Decline in American children involved in sports

The 2016 Project Play Summit is the nation’s premier gathering of thought leader’s at the intersection of youth, sport, and health.

On Tuesday at the Summit, more than 450 youth sports advocates, professional league officials and academic researchers gathered in Washington. One main topic of the day was how their is a decline in children joining sports due to the high costs, intensity of playing one sport and parental pressures.

According to the fact sheets on Project Play website, in 2007 44.7% of youth ages 13-17 were active three times a week in any sport activity, organised or unstructured in America; by 2014 that number had dropped to 39.8%.

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Michelle Obama was a Keynote speaker at the Summit and stated “Whatever the dollar figure is, as a society, as taxpayers, as corporate America, we should figure out how much that costs and then pay for it, period”.

According to Aspen Project Play here are some of the benefits of sport participation:


  • Helping build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints; helping control weight and reduce fat
  • Exercise is one of the least expensive ways to stay healthy
  • Childhood sports participation is a significant predictor of young adults’ participation in sports and physical fitness activities
  • Organised sports activity helps children develop and improve cognitive skills
  • High school athletes are more likely than non-athletes to attend college and get degrees


The Aspen Institute Project Play:

Rosenwalk., M (May 17, 2016) Michelle Obama: All kids should play sports, not just those who can afford it. The Washington Post. Retrieved from:

Author: Steven Don

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