Posted February 06, 2019 12:27:10As many as 60 percent of all youth and teenage athletes in the United States are now overweight or obese, and that number is rising fast, according to a new report by The National Sportswriters Association.
This article is the first in a two-part series exploring the growing obesity epidemic among young athletes in America.
The report comes amid increasing calls from the NFL, NBA and other major sports leagues for players to take a personal responsibility for their health and weight.
“As athletes, we are responsible for our own health and we’re supposed to take responsibility for our weight, and I think it’s a responsibility that we’re taking on in sport,” said Nick Landa, president of the NSA.
“I think it speaks to the growing popularity of sports and its a trend that we’ve seen over time, and as athletes we are not alone.”
The NFL is already taking a public stance on the issue, announcing last week that the league will be launching a program this season to help athletes keep their weight under control.
The league’s stance came after the NSEA released a report last month that showed the number of overweight and obese children ages 6 to 17 has doubled since 2003, when the obesity epidemic first hit the country.
Landa said sports are a great opportunity to show athletes that they’re not alone in the struggle to lose weight, noting that athletes can also benefit from the same programs and support as the rest of the population.
“Sports can be an easy, low-risk, fun way to engage in community,” Landa said.
“We can talk about how to lose the pounds, and it can also be a way to talk about what sports are good for and how we can all be good members of society.”
The NSA has launched the National Sport Summit to help promote sports wellness and provide more information on sports, nutrition and weight loss programs for children and youth.
“We have seen a lot of interest and interest in sports among our members in the last few years,” said NSA’s president John Bailis.
“And we’re really excited to see that continue.”