Team sports help teens stay fit
July 16th, 2012
11:10 AM ET

Team sports help teens stay fit

Active teens are healthy teens, but some kinds of activities may be better than others.

New research published Monday in the journal Pediatrics suggests that team sports may be better at keeping kids' weight down than biking or walking to school.

Study authors from Dartmouth College looked at the influence sports, physical education and commuting to school had on adolescents and their weight.

Investigators surveyed more than 1,700 high school students by phone and asked them how much they participated in team sports, what other forms of physical activity they were involved in and their height and weight.

The study found those kids who played on three or more sports teams in a year, were 27% less likely to be overweight, and 39% less likely to be obese than those teens who did not play team sports.  They also found biking or walking to school had less of an effect on a student's weight - although it did reduce their likelihood of being obese.

“We estimated that the prevalence of obesity would decrease by 22% if all adolescents walked or biked to school four to five days per week,” said Keith Drake, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Hood Center for Children and Families at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth.

Drake's research also found that P.E. classes for teens seemed to have little effect on their weight.

“Active commuting was not associated with a lower risk of being overweight, which suggests that it may be protective only for adolescents who are already overweight or obese.  We were surprised by this finding, as previous studies of active travel have failed to detect an inverse relationship with weight status."

Researchers believe playing high school sports, which usually involve regular practices and competitions, reduces a child's chances of having a weight problem because of the strenuous and consistent workouts.  Therefore, study authors conclude, increasing a child's opportunity to play sports, even if they are not gifted athletes, should be a priority, especially for teens and children entering middle school or high school.

“Increasing sport participation in adolescents who do not play sports, are not athletic, or just not competitive may be challenging," Drake acknowledged. “Because our estimates suggest that increasing sports participation among these adolescents would lead to the largest reduction in obesity, expanding non-competitive athletic opportunities, such as club sports and intramurals, should be prioritized.”

soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. daneburksco

    We agree. Here's what we are working on now with MLK Magnet school in Nashville, TN. http://goo.gl/ndaQf

    July 16, 2012 at 11:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. ARandomGirl

    In this case. It's sorta a big "DUH".

    July 16, 2012 at 17:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • nothing u need to know

      seriously, this is important to other kidz. I bet you overdo video games and TV

      October 9, 2018 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • Bitby A. Snake

      I agree with "nothing you need to know" he just sick buurrned you

      October 9, 2018 at 14:24 | Report abuse |
    • #Freddy Kruger

      it's funny how were all on at once

      October 9, 2018 at 14:28 | Report abuse |
    • Bitby A. Snake

      What a coincidence

      October 9, 2018 at 14:29 | Report abuse |
    • nothing u need to know

      I know, who is you?

      October 9, 2018 at 14:30 | Report abuse |
  3. BruceNY

    Team sports are the only sports available to kids, that why the only thing they can compare it to is walking or biking to school. Fit kids are staying fit thanks to the sports they were already practicing, big deal. How many fat kids became fit through team sports? Easy, none, but that's a trick question: we don't let fat kids into teams. We make teams by selecting those kids who are already fit and we call it a day. Team sports, while great to learn things like caving in to peer pressure, or injuring opposing players so the team can win, are detrimental to your kid's critical judgement. High Schools are full or pitchers and quarterbacks, but rarely a single kid with real skills like climbing a tree, doing a handstand, or climbing a rope...

    July 29, 2012 at 21:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Marty

    Bruce's perspective has some truth, but is not completely accurate. One team sport that is different than he describes is cross-country. As a high school cross-country coach, I have actually seen several "fat kids" become fit in this sport. One reason is that cross-country is a "no-cut" sport (at least I've never heard of a high school team that cuts kids based on ability). It is also actually a team sport, but does not involve negative peer pressure or attempting to injure opposing players. All kids have to do is show up, participate in the practices, and they end up having a bunch of great friends, become fit, learn teamwork, and generally continue an active lifestyle long after high school. Oh, by the way, most of the kids I know who run cross-country end up with GPAs among the top in their schools....

    August 22, 2012 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Simone

    A good deal of people used to think Twitter was just the subsequent massive trend that was sure to die a quicker loss of life than MySpace. Effectively, a great deal of folks had been wrong and most of them are now flocking to the micro-blogging community quicker than they are flocking to Facebook. Of course, Twitter is the underdog in the social network wars, an underdog that is fairly well-outfitted to perhaps topple Facebook's figures in the up coming numerous several years. It partially has received something to do with the truth that Facebook's person foundation has turn out to be so big that Twitter has definitelymuch more area for expansion.

