Student Well-Being

Study: Team Sports in School, Soda Intake Linked to Students’ Weight

By Bryan Toporek — November 06, 2012 1 min read

Students who participate in team sports at school are more likely to be able to maintain a healthy weight, while large amounts of soda consumption and screen time were linked to students being overweight or gaining weight, according to a study presented recently at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting.

The study, led by researchers at Indiana University, examined a school-based childhood obesity program known as HEROES (Healthy, Energetic, Ready, Outstanding, Enthusiastic Schools) over an 18-month period, from the fall of 2009 to the spring of 2011. A total of 5,309 students in 11 schools across Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky who participated in the HEROES initiative during that time were included in the study.

The researchers were aiming to determine “predictors for persistent overweight/obesity” by measuring the weight and height of the students in the study every six months. Students were grouped into different weight categories, then grouped again into “persistent overweight/obesity,” “deteriorated weight,” or “improved weight” categories.

The study authors used logistic regression to determine how certain factors affected students’ weight, and if you’re a long-term reader of this blog, the findings likely won’t surprise you.

Students who drank more soda, spent more time in front of screens (such as televisions and computers), and those who attended urban schools had higher odds of belonging to the “persistent overweight/obesity” category (30.6 percent) and deteriorated weight (6.9 percent) groups compared to the persistent non-overweight category.

Meanwhile, those who participated in team sports at school had a higher likelihood of being able to maintain a healthy weight over a longer period. (A study published online in the journal

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Schooled in Sports blog.