205491 Association between teens' sports participation and likelihood of engaging in dangerous or unhealthy behaviors

Monday, November 9, 2009: 9:05 AM

Susan M. Connor, PhD , Injury Prevention Center, Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital, Cleveland, OH
Background: Teens' sports participation has obvious benefits in promoting physical activity, but is not always associated with healthy lifestyle choices. This study examines the association between sports team participation, alcohol use, fighting and other risky behaviors for American adolescents. Methods: Survey responses from a nationally representative sample of U.S. high school students were obtained from the 2007 Youth Risk Behavioral Survey. Logistic regression analysis examined relationships between sports team participation and a range of risky behaviors, while controlling for grade and race and stratifying by gender. Results: Sixty percent of males and 48% of females participated in team sports in the past year. For males overall and subsets of Black and White males, sports team participation was associated with increased levels of fighting, drinking, and binge drinking. For White females, sports team participation was associated with decreased levels of fighting, depression, smoking, marijuana use, and unhealthy weight loss practices. For Black females, sports team participation was only associated with increased binge drinking (OR 1.4). Conclusions: Sports team participation appears to have both protective and risk-enhancing associations, primarily for White high schoolers. Results indicate that healthy lifestyle benefits are not universal and do not apply equally across genders or racial/ethnic groups.

Learning Objectives:
1) explain the roots of the popular perception of youth sports programs as a remedy for social ills 2) describe gender and ethnic differences in the protective associations of sports participation 3) discuss the social and cultural issues that may explain why sports team participation has healthy lifestyle benefits for some groups, but not others 4) identify ways to mitigate the potentially negative association of teens’ sports team participation and enhance positive associations

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Risk Taking Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: of my history in research, publication and presentation regarding maternal and child health issues and injury prevention topics.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.