"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life."
- Mark Twain
We're all aware of how obesity rates are still climbing in scale crunching numbers. But did you know that team sports are dwindling in record numbers - and have been over the past decade?
There isn't enough interest from students to keep team sports active!Since the beginning of 2000, when the obesity epidemic went into to stratospheric overdrive, the number of team sports has leveled. In fact, according to 2001 stats from the American Sports Data, team sports are the real losers with 12.3 million kids not participating in team sports at all, and the numbers are expected to dwindle. Scary?
"Most especially if you think about what they'll do instead," says Kathlyn Grayson, a middle school teacher in the San Gabriel Valley. "I don't even want to imagine."
The national average age for participation in team sports is around 11. "This is about the time a child enters puberty and is introduced to extra pounds," says a local pediatrician who specializes in adolescent weight control. "The fact is, if current trends in sports participation continues, this may mean lots more overweight kids and teens."
"This speaks to a nation of children who will definitely grow up and out of proportion," says Woodland Hills clinical psychologist Dr. Kristina Diener, who specializes in adolescents and teens. "One of the foremost aspects of good self esteem is exercise, and engaging children at a young age helps keep them inclined to success, with the added advantage of sustained self esteem, especially in what they've achieved."
Indeed, pursuing sports puts kids at an advantage: 80% will stay away from cigarettes and drugs if they participate in them. Whatsmore, says a recent survey, many will watch their diets, something couch potatoes do not bother to do.
So What's In Store for Team Sports? This really depends, with depleted teams and lackluster participation, growth will be slow in the next decade. In the meantime, it's up to parents to make sure that their children are getting involved in the right kind of extracurricular activities that will inspire a healthy mindset.