Little League Stars Teach Valuable Lesson
Welcome to Doctors’ Notes, our newest contribution from Urban Health correspondents (and husband and wife) physicians Dr. Rob and Dr. Karla Robinson. The dynamic duo will be fielding questions about health, as it relates to African Americans. Please feel free to send them questions via firstname.lastname@example.org. We promise to keep it anonymous.
While we are all on the edge of our seats as a community waiting to see the fate of Little League World Series (LLWS) stars, Mo’Ne Davis-famed pitcher of the Taney Philadelphia squad–and the entire Jackie Robinson West (JRW) team from the South Side of Chicago, a sense of pride is overwhelming. To see inner city youth on a national platform promoting positive images that we knew existed all along, is not only heartwarming, but also refreshing.
But in the midst of the excitement of it all, these athletes are teaching us a valuable lesson- the importance of organized sports for our youth. Here are five important health benefits of sports that we can all learn from these little leaguers and pass on to the youth in our own communities:
*Fighting the obesity crisis
With childhood obesity being a national epidemic and close to 43 percent of our youth being overweight or obese, encouraging the participation in sports has the potential to reverse the crisis threatening the health of our young people. Most experts agree that at least 60 minutes of vigorous activity each day can help keep our children at a healthy weight.
*Promoting a positive self-image
The emotional health of our youth is an important aspect that is frequently overlooked. Unfortunately as a result, suicide is the third leading cause of death in our young males aged 15-24. While this has many contributing factors, we do know that sports participation has the benefit of boosting self-esteem and self-image as success on the field and a sense of accomplishment leads to increased self-confidence.
*Building a sense of trust
In a society where trust is both hard to gain and earn for our youth, the security that many can find in both their coaches and teammates is invaluable. Studies show that fostering meaningful relationships can have a lasting positive impact on health, increases accountability and reduces the likelihood of making unhealthy lifestyle choices.
*Being a team player
Setting and reaching goals as a team, learning and following the rules of the sport, and persevering through loss and disappointment can be character building lessons that remain with our youth for a lifetime. Additionally, the important foundations of respect and cooperation can be built through team play.
*Improved academic achievement
Research shows that those involved in team sports have more academic success, decreased delinquency and dropout rates. There are also many opportunities to build leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills that are helpful in personal and academic development.
It’s a health thing…we’ve got to understand!
About the Doctors: Dr. Karla and Dr. Rob are the founders of Urban Housecall, a multimedia health and wellness resource, and also hosts of the Urban Housecall Radio Show. For more from the doctors, visit their website at www.urbanhousecall.com, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter @urbanhousecall!