- Children in sports from a young age have improved long-term mental health.
- Team sports are beneficial for kids who struggle with peer socialization and internalize their emotions.
- At the age of six and seven, almost 59% of boys and only 26% of girls participated in team sports.
Children who frequently participate in sports from a young age have improved long-term mental health, according to a University of Queensland study.
The study, which examined data from over 4,200 Australian kids over eight years, discovered a link between regular sports engagement as a child and better adolescent mental health.
The study compared the advantages of individual sports like karate, tennis, and gymnastics to those of team sports like football, cricket, or netball. No matter the sport, the findings indicated a beneficial effect on mental health, but those who participated in teams benefited more.
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, approximately 14% of Australian children between the ages of four and 11 have a mental condition, with boys typically being more afflicted than girls.
The study discovered that team sports are especially beneficial for kids who struggle with peer socialization and internalize their emotions.
However, more must be done to encourage girls to participate in team sports, especially when they are younger. At the age of six and seven, almost 59% of boys and only 26% of girls participated in team sports.
The benefits of team sport participation were lower for girls, possibly because they lack self-belief and confidence in their athletic prowess because team sports are typically associated with men, because there are fewer opportunities for girls to play team sports, or because there is a lack of diversity in schools and extracurricular activities.