Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Parents say that healthy eating is challenging for youth who play sports

New study highlights how parents, coaches and youth sport organizations can promote healthful eating

The food and beverages available to youth when they participate in organized sports can often be unhealthy, according to a new study released in the July/August 2012 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The findings were based on interviews with parents of players participating in youth basketball programs.

Common food in youth sport settings were sweets (eg, candy, ice cream, doughnuts), pizza, hot dogs, ''taco-in-a-bag,'' salty snacks (eg, chips, cheese puffs, nachos), as well as soda pop and sports drinks. Parents also reported frequent visits to a fast-food restaurant (eg, McDonald's, Dairy Queen) when their children were playing sports. Parents told researchers they considered these to be unhealthy. Parents said their busy schedules getting to practices and games made them rely more on convenient, but less healthy, foods and beverages.

The research was conducted by investigators from the University of Minnesota. They recruited 60 parents of youth basketball players and conducted eight focus groups. Despite finding that parents considered youth sport an unhealthy food environment, parents were ambivalent about the food and beverage choices available in youth sports, viewing snacks as an occasional treat, and sometimes rationalizing unhealthful eating because they saw their child as healthy. Parents had difficulty determining whether some food and beverage options were healthful. They also expressed concern about whether making healthful food and beverages more available at youth sport venues, particularly in concession stands, was feasible.

According to Toben F. Nelson, ScD, principal investigator of this study, "The food environment in youth sport exposes kids and their families to many unhealthful foods and beverages and few healthful options. Youth who participate in sports spend considerable time in these activities outside of school, and these sport environments are likely to influence their eating behavior." Lead author, Megan Thomas, MPH, RD, adds, "Parents should be concerned about what their children are eating, because good nutrition has benefits beyond weight management and is important for optimizing performance."

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.

Eileen Leahy | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Diagnoses: When Are Several Opinions Better Than One?
19.07.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

nachricht High in calories and low in nutrients when adolescents share pictures of food online
07.04.2016 | University of Gothenburg

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>