You’ve likely seen commercials about youth sports or the PSAs with bright, laughing children as they play ball and are encouraged to be active in life. Some benefits that these forms of media show you are obvious – but how exactly does a community benefit from youth sports?

Parents not active in the youth sports world may dismiss the idea of getting their child involved in a sports activity, but the reality is that sports do help a community stand strong. This isn’t just propaganda either – there’s definite numbers and science to back this up from credible institutes. If you were unsure of how communities benefit from youth sports, consider the following facts. 

Youth Sports Boost Community Health

Obesity is a growing problem in America especially, and many children in school are somewhere on the scale between being on the verge of becoming overweight or obesity. However, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, in 2008 30% of children aged 6 to 12 were active and healthy due to playing sports.

Sports means exercising, and exercising means being healthy. Regular exercising can help battle and ward off both physical and mental conditions, from chronic diseases to depression. The National Institutes of Health also found that physical activity in children helped reduce their risk of 13 different types of cancer.

How does this help an overall community? It’s all about investment. Children that start off playing sports young will likely stick with the sport as they age. About 75% of adults who play sports today started when they were in school. If you foster your child’s health at an early age, they will pave the way for a healthy community in the future. 

Education Rates Go Up

In many parts of America, especially those affected by poverty, under-performing school’s budgets are being cut and throttled. This kind of cycle will set them up for failure – they don’t perform well, the state cuts the budget, they perform worse due to lack of funds.

However, children who are involved with sports can help be a deciding factor in breaking this cycle. It has been found that physical activity improved academic achievement in students, and their grades in standardized tests and normal studies are higher than children who don’t play sports. An MRI can show you that children who are physically active have more rapid brain function than others. 

It Fosters a Better Environment

There’s no “I” in “team,” and that’s definitely clear when you look at how youth sports teams affect communities on a psychological level. As a team, children learn to problem solve, get along and work with one another. Being on a team and physical activity both boost their self-esteem.

It’s also been found that students who engage with youth sports are less likely to commit crimes, are more disciplined and have a heightened sense of responsibility. Female high school athletes are also less likely to do drugs, be sexually active and suffer from depression than female students who aren’t involved in team sports.

These kind of benefits don’t just affect the students within a team. They help the community as a whole. Don’t discount a community’s need for pride. People love to root for their local sports teams, and these benefits all help bring a community together to cheer on something they’re truly proud of. This alone brings everyone together.