chapter  1
29 Pages

Is sport good for us?

Understanding youth sport as a public health setting
WithRichard Bailey

This chapter asks whether sport can play a role as part of the physical activity agenda. It focuses on the largest population of sports players, children and young people, and their most populous group, namely recreational players. It has been suggested that there has been a lack of critical discussion of the claims made on behalf of sport as a form of healthy physical activity, and these are considered. The empirical literature that relates to this question is reviewed and analysed, in order to achieve some sense of the potential of sport as a public health setting. Part of the difficulty with considerations of sport as physical activity is that the concepts of ‘sport’ and ‘physical activity’ are often ill-defined and misapplied, and the benefits identified for each are too-often conflated. A second ambition of this chapter is to add a degree of clarity to this topic.