Regular physical exercise has several health advantages, including aiding in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones, muscles, and joints; assisting in weight management and fat reduction; and avoiding or delaying the onset of high blood pressure (GAO, 2012). One research found that exercise can prevent chronic illnesses as efficiently as medicine, making it one of the most cost-effective methods to keep healthy (British Journal of Medicine, 2013). Leisure-time physical exercise has been linked to a lower risk of 13 distinct forms of cancer, including breast, colon, liver, and myeloid leukaemia, according to a thorough investigation and analysis of previous studies (National Institutes of Health, 2016).
Young people’s engagement in sports and physical fitness activities is significantly influenced by their participation in sports. Adolescents who participate in sports are eight times more likely than those who do not to be active at the age of 24. (Sports Participation as Predictors of Participation in Sports and Physical Fitness Activities in Young Adulthood, Perkins, 2004). Three-quarters (77%) of individuals aged 30 and above who participate in sports now did so as school-aged children. Only 3% of individuals who participate in sports now did not participate as children (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation/Harvard University/NPR, 2015).
Communities that are more active are healthier. The Aspen Institute investigated the values, capital and financial investments, and surroundings of a community that invests in sport and leisure by looking at the top 10 cities (overall ranking) in the 2019 ACSM American Fitness Index. The cities with the highest ratings are said to have a strong communal fitness, which is similar to having strong personal fitness. On the results page, there is a linked chart.
Obesity is less common among active children. Researchers looked at obesity prevention measures and their capacity to reduce obesity by 2032 in a 2014 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Afterschool physical activity programs were shown to lower obesity the highest, by 1.8 percent, among children aged 6 to 12. That’s twice as much as any restriction on child-directed fast-food advertising is expected to have. “Motivations for sports participation are more desired than those for exercise,” according to previous research of college students, “and may allow increased adherence to physical activity requirements” (Kilpatrick, Journal of American College Health, 2005).
However, the obesity crisis persists. According to 2021 research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 22% of children and teenagers were fat during the coronavirus pandemic, a “alarming” rise from 19% before COVID-19. The projected yearly weight gain for very obese children climbed from 8.8 pounds before the pandemic to 14.6 pounds in August 2020. Obese children increased their weight from 6.5 to 12 pounds. Even youngsters who were in good health previous to the epidemic had their yearly weight gain jump from 3.4 to 5.4 pounds.
Obesity is more prevalent among children of race. According to research released by the American Academy of Pediatrics in 2018, overweight and obesity rates among children aged 2 to 19 years old have grown in all age categories (Prevalence of Obesity and Severe Obesity in U.S. Children, 1999-2016). Obesity rates grew with age, with 41.5 percent of teenagers becoming obese by the age of 16 to 19. Continued racial and ethnic imbalances were of particular concern. Obesity rates in white and Asian children were much lower than in Hispanic and Black youngsters. Obesity among children aged 2 to 5, particularly boys, increased dramatically from 2015 to 2016 compared to the previous cycle, according to researchers.