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Karissa L. Peyer, PhD
Ora LaShay Smith, MPH


Objective PA-12 of Healthy People 2030 is focused on an increase in sport participation among youth. Organized leisure-time sport participation (OLSP) can be a valuable source of physical activity for children and adolescents. The ability of programs to provide important benefits to children may play a role in parent decisions to enroll their child in these programs.


In the present study, we gathered demographics, sport participation, and parent-reported (N = 452) benefits of sport participation as part of a survey investigating OLSP behaviors.


We found no differences in sport participation by sex or race/ethnicity. However, children from lower income homes were less likely to participate in sport than those from higher income homes (p < .001). Health and exercise, socialization, teamwork, and leadership skill development were the most common benefits reported by parents. Other benefits included practice/skill building/self-esteem, fun, reduced screen time, exposure to a role model, stress relief, and recognition.


These benefits should be emphasized in OLSP programs and used for marketing and promotion to increase participation in OLSP to achieve objective PA-12.

Source: Health Behavior and Policy Review, Volume 9, Number 1, January 2022, pp. 697-706(10)
Publisher: Paris Scholar Publishing Ltd.