News Picture: Can Playing a Sport Foster Better-Adjusted Kids?

Can a sport be a better adapted child?

TUESDAY, 11 June 2019 (HealthDay News) – According to a new study, having a young child involved in organized sports can pay off to mental health.

Children between 6 and 10 years of age participating in athletics programs had less emotional stress, anxiety and embarrassment at the age of 12. They also had less chance of social withdrawal, researchers found.

"Primary school years are a critical time in the development of the child," says lead researcher Frederic Briere. He is a professor of psycho-education at the University of Montreal.

"The results showed that children who participated (in organized sports) consistently at the age of 6 to 10 years at age 12 showed fewer examples of these factors than their counterparts who were not consistently engaged in exercise," said Briere in a university news release.

The researchers analyzed data on children between 6 and 10 years old who were born between 1997 and 1998 in Quebec, Canada.

Mothers reported the involvement of their young child in structured sports activities at the time. And teachers commented on the emotional status of the child when they were 12 years old. The study only found an association instead of a cause-effect link.

"This involvement seems to be good on a social-emotional level and not just because of physical benefits," Briere added. "Being less emotionally stressed at the moment between elementary and high school is an invaluable benefit for children, as they are about to enter a much larger universe with greater academic challenges.

"This research," he noted, "supports parents' current guidelines to promote children's involvement in physical activity."

The findings can be found in the May issue of the magazine Pediatric examination.

– Alan Mozes

Copyright © 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

SOURCE: University of Montreal, press release, 4 June 2019

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