In This Chapter


Authored by: Andy Smith

Routledge Handbook of Youth Sport

Print publication date:  January  2016
Online publication date:  January  2016

Print ISBN: 9780415840033
eBook ISBN: 9780203795002
Adobe ISBN: 9781134469932


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For well over a century, much ink has been spilt on the health of young people and how this is related to their engagement in activities such as sport and physical activity, as well as other popular uses of leisure. Since the nineteenth century, concern with the health of young people (and other groups) found expression in the emergence of the ‘mens sana in corpore sano ethos, a process which was bolstered in the wider society by the emergence, on the one hand of the so-called “rational recreation” movement, and on the other, of what might be called the “sport/health” ideology’ (Dunning and Waddington, 2003: 355). The development of school subjects such as physical education has also variously been associated with largely uncritically accepted claims about its alleged positive contribution to the health of young people, while discussions about the ways in which young people spend their leisure has repeatedly attracted the attention of many concerned with crime, community cohesion and civil order. Discussions of child poverty, malnutrition, mental health and well-being, and experience of sexual abuse and violence are among the many other subjects that have been examined in the almost innumerable studies that have been published on young people and health.

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