Washington, DC - Today, the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a report outlining how children’s lives may be positively affected by participation in youth sports. The following is an executive summary.
Childhood experiences can have important long-term consequences on children’s health and wellbeing. Youth sports may yield benefits including improved physical health and the development of valuable life skills.
CEA first analyzed the current state of access to youth sports, noting that girls and children from lower-income families participate at lower rates than boys and those from higher-income families. CEA then reviewed mechanisms through which youth sports may improve childhood outcomes. Finally, CEA reviewed literature about causal inference to examine the relationship between youth sports and outcomes. The evidence suggests a positive relationship between participation in youth sports and outcomes. Even small investments in youth sports could have a positive impact on children. Youth sports leagues promote lifestyles that are more active and facilitate positive mentorship and peer-to-peer relationships that may enhance outcomes later in life.