Sports Participation and the ‘Obesity/Health Crisis’: Reflections on the Case of Young People in England

Andy Smith, K Green, K Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


There has been growing concern in recent years about the emergence of a supposed ‘health crisis’ — in the form of an ‘obesity epidemic’ — among young people, one of the main causes of which, it is assumed, is their declining levels of involvement in sport and physical activity. This brief paper offers some critical comments on the taken-for-granted relationship between these two emergent ‘crises’ and argues that, in contrast to popular opinion, young people are, in fact, doing more sport and physical activity than at any other time in the past, but that this process has co-occurred, and continues to co-occur, with increasing levels of obesity and overweight. In order to begin to adequately explain these co-occurring processes, it is argued that we need to examine young people’s lives in their total context, while noting, in particular, the continuing significance of broader social processes and the networks of relationships in which they are involved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)457-464
JournalInternational Review for the Sociology of Sport
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004


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