In the recent issue of Pediatrics, researchers from Dartmouth looked at the influence sports, physical education and commuting to school had on adolescents and their weight.
Investigators surveyed more than 17-hundred high school students by phone. They asked them how much they participated in team sports, what other forms of physical activity they were involved in and their height and weight.
The study found those kids who played on three or more sports teams in a year, were 27 percent less likely to be overweight, and 39 percent less likely to be obese than those teens who did not play team sports.
They also found biking or walking to school had little effect on a student's weight, but it did reduce their likelihood of being obese. PE classes for teens also seemed to have little effect on their weight.
Researchers believe high school sports, which usually involve regular practices and competitions, reduce a child's chances of having a weight problem because of the more strenuous and consistent workouts. Therefore, study authors conclude that increasing a child's opportunity to play sports, even if they are not gifted athletes, should be a priority especially for teens and children entering middle school or high school.