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April 4, 2011

Youth Sports Programs: Contribution to Physical Activity

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2011 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2011

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(4):369-370. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.245

The findings of Leek et al1 raise important issues about the role of youth sports programs in providing participants with doses of physical activity that would be considered meaningful from a public health perspective. It has long been clear that youth sports programs provide an opportunity for millions of youth to be physically active. The National Council of Youth Sports has estimated that 44 million American youth participate annually in structured sports programs.2 At the high school level, more than 7 million students participate in school sports programs each year,3 and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior Survey has shown that nearly 60% of US high school students report engaging in sports programs.4 So the evidence is quite compelling that American youth, as a population, are exposed to sports programs at a very substantial level—a level that could represent an important source of health-promoting physical activity.