This article has a correction

Please see: Br J Sports Med 2011;45:1063

Br J Sports Med 45:839-848 doi:10.1136/bjsports-2011-090228
  • Highlight paper

International Olympic Committee consensus statement on the health and fitness of young people through physical activity and sport

Editor's Choice
  1. Willem van Mechelen24
  1. 1IOC Medical Commission, Lausanne, Switzerland
  2. 2McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada
  3. 3Institute of Sport Sciences and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  4. 4Children's Health and Exercise Research Centre, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK
  5. 5School of Sport, Exercise & Health Sciences Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK
  6. 6Institute for Sport and Health, University College, Dublin, Ireland
  7. 7University of Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany
  8. 8Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit, Cambridge, UK
  9. 9School of Health and Medical Sciences, Orebro University, Orebro, Sweden
  10. 10Oslo Sports Trauma Research Center, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  11. 11Institute of Sport and Exercise Science, University of Worcester, Worcester, UK
  12. 12Griffith University and Mater Medical Research Institute (MMRI), Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  13. 13Physical Activity and Health Unit, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland
  14. 14Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, University of Basel, Basel, Switzerland
  15. 15UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
  16. 16Physical Fitness Research Laboratory, Sao Paolo, Brazil
  17. 17Centre for Hip Health and Mobility and Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  18. 18Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  19. 19Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina, Columbia, South Carolina, USA
  20. 20Sport, Health and Exercise Science, University of Bath, Bath, UK
  21. 21Molecular Exercise Physiology, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  22. 22Health and Use of Time (HUT) Group, Sansom Institute for Health Research, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
  23. 23Medical Research Council Epidemiology Unit and UKCRC Centre of Excellence in Diet and Activity Reserach (CEDAR), Cambridge, UK
  24. 24Department of Occupational and Sports Medicine and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to Dr Margo Mountjoy, Health and Performance Centre, John T. Powell Building, 2nd floor, University of Guelph Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, Canada; mmsportdoc{at}
  1. Contributors All authors contributed to the writing of this Statement. MM – Intro/scope/International Federations/NOC/recommendations (Primary Author); LBA – Cardiovascular/recommendations; NA – Are children fit/active/recommendations (Section Editor); SB – Psych/recommendations; CB – Bone/recommendations; H-PBB – Correlates/recommendations; UE – Are children active/recommendations; LE – IOC contribution/recommendations; KH – Education/recommendations; AH – Obese/recommendations; SoK – International agencies/recommendations; SuK – School based interventions/recommendations; EL – NGO/recommendations; AL – IOC /recommendations; VM – Governments/recommendations; HMcK – Education/Bone/recommendations; LM – Injury risk/recommendations (Section Editor); RP – Correlates sedentary/recommendations; CR – Health risks inactivity/Recommendations; PS – IOC contribution/recommendations; CJS – Health care sector/recommendations; GT – Are children fit/active/recommendations; EvS – Community based interventions/recommendations; WvM – Correlates activity/sedentary/Recommendations (Section Editor).

  • Accepted 3 June 2011


The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recognises the health and fitness benefits of physical activity (PA) and sport as stated in recommendation #51 from the Olympic Movement in Society Congress held in Copenhagen, 2009: Everyone involved in the Olympic Movement must become more aware of the fundamental importance of Physical Activity and sport for a healthy lifestyle, not least in the growing battle against obesity, and must reach out to parents and schools as part of a strategy to counter the rising inactivity of young people.1

The IOC assembled an expert group (January 2011) to discuss the role of PA and sport on the health and fitness of young people and to critically evaluate the scientific evidence as a basis for decision making. Specifically, the purpose of this consensus paper is to identify potential solutions through collaboration between sport and existing programmes and to review the research gaps in this field. The ultimate aim of the paper is to provide recommendations for young people's sport and PA stakeholders.

After an introduction to the scope of the problem, issues addressed include how best to define the current state of …