog series on the True Sport Report. Next up will be the emotional benefits of playing sports.