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Compelling Benefits From Playing Sports For Kids

Compelling Benefits From Playing Sports For Kids

“Sports are a critical component of a healthy community"

SILVER SPRING, MD – August 11, 2015 – Parents have spoken and they are excited about the many benefits their children receive by playing sports - Better physical fitness, better self-discipline, and stronger communication skills.  Those are just a three of the many benefits that children receive when they play sports.  logos 3 sports

The results of a recent study by NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reveal that nearly 90 percent of parents whose middle school or high school-aged children played sports actually benefited from the athletic experience.  What’s encouraging about the survey results is that more than 70 percent of the adults surveyed, whose child competed in a sport, felt that their child would remain physically active into adulthood.  What’s also great to see is that nearly 40 percent of the adults whose child competed in sports actually played sports with their child in the last 12 months.

“Sports are a critical component of a healthy community. They help children and adults maintain a healthy weight, teach acceptance and teamwork, and expand opportunity for children living in poverty,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, MD, President and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “This poll indicates that we must continue to encourage children to play sports, but just as important, we must find ways to keep adults engaged in sports in order to maintain health and well-being.”

The vast majority of parents in the survey feel there are many major benefits for their children by playing sports:

  1. Improves their child’s physical fitness – 88%kids sports chart
  2. Gives their child something to do with his or her free time – 83%
  3. Enhances their child’s self discipline – 81%
  4. Better their child’s communication skills with other people – 78%
  5. Improves their child’s mental health – 73%
  6. Benefit’s their child’s social life – 65%

The results of that same study by NPR, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reveal that while more than three-quarters of adults report having played sports as children, only 26 percent of them are still playing sports into their late 20s.  The topline results of the study were publicized in a recent story by NPR.  Another shocking statistic is that nearly 70 percent of adults who were active as children are no longer physically active at age 30.

Of those adults who do play sports, nearly 60 percent do it because it reduces the stress in their life and more than half of them say that it improves their mental health or improves their physical fitness.

“When adults play sports, it’s about competition, personal satisfaction, and health. More than one in five adults who play sports do so for health-related reasons, and it’s a priority in their lives,” said Robert J. Blendon, Richard L. Menschel Professor of Health Policy and Political Analysis at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The study also revealed that income also impact frequency of play.  Less than 20 percent of lower-income adults (with household incomes less than $25,000/year) are playing sports while nearly 40 percent of adults play sports whose annual household income is at least $75,000/year.

For those men and women who continue to play sports throughout their adulthood, men are interested in golf, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and running.  Women are interested in walking, golf, volleyball, and running.
Why are adults – men and women – putting a halt to their athletic lives at such an early stage in life?

While half of the adults surveyed say that a health-related matter (old age or an injury) is why they don’t play sports, the other half say that a lack of time, opportunity, and money is why they are no longer active.

There is a solution to the ‘lack of opportunity’ issue.  It’s a website:  www.GetFitHere.org.  This PHIT America online tool allows people interested in more than 50 sports or fitness activities to find a location to get started in their area. For the lack of a better term, GetFitHere.org is PHIT America’s online ‘Yellow Pages’ of local sports, exercise and fitness activities.

“Many people across America are frustrated about the lack of knowledge of local sports clubs, camps, and clinics so that they can get involved and start being active,” says Mike May, Director of Communications for PHIT America.  “Our GET FIT HERE database cuts to the chase and provides any exercise enthusiast with the information he or she needs.”