TA new study aimed to increase understanding of the
link between sport specialization during childhood
and adolescent physical activity.
Research suggests that specializing in a single
sport during childhood, compared with sampling a
variety of recreational youth sports, may decrease
the odds a child will still participate in athletic
activities during adolescence.
The five-year Canadian study, "Childhood Sports
Participation and Adolescent Sport" (published
online Nov. 13), followed 756 children beginning
when they were between 10 and 11 years old, asking
three times each year about physical activity they
participated in outside of gym class.
During the first year, 19 percent of participants
were sports specializers, 67 percent were sports
samplers, and 14 percent were sports
Five years later, the "samplers" were more than 50
percent more likely to still participate in sports,
and they were less likely to become sports
non-participants than those who specialized.
The study also found that children who didn't
participate in any sports typically remained
non-participants as teens. Internationally, study
authors said, just 9 percent of boys and 2 percent
of girls between ages 5 and 17 get the recommended 1
hour physical activity per day that is essential to
Encouraging sports sampling during childhood, they
said, may be a good way to help correct this.
For more information
Childhood Sports Participation and Adolescent Sport
The American Academy of Pediatrics