Play - Learn - Grow

Losing Sports In Low-Income Communities-Impact for Child Health & Wellness

April 23, 2015

Over the last decade, financial support for intramural, recreational, and school sports has declined and many low-income students lack the resources just to play a sport. 

According to a story produced by NBCNews in June 2014 and focused on a soccer program in Florida, "The rate of sports participation has a direct relationship to income. About 25 percent of the population has household income under $25,000, but only 15 percent of sports participants are in that group and only 11 percent of soccer participant households, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. Not surprisingly, then, as the cost of playing rises, the amount of playing declines. Between 2011 and 2012, participation in team sports fell to 50 percent, from 54 percent, for kids ages 6 to 17, according to Sports & Fitness Industry Association data." 

So what cost do our children from low-income families pay? Their health & wellness.... 

According to HealthyChildren.org, a website of the American Academy of Pediatrics, physical activity, such as sports, can increase cardiac endurance, improve strength, boost flexibility and decrease excessive weight gain. 

According to the National Alliance for Youth Sports, children can develop prosocial behaviors such as making friends and cooperating with other people through team sports play and athletic league participation. This type of social development also includes acquiring good sportsmanship behaviors such as acting in a gracious manner toward other teams, treating opponents with respect and supporting peers no matter their skill level. 
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry notes that one of the many benefits of youth sports participation is the development of self-esteem. 
Exercise through sports helps reduce muscle tightness and other body discomforts symptomatic of stress in children, says HealthyChildren.org. 
Weigh in on other impact a lack of youth sports has on a child and their health and well-being...and how can communities, funders, and advocates help? 

The HandsOnSports Foundation's vision is to see that every child has the opportunity to play the sport they enjoy.

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