Myth police: Winning isn’t crucial for kids to have fun in sports

A youth sports study ranks being a good sport in organized sports as the top fun factor for participants. The new study results helped to dispel the common belief that winning is crucial in terms of the “fun” factor.

The latest study results may help researchers develop useful ways to keep children involved in organized sports, a move that can in turn help them maintain a healthy body weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese in 2012.

For the study, 142 soccer players, 37 coaches, and 57 parents were asked to identify everything that makes playing sports fun for children. When the responses were collected, 81 specific determinants of fun were noted. Study participants were then asked to sort these 81 determinants in ways that made sense to them, ultimately ranking the determinants based on importance, feasibility, and frequency.

Stop blaming the weather for your lower back pain.

According to Australian researchers, lower back pain is not linked to weather conditions such as temperature, wind direction and precipitation. Although the risk of lower back pain somewhat rises with higher wind speed or wind gusts, it was not clinically significant.

Lower back pain impacts up to 33 percent of the world population at any given time, according to the World Health Organization. Those with this complaint often report that their symptoms are affected by the weather. Earlier work has demonstrated that cold or humid weather, and alterations in the weather augment symptoms in patients with chronic pain conditions.

“Many patients believe that weather impacts their pain symptoms,” says Dr. Daniel Steffens with the George Institute for Global Health at the University of Sydney, Australia. “However, there are few robust studies investigating weather and pain, specifically research that does not rely on patient recall of the weather.”

Nearly 1,000 individuals who were seen at primary care clinics in Sydney took part in the study between October 2011 and November 2012. Weather records from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology were obtained for the extent of the study period. Researchers compared the weather at the time patients first felt lower back pain with weather conditions one week and one month before the start of pain.

The findings revealed no link between lower back pain and weather.

“Our findings refute previously held beliefs that certain common weather conditions increase risk of lower back pain,” notes Dr. Steffens. “Further investigation of the influence of weather parameters on symptoms associated with specific diseases such as fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoarthritis are needed.”

The study’s results are published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research.\

Amanda J. Visek, PhD, associate professor of exercise science at Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH) at the George Washington University, said in a statement, “When the FUN MAPS are viewed three-dimensionally, the youth sport ethos becomes very apparent. Most remarkably, Being a good sport, Trying hard and Positive coaching came in as the top three most important factors to having fun.” She continued, “At the same time, Swag—such as having a cool uniform or the latest sports gear—was rated as the least important determinants of fun.”