The Effect of Organized Sport on Children
It is obvious that the American society is obsessed with sports. All one needs to do to see this obsession is turn on the television and watch one of the dozens of twenty -four hour sports stations and commercials dedicated to sports. Still not convinced, then hop into your car and take a drive across any suburban American town and look at the parks and playing fields. They are full of adult and children athletes playing for leisure and competition. We, as adults, have made athletics into a billion dollar industry as spectators and participants. Our need for sports fuels our pride and self worth as Americans. However, organized youth sports in the U.S. are still a relatively new phenomenon. Prior to 1954, most organized sports in this country took place through social agencies such as the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, etc. (Seefelt & Ewing, 1997). Since this time, the benefits provided by these activities have developed into private youth sports organizations primarily run by volunteering adults. Does our obsession have a purpose? Do organized sports play a positive role in the lives of our children? At first thought, any red blooded American would say absolutely. But can we explain why and in what way organized sports benefit our children? Parents and coaches have alluded to the idea that sports are great for kids for decades, but when this comment is made it seems to be accepted without any question. In the following text we will discuss specific benefits from participation in organized sports including the physical, psychological, and academic impact of sport on children. We will also look at the research to see the concrete proof that organized sports play a vital role in the development of the youth of this country. Physical
The most alarming issue facing the health of our country and specifically our children is the epidemic of childhood obesity. The infrastructure of our nation’s health care system will be tested as we see the first wave of obese children reach adulthood and deal with the related health issues. The scary facts are that the lifestyle and diet we promote is trickling down to the children of this country. Health issues that are linked to adult obesity are now becoming more and more common in children and teens. For example, type II diabetes was once considered adult on-set diabetes, but today the cases of children with type II diabetes is raising at an alarming rate. The estimated yearly cost of obesity in this country is estimated at around 61 billion dollars. With these issues facing the children of this country we need a cure right? Well a portion of that cure is located in organized sports. The solution is simple to stopping the trend of childhood obesity; eat less and be more active. Today children in this country are far less active than prior generations. Through childhood activity, we are not only saving our children from a life of obesity as adults but we are also potentially saving this country billions of dollars in missed days of work, dollars spent on health care, and rising disability rates. (Healthierchildren.org). In 1997, the CDC stated within its “Guidelines for Schools and Communities for Promoting Lifelong Physical Activity” that youth sports can promote positive behavior that can last a lifetime (Seefelt & Ewing, 1997). Much debate has been discussed in the general public about the frequency and duration it takes for a child athlete to receive benefits from physical activity. Boys and girls who participate in just two 50 minute training sessions per week improved their aerobic capacity by 15% in just six months (Eppright, Sanfacon, Beck & Bradley, 1996). How young is too young for involvement in organized sports? Children under the age of 5 are more than likely to receive from organized sports the simplest of benefits. For example, children at this age seem to enjoy the...
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