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"We Are Standing Up For The True Meaning Of Sport"

SILVER SPRING, MD – July 14, 2015 – Smart phones and electronics are dominating the lives of children, who are playing video games and thinking that they are actually exercising. And now, video gaming is being described as a ‘sport’ by many children and businesses.  In a recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle and other San Francisco Bay area newspapers, an organization is now calling its video gaming league the ‘Little League of Video Games.’ And, Brett Morris, COO of Super League Gaming, is also calling this activity a sport.Gaming Exercise

“We looked out our windows and saw the kid across the street going to soccer practice, and we said, ‘Here’s gaming, which is the sport of our children. We would love for them to have a similar communal environment where they could actually participate,’” said Morris, in the San Francisco Chronicle story.

There is a growing category of electronic gaming called ‘e-sports’, which is basically organized multi-player video competitions. This has become a huge industry with millions of participants.  Ironically, if you look at the list of the top 50 ‘sports’ (see list here), only two or three seem to be traditional sports or games. E-Sports is ‘hijacking’ the word ‘sport.’  It’s clever marketing, but very misleading.

PHIT America (www.PHITAmerica.org) is totally against the idea of referring to gaming as a sport.

“It is one thing to use the word ‘gaming,’ but this is not a sport,” says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America.  “The definition of the word sport by Merriam-Webster (below) clearly says otherwise.  Video gaming is not a sport.  This has gone too far.”

“A contest or game in which people do certain physical activities according to a specific set of rules and compete against each other” – Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Combine this with other recent eye-opening research, which confirms the prevalence of this national ‘addiction’ to electronic devices and games:

  1. Nearly one in four children (age 5-16) think video Online Constantlygaming is a form of exercise.  A higher percentage (31%) of the seven & eight year olds feel the same way;
  2. There are now 31 million ‘e-sport’ participants in the USA;
  3. Two universities, Robert Morris University (IL) and the University of Pikesville (KY), are giving athletic scholarships to those playing video games;
  4. Nearly 25% of all teenagers say they are online almost constantly. See this research here.
  5. 83% of kids say they use 'my device' 3 or more hours per day. Only 40% of parents think this is true;
  6. In 2010, the Kaiser Family Foundation published research that stated that children aged from 8 to 18 spend, on average, nearly eight hours per day with entertainment media;
  7. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggest parents should limit screen time for children of all ages to two hours a day & set “screen-free zones,” including bedrooms;
  8. 20% of all children are totally inactive or sedentary - They do not participate in any of 104 different activities in the past year once. This percentage is increasing.
  9. Ten of the top 12 youth sports (real sports) in the U.S. have had declines in youth participation in the last five years, according to the Physical Activity Council.

“These trends are not positive for sports and for America, as a whole,” says Dr. Steven Blair, professor of the departments of exercise science and epidemiology/biostatistics at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.  “Kids have to move. They have to be active. We have a health-care crisis and medical doctors are saying that it’s tied to physical inactivity.  But, this problem is not going to go away until we put down these sedentary games and get outside to play.”

PHIT America has plans to attack this issue and is exploring ‘all avenues’ to contact organizations which are ‘hijacking’ the word ‘sport.’ PHIT America is making this issue visible to everyone in the sports and fitness industry and will let Americans know the negative issues with the growth in usage of electronic devices. PHIT America knows there are some good electronic tools that get children and adults active. Those products and tools are welcome. However, the vast majority of devices and electronic tools lead to sedentary lifestyles.  Later this year, PHIT America will fight technology with technology by launching a new free app for parents (and their children) to get their children disconnected from electronic devices and their favorite apps. PHIT America will be promoting this and its vision to America through a new video and a 30-minute documentary.

“We are standing up to defend the true meaning of ‘sport’ and will constantly promote all the phenomenal benefits of sport and physical activity,” says Baugh. “Part of that plan is to get kids off their electronic ‘addiction.’  I hope everyone who cares about the health and wellness of our children will do the same.”

Sedentary Electronics Source of Data:  1. U.K. Research conducted by the Youth Sport Trust; 2. Super Data Research and Newzoo; 4. Pew Research; 5. American Optometric Association: 6. Kaiser Foundation; 8, 9. Physical Activity Council, 2015;