Many parents encourage their children to engage in sports to help improve physical activity levels. However, a recent study suggests that playing on a team may incite poor behavior among boys. The study was presented at the American Public Health Association’s 137th Annual Meeting & Exposition in Philadelphia. The researchers surveyed more than 13,000 U.S. high-school students on topics that included sports participation and risky behaviors. According to the results, team sports participation by boys correlated with higher rates of fighting, drinking and binge drinking. Other behaviors such as smoking and
depression showed a decrease. Girls appeared to have a more positive association with team sports. Female sports participants reported decreased levels of fighting, depression, smoking, marijuana use and unhealthy weight loss practices; no association was found between sports participation and drinking. “Sports team participation appears to have both protective and risk-enhancing associations,” stated lead author Susan M. Connor, PhD. “These results indicate that healthy lifestyle benefits are not universal and do not apply equally across genders.”