Washington: The famed adage 'All work and no play, makes Jack a dull' has now been backed by science. A new study has found that children, who are regular in organised physical activity like sports, at a young age, are less prone to emotional stress by the age of 12.
"The elementary school years are a critical time in child development. And every parent wants to raise a well-adjusted child," said Frederic N. Briere, the lead author. The study was published in the journal 'Pediatric Research'.
"We followed a birth cohort over time to examine whether consistent participation in organised sport from ages 6 to 10 would minimise risks associated with emotional distress, anxiety, shyness, social withdrawal at age 12," said Briere.
He added, "Our goal was to test this question as critically as possible by eliminating pre-existing child or family conditions that could offer an alternative explanation."
For the study, researchers examined data from a cohort of children born in 1997 or 1998. From ages 6 to 10, mothers reported whether their child participated in organised physical activity. At age 12, teachers reported on the child's levels of emotional distress, anxiety, shyness, and social withdrawal at school.
"The results revealed that children who participated consistently from ages 6 to 10 showed fewer instances of those factors at age 12 than their counterparts who did not engage in physical activity in a consistent way," Briere explained.
He continued, "We found these benefits above and beyond pre-existing individual and family characteristics." Briere further said, "Getting kids actively involved in organised sport seems to promote global development. This involvement appears to be good on a socio-emotional level and not just because of physical benefits."
"Being less emotionally distressed at the juncture between elementary and high school is a priceless benefit for children, as they are about to enter a much larger universe with bigger academic challenges," he added....