Risky Behavior and Organized Sports DON’T Play Well Together Sports are a big part of life for many teens, and the results of a new study suggest parents might want to be really happy about that. The study results said that teens who were part of organized sports with a coach were less likely to try risky behaviors like smoking and drinking. Lead author Anna M. Adiachi-Mejia, PhD, had data from 6,522 interviewed teens in 2003. All were between the ages of 10 and 14. They not only examined participation in coached sports, but also music, school clubs, and other clubs. Despite a high level of participation in other clubs and religious activities, coached sports were the only extracurricular activity that seemed to lower the risk of smoking and drinking. Unlike many other previous studies, this one did not look at academic outcomes or other factors. Instead, they looked only at the tween population and how extracurricular activities might change smoking and drinking initiation behaviors. Because the coaching seems to play the key role here, Adachi-Mejia suggested that more communities and schools explore the possibility of noncompetitive, affordable team sports to help include as many students as possible in these essential activities.

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