Youth sports can help kids stay healthy

October 8, 2012

Topic: injury prevention

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Playing team sports as a kid can be a significant part of childhood. It's a great way for young athletes to communicate with their peers in a social environment, and with proper injury prevention, it can be a safe and fun way to exercise.

According to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics, children who participate in one or more sports may be healthier than kids who do not. Researchers from Dartmouth College surveyed approximately 1,700 adolescents about how many different ways they engage in physical activity and whether they were overweight or obese, as reported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). 

"Every additional sports team adolescents played on was associated with a 10 percent decrease in their risk of [being] overweight, up to three sports," said researcher Keith Drake, M.D. "Playing on two sports teams or more was associated with a 39 percent decrease in an adolescent’s risk of obesity."

During childhood and adolescence, routine physical activity can improve strength and endurance, as well as help weight management, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Individuals between the ages of 6 and 17 should get a minimum of one hour of exercise every day.

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