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
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
Follow on Facebook: @SportsForumPodcast
Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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