Children’s weight and participation in organized sports

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Aims: Literature dealing with the impact of organized sports on children’s weight has been marked by a lack of consensus. A
major weakness characterizing most of this research is a lack of proper measurement methods. This paper seeks to fill an
important knowledge gap through careful application of econometric methods. Methods: Estimations are carried out using
data on 1,400 children attending 6th grade in 2008 in the municipality of Aalborg, Denmark.We use standard ordinary least
squares (OLS) and class fixed effects to explore the effect of sports participation on body mass index (BMI) as well as
underweight, overweight and obesity. Results: Results indicate that participation in organized sports reduced BMI by 2.1%.
Likewise it reduced the likelihood of being overweight by 8.2 percentage points and obese by 3.1 percentage points.
Conclusions: It is the unique dataset combined with econometric methods that distinguishes our contribution
from that of others in the field, thereby offering new insight. Results using statistically sound methods suggest
that participation in organized sports has a beneficial effect on children’s weight.
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)687-695
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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