The study also brought to light that despite parent awareness of the poor food and beverage choices that are prevalent in youth sport; few parents attempted to change the situation. "These findings suggest the importance of helping parents understand the benefits of healthful eating for all children, regardless of their current weight status, and of helping parents feel empowered to create a healthful food environment for their children despite time obstacles," says investigator Dianne Neumark-Sztainer, PhD, RD.
Despite the study findings, researchers believe that youth sport is a promising setting for promoting nutrition. According to the National Council of Youth Sports, more than 44 million youth participate in organized sports each year. Studies have shown that youth sports participants are more likely to consume sports drinks and items from fast-food restaurants than youth who don't participate in sports.
The investigators made recommendations to promote healthful dietary habits in youth sports participants: Integrate nutrition messages into youth sport programs; develop collaboration between youth sport leagues, public health professionals, and dietitians to create positive messages about nutrition that are specific to youth sport and could be delivered by coaches and peer mentors; enlist coaches and older peer mentors to deliver key nutrition messages; develop nutrition guidelines for sport leagues regarding the types of food and beverages that are appropriate for organized snack schedules and concession stands; and explore feasible ways to improve the nutritional quality of food and beverages available and sold in youth sport settings.
|Contact: Eileen Leahy|
Elsevier Health Sciences