Team sports to blame for obesity?

8 Sep 2008 by Karl Hallam

A BBC report on Loughborough University research has suggested that, 'an over-emphasis on competitive team sports in schools is being blamed for "marginalising" the wider efforts to promote physical exercise'.

The Government say they are 'bemused' and that 'Solo exercise like dance and athletics are in the top five most popular sports in schools and participation rates in PE and sport have soared - from less than a quarter doing two hours a week in 2002 to almost nine in 10 now'.

The Government also state that 'the fact is that young people thrive off competitive sport, particularly team sports - three million children took part National School Sport Week in June and the 1,500 elite teenage at the UK School Games last week'. They also trumpet the investment of '£30m specifically into promoting competitive sport further through regional, borough and school leagues and inter-school fixtures'.

It is doubtful that the University Researchers were necessarily trying to revive 1980s arguments against comptetive sports, but rather that football and cricket are not the answers to the growing obesity problem. Cadence's work suggests this is an important point and that the endless belief in sport's ability to deliver all manner of government priorities is always problematic.

More sport and obesity views can be found here and here.


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