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Team Sports Pep Up Middle-School Kids
Date:9/28/2010

with their life, using categories ranging from "terrible" or "mostly dissatisfied" to "mostly satisfied" or "delighted."

And finally all students were asked to describe their health, ranging from "excellent" to "poor."

The research team found that vigorous activity alone offered no apparent benefit to the boys in how they rated their personal health or life satisfaction. Among girls, those who took part in vigorous activity said they were significantly more satisfied with their life, but did not feel their health was any better or worse as a result of such activity.

The connection between team sports activity and health was clearer. Among boys and girls, those who played on some team said they felt healthier and expressed more overall satisfaction with their life.

And boys who did not play any team sport were found to be five times more likely to say their physical health was "fair" or "poor" than those who were part of a team. Girls who didn't participate in team sports were 30 times more likely than their team-playing cohorts to downgrade their health.

"But this has to be taken in context," Zullig cautioned. "We don't know specifically what is going on in sports that accounts for this. We think it has something to do with the team dynamic. But there are other variables that could play a role throughout. The level of competitiveness, for example, meaning if it's at a higher level or if it's recreation. And the intensity of the coach can also make a difference. So this is a pretty small sample, and there's a lot more work to do to look at all these variables."

James Roemmich, an associate professor of pediatrics and exercise and nutrition science at the State University of New York at Buffalo, said the findings appear to "make sense."

"The advantage of being on a sports team is that there's a sense of community and a lot of socialization that goes on," he said. "And I think that would or could have a big influenc
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