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Socioecological approach for building stronger youth for life
  1. Avery D Faigenbaum1,
  2. Andrea Stracciolini2,
  3. James P MacDonald3,4,
  4. Tamara Rial Rebullido5
  1. 1 Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey, USA
  2. 2 Orthopaedics/Sports Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
  3. 3 Division of Sports Medicine, Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  4. 4 Department of Pediatrics, The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Columbus, Ohio, USA
  5. 5 Department of Health and Physical Education, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, New Jersey, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Avery D Faigenbaum, Dept of Kinesiology and Health Sciences, The College of New Jersey, Ewing, NJ 08628, USA; faigenba{at}

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The current approach for engaging youth in strength-building activities, sometimes referred to as resistance exercise, has been largely unsuccessful.1 2 The WHO recommends that children and adolescents (‘youth’) participate in strength-building activities at least 3 days per week,3 yet participation rates are falling below recommendations.1 Secular trends in muscular strength indicate that today’s youth are weaker than previous generations,4 and many are ill-prepared for the demands of ‘rough and tumble’ play and competitive sports.2 Weaker children become weaker adults,5 and multifaceted interventions that target strength deficits early in life are needed to alter the current trajectory towards unfitness and poor health.2 5 Using a socioecological model to address strength-related behaviours can help parents, professionals and policy-makers develop context-specific strategies, which ensure youth become stronger for life.

Participation in strength-building activities is influenced positively and negatively by a range of personal, social and environmental factors.6 A comprehensive, population-based approach operating at multiple levels is needed to adequately address these factors and have the greatest impact. Bronfenbrenner’s …

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  • Contributors All authors were involved in the drafting, revising and approval of the final manuscript. TRR developed the figure.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.