Getting Kids in Sports Could Save More Than $50 Billion

Here's more evidence that getting kids into sports is not only a good idea, it's good business and absolutely essential to our national health.

Last month Forbes columnist Bruce Y. Lee wrote about a Global Obesity Prevention Center (GOPC)/Johns Hopkins University report that showed that getting children into sports and increasing their physical activity could save the U.S. more than $50 billion.

Working with the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center (PSC)/Carnegie Mellon University, the Global Obesity Prevention Center utilized computational simulation models to determine the potential benefits of increasing the physical activity of children.

They looked at scenarios where 50%, 75%, and 100% of kids meet the recommendation of “Active to a Healthy Level” (i.e. 25 minutes of physical activity three times a week) and 100% meeting the CDC recommendations for physically active (one hour of physical activity seven days of the week), and then compared those to current physical activity trends reported by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association that I wrote about last week in this blog.

What they found was staggering, both in terms of money and years of life saved. 

If only half the kids in the country maintained a healthy level of activity, there would be:

• 244,000 fewer obese kids in the country

• $20 Billion in direct medical costs saved

• $32 Billion productivity losses saved

• 4 million years of life saved

If 100% of kids maintained an active to healthy physical activity level:

• 3.1 million fewer obese kids in this country

• $35 Billion direct medical costs saved

• $57 Billion in productivity losses saved

• 33 million years of life saved

With these numbers in mind, you've got to ask yourself why investing in this space isn't a complete no-brainer?