Team Sports Linked to Life Satisfaction in Youths

Middle-schoolers not on sports teams have less life satisfaction, poorer self-reported health
By Eric Metcalf
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Sept. 27 (HealthDay News) -- Participating in team sports may help improve life satisfaction and self-reported health in middle-school students, according to research published online Sept. 3 in Applied Research in Quality of Life.

Keith J. Zullig, Ph.D., of West Virginia University in Morgantown, and Rebecca J. White, of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, analyzed data from 245 seventh- and eighth-graders. Participants answered questions on their overall life satisfaction, self-rated health, and participation in vigorous exercise and team sports.

The researchers found that boys and girls who didn't play on sports teams had significantly reduced life satisfaction, as did girls who reported no vigorous physical activity in the past week. In addition, students who didn't play on a sports team had higher odds of reporting fair or poor health (odds ratios, 5.4 for boys and 30.9 for girls).

"Despite the benefits, studies have shown that middle-school students report barriers to physical activity including being too tired, being too busy, and reporting aches and pains from physical activity. Given the findings from this study in combination with previous research, it will be important for future studies to determine ways to reduce potential barriers and increase participation in physical activity at young ages," the authors write.

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