A growing body of scientific evidence indicates that the declining levels of physical activity and fitness in children and youth are associated with adverse impacts on their health, including rising levels of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and increased risk of sports injury. In response, a number of governmental and non-governmental organisations have instituted programmes to promote health in children and youth through sports and physical activity. Many of these programmes have achieved success in increasing participation in sports and other forms of physical activity and, by extension, improving the health of these young people. These programmes have also been used successfully to enhance the lives of the young participants by means other than improving physical health.
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Competing interests None.
Provenance and peer review Commissioned; internally peer reviewed.