-- Robert Preidt
THURSDAY, Nov. 21, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Too much time spent
playing sports can be as bad as too little time for teens, a new
Swiss researchers found the greatest benefit seemed to be
associated with 14 hours of sports a week. That's higher than
European, American and World Health Organization (WHO)
recommendations of at least seven hours of physical activity a week
Researchers Arnaud Merglen, at the University of Lausanne, and
colleagues reported their findings online Nov. 20 in the
Archives of Disease in Childhood.
They asked more than 1,200 participants aged 16 to 20 in
Switzerland about their levels of sports participation. In
addition, they assessed the participants' physical and mental
well-being using a WHO scale of zero to 25. Scoring below 13
indicated poor well-being.
Participants were evenly split between males and females and
their average age was just under 18. About 9 percent were
overweight or obese. The average well-being score for all the teens
Weekly sports participation of zero to 3.5 hours was considered
low and seen in 35 percent of teens. Between 3.6 and 10.5 hours was
considered average and seen in 41.5 percent of participants. High
levels of 10.6 to 17.5 hours were reported by 18.5 percent of
participants, and very high levels of more than 17.5 hours were
reported by 5 percent of tens.
Teens in the low and very high groups were more than twice as
likely as those in the average group to score below 13 on the
well-being scale, according to a journal news release.
Peak scores of well-being were seen among teens who did about 14
hours of sports a week. However, the protective effect was reversed
after more than 17.5 hours of sports a week.
Regular exercise is known to provide mental and physical
benefits by reducing stress and anxiety, and by boosting
self-esteem and brain power, the researchers said.
Although doubling the recommended weekly time spent playing
sports to 14 hours seems to be good for the mental and physical
health of teens, going beyond this seems to be harmful, the
The American Council on Exercise has more on
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