ical activity during practices: emphasizing participation over competition, sponsoring teams for all skill levels across all ages, ensuring access by lower-income youth with sliding scales for fees, increasing practice frequency, extending short seasons, using pedometers or accelerometers to monitor physical activity periodically during practices, providing coaches strategies to increase physical activity and supporting youth and parents in obtaining adequate physical activity on non-practice days," Leek's team wrote.
The findings were released online Dec. 6 in advance of publication in the April 2011 print issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
In an accompanying editorial, two experts called for more research on the amount and intensity of physical activity youngsters get during sports and other structured recreational activities.
"This would include not only organized team sports but also dance lessons [e.g., ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap] and outdoor activity programs [e.g., rock climbing, cycling, canoeing, kayaking]," wrote Russell R. Pate and Jennifer R. O'Neill, of the University of South Carolina, Columbia.
"Further and perhaps most importantly, we need to learn ways in which the doses of physical activity provided during youth sports and activity programs can be most effectively increased by modifying the manner in which the practices and contests are conducted."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about children and physical activity.
-- Robert Preidt
SOURCE: JAMA/Archives journals, news release, Dec. 6, 2010
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