    April 1, 2014 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Bobby Banks

    There is certainly a great deal to learn about this issue. I like all the points you made.


    June 21, 2014 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Vanessa

    I'm thinking about taking prohormones, do you think this is good idea
    for advanced bodybuilder like me? Bodybuilders are satisfied with the results after prohormones cycles,
    just google for – prohormones factory – worth a try?

    October 9, 2014 at 15:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. phentermine

    If some one wishes to be updated with most recent technologies therefore
    he must bbe pay a quick visit this website and be up to date every day.

    October 10, 2014 at 03:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. AshleyNJ

    Sports is a great way for kids to stay fit and active!
    Can you imagine standing on the bleachers screaming at the top of your lungs for your, football or basketball team. Well some people can not, because schools are banning school sports teams.Their taking away the only stress reliever teens have these days.Sports is what takes your mind off things, how could they take that away?
    Sports have been around since the beginning of time. There are many sports that people who love to play. People of all ages enjoy the fun of sports.Which makes it difficult, because many schools are trying to shut down the sports system. Many people hate this, because students should be able to have school sports! For teens having something to do after school besides school work will help students be children. Some of them get too serious and have their whole world revolve around their grades in school, thats why its good for kids to have something fun to do after school like sports.
    There are many things that come from sports like sports are a great way for kids to stay fit and active. Many people become obese as they grow up, but a great way for people to lose weight is by sports. Sports is a great way for kids to lose weight,because kids are always running around and having fun. For example in a text it states”The study found those kids who played on three or more sports teams in a year, were 27% less likely to be overweight, and 39% less likely to be obese than those teens who did not play team sports.” This shows that playing sports help kids become fit instead of being obese. Many people keep their figure, because of sports and that another reason why people like it so much.

    This is just a little part of my essay that i'm writing about for school its an argument essay. just wanted to share and see your opinions.

    April 1, 2015 at 10:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. dog

    Yo Dog

    April 9, 2015 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. dog

    Yo Do

    April 9, 2015 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. dog

    I really like your article and I think you put a lot of time and effort into it

    April 9, 2015 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. dog


    April 9, 2015 at 13:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. dog

    hi dog

    April 9, 2015 at 13:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. dog

    nice article ;\ :]]]]]]]

    April 9, 2015 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. dog

    April 9, 2015 at 13:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. dog


    April 9, 2015 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. dog

    really coooool

    April 9, 2015 at 13:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. dog

    Hey yo

    April 10, 2015 at 10:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. dog

    reaallllly awesome article so interresting

    April 10, 2015 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. shaggy

    yo yo pretty radical article my homies

    April 10, 2015 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. shaggy

    yo yo pretty radical article my homies......

    April 10, 2015 at 10:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. shaggy

    Yo dog in the house

    April 10, 2015 at 10:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. shaggy

    Yo wuzzup home slice

    April 10, 2015 at 10:39 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Larry Bird


    April 27, 2015 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Larry Bird


    April 27, 2015 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Larry Bird

    Im a basketball legend yo

    April 27, 2015 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. jerry


    April 27, 2015 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. jerry

    im cool

    April 27, 2015 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Larry Bird

    whats yer phern numbr

    April 27, 2015 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. jerry

    lol braaaa

    April 27, 2015 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Larry Bird

    nice bra

    April 27, 2015 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. smith


    April 27, 2015 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mindy

      yo dog in the houdem,snzdlnvkm

      April 27, 2015 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
    • Larry Bird


      April 27, 2015 at 12:05 | Report abuse |
  34. Bart

    Im in the simpsons

    April 27, 2015 at 11:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. anonymous

    im gonna hack you

    April 27, 2015 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. hector


    April 27, 2015 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. anonymous

    im gonna hack you too

    April 27, 2015 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. homer

    yo im fat

    April 27, 2015 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. brah

    all yal dogs dumb

    January 28, 2016 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. anonymous

    im gonna hack this webpage

    December 1, 2016 at 10:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. hi

    im gonna hack this webpage before you do

    December 1, 2016 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. admin

    fixed the page, now don't do it again

    December 1, 2016 at 10:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. bo[i


    March 16, 2017 at 16:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. hi

    whats good

    March 16, 2017 at 16:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. cheifkeef

    wassup wit yall

    March 21, 2017 at 10:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. ava


    May 7, 2018 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. ava

    ive never been to canada

    May 7, 2018 at 09:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. #Freddy Kruger

    it's funny how were all on at once

    October 9, 2018 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. nothing u need to know

    i know, well byee

    October 9, 2018 at 14:32 | Report abuse | Reply

Post a comment


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.