By Ken Reed

The United States is often called a sports-crazy country. In reality, we’re a country of crazy sports fans who, for the most part, aren’t sports participants. Moreover, sports fans tend to exercise less than the rest of the population and have riskier dietary habits. A study published in the United States Sports Academy’s The Sports Journal supports this lifestyle profile of the American sports fan.

“Highly identified sports fans had significantly higher health risk behaviors than non-sports fans on a range of health behavior measures, including: higher fat consumption, more fast food consumption, less vegetable consumption, greater consumption of refined as opposed to whole grains, and an increased amount of alcohol consumed on days they chose to drink,” according to the study’s authors, Daniel R. Sweeney and Donna G. Quimby. “Additionally, using height and weight data to calculate Body Mass Index (BMI), highly identified sports fans were found to have a higher BMI.”

Sweeney and Quimby suggest that since sports fans were found to engage in riskier health-related behaviors, they could be a prime target for health policy makers looking to positively impact a large segment of Americans while reducing healthcare costs associated with obesity and other chronic health conditions. They also note an opportunity for pro sports organizations, college athletic departments and individual professional athletes to embark on cause-related marketing campaigns encouraging healthier lifestyles on the part of their fans.

“[P]artnering in programs designed to educate their most devoted followers about strategies towards achieving a healthy lifestyle would serve the dual role of contributing to the overall success of the organization while at the same time positively impacting the health of those in the communities they serve,” concluded Sweeney and Quimby.

This study represents a great opportunity for sports power brokers to be good community citizens by developing strategic cause-related initiatives around these findings.

Promoting healthier, active lifestyles to their fans seems like a no-brainer.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


Comments are closed.

Set your Twitter account name in your settings to use the TwitterBar Section.