|Published online: August 10, 2017||$US5.00|
The continual decline in health and wellness in our society is a concern for health and sport professionals. Specifically, there are concerns about the lifestyle habits as individuals’ transition through the lifespan from childhood to late adulthood. The purpose of this study is to analyze the effect of high school athletic participation on wellness in the adult life stages: young, middle, and late. The researcher hypothesized that individuals that participated in high school athletics would report higher wellness scores (social, physical, and emotional) in the adult life stages than individuals that did not participate in high school athletics. The researcher recruited 564 college alumni (69.1% female) to participate in the study. Participants completed the Perceived Wellness Survey. Participants were then grouped by past high school athletic participation status (59.2% athletes) and by adult life stage. An ANOVA indicated significant differences between groups in all areas. Non-athletes in young adulthood showed the greatest negative differences in emotional wellness (p < .05) when compared to all groups. Additionally, the greatest differences in total wellness was between athletes (p < .001) and non-athletes in young adulthood. Finally, athletes in young adulthood reported the greatest differences in physical wellness (p < .05) and social wellness (p < .05) when compared to other groups. The findings provide evidence that suggests high school athletic participation could potentially help individuals develop healthy habits that are carried into adulthood. In conclusion, school administrators and health professionals should consider providing more opportunities for more adolescents to participate in structured athletic programs to develop healthy habits that become lifelong behaviors.
|Keywords:||High School Athletics, Wellness, Healthy Lifestyles, Youth Sports, Lifelong Health|
Associate Professor, Department of Health and Human Performance, Dixie State University, St. George, Utah, USA