Study: Team sports don't always provide enough exercise for kidsMany parents encourage their kids to take part in team sports, thinking they'll get their recommended daily activity. But a new study suggests that children who play sports might not get enough daily exercise, and teens may get even less.
By: Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times (MCT)
LOS ANGELES — Many parents encourage their kids to take part in team sports, thinking they'll get their recommended daily activity. But a new study suggests that children who play sports might not get enough daily exercise, and teens may get even less.
The study, released this week in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, looked at how much exercise 200 kids age 7 to 14 got while playing team soccer, baseball or softball. The children wore accelerometers that tracked movement and intensity during team practice time, which ranged from 40 to 130 minutes for soccer and 35 to 217 minutes for baseball and softball.
Researchers discovered that among all participants, only 24 percent got the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity during practices. The news for teens was even worse — only 10 percent of children age 11 to 14 reached that amount. All participants averaged about 45 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity.
The sports, chosen for their popularity and different activity levels, did show disparities. Soccer players were active for an average of 13.7 minutes more than those who played baseball or softball.
Boys outdid girls during practice, spending on average 10.7 more minutes being active. And both boys and girls were inactive for an average of 30 minutes per practice.
In the study, the authors wrote, "The health effects of youth sports could be improved by adopting policies and practices that ensure youth obtain sufficient physical activity during practices: emphasizing participation over competition, sponsoring teams for all skill levels across all ages, ensuring access by lower-income youth with sliding scales for fees, increasing practice frequency, extending short seasons, using pedometers or accelerometers to monitor physical activity periodically during practices, providing coaches strategies to increase physical activity, and supporting youth and parents in obtaining adequate physical activity on nonpractice days."
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