High fives. School spirit. Team pride. School-based sports programs can bring out noticeable positive reactions and behaviors in teens. But what are the deeper benefits from these programs? What are we losing when schools are forced to cut these programs?
The most extensive research has come in a report called “Relationships Between Youth Sport Participation and Selected Health Risk Behaviors from 1999 to 2007” published in the Journal of School Health. This report analyzes many different factors, including race, age, and gender, and behaviors, including eating habits, sexual activity, and drug risks. The report found that many groups experienced overall benefits, with the exception of some subgroups. Overall, the study found that advantages of sports include:
And sports can lead to reduced rates of:
School dropout (Taliaferro, 2010)