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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.
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Keywords: CHILDREN'S HEALTH; FOOD ENVIRONMENT; NUTRITION; PHYSICAL ACTIVITY; YOUTH SPORTS

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.

    The Journal aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the impact of personal attributes, personality characteristics, behavior patterns, social structure, and processes on health maintenance, health restoration, and health improvement; to disseminate knowledge of holistic, multidisciplinary approaches to designing and implementing effective health programs; and to showcase health behavior analysis skills that have been proven to affect health improvement and recovery.

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