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Do Youth Consume More Calories than they Expended in Youth Sports Leagues? An Observational Study of Physical Activity, Snacks, and Beverages

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Objectives: Childhood obesity rates remain high. The youth sports environment is an opportunity to combat obesity. The purpose of this study was to determine the types of beverages/ snacks provided at youth sports and determine associations between energy consumption and expenditure. Methods: This cross-sectional study observed 4 different sports in a youth sports league (N = 189). The System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time (SOFIT) was used to quantify physical activity. Food environmental scans were used to quantify caloric intake. A t-test was conducted to examine differences between energy consumption and expenditure. We conducted a separate analysis for games that did not offer snacks/beverages. Results: The average energy expenditure was 170.3 calories per game; males were more physically active than females. The average caloric content was 213.3 calories for games that did not offer snacks/beverages and average sugar provided was 26.4 grams per game. The majority of sugar came from sugar-sweetened beverages. Conclusions: Calorie intake was higher than expenditure. Children were consuming more sugar in one game than daily recommendations. Youth sports would benefit from an intervention aimed at the food environment.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Master of Public Health Student, Department of Public Health, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 2: Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT., Email: [email protected] 3: Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Texas A&M University School of Public Health, College Station, TX

Publication date: March 1, 2020

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  • The American Journal of Health Behavior seeks to improve the quality of life through multidisciplinary health efforts in fostering a better understanding of the multidimensional nature of both individuals and social systems as they relate to health behaviors.

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