Children who play sports are happier, study finds

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Children who are members of a sports club and exercise regularly are happier, healthier and are better able to get along with other children than children who exercise little or not at all. It does not matter which sport the child plays and whether this is an individual or a team sport. This insight leads to the recommendation that children should be encouraged to choose a sport that they enjoy so that they will practice it regularly.

These findings are based on the PhD research done by Janet Moeijes who was awarded a PhD by the VU University Amsterdam on June 25th.

The research

The research project focused on participation in sports club activities, which is the dominant form of children’s sports participation in the Netherlands. For three years, Moeijes examined 76 primary schools throughout the Netherlands. In total, more than 2,000 children ages 8-12, completed various questionnaires by themselves. The questionnaires were completed between 2011 and 2014.

Moeijes argues “the relationship of sports participation with psychosocial health or health-related quality of life has been investigated primarily in adults and adolescents and only to a relatively limited extent in children.” Continuing she further notes that “studies on the relationship between sports participation and psychosocial health or health-related quality of life mostly do not pay attention to several characteristics of sports participation simultaneously. These studies often focus on just one characteristic, for instance on the frequency of sports participation or performing individual versus team sports.”

Moeijes concludes “Primary schools should make greater use of the possibility to appoint an official who is partly employed by the primary school and partly working for one or more sports clubs in the immediate environment of the school. This linking pin construction, performed by a so-called ‘combination officer’, is quite common in the Netherlands and is conducive to the mutual coordination between physical education activities at school and the activities of the sports clubs”, this might stimulate children to become a member of a sports club.

To read the research in detail click here.

Author: Julia Zvobgo

Julia Zvobgo is a Cultural Anthropologist. She is also the Community Manager and Events Manager of Child in the City.

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