Extracurricular Sports Participation and Sedentary Behavior in Association with Dietary Habits and Obesity Risk in Children and Adolescents and the Role of Family Structure: a Literature Review


Purpose of Review

Childhood obesity is considered a major problem in the modern world, associated with many health issues in youth. This review aimed the association between extracurricular sports participation, sedentary time/screen time, and “obesogenic” and “non-obesogenic” dietary habits among youth and to explore the role of family structure on the adoption of sedentary behaviors by children.

Recent Findings

Increased participation in extracurricular sports was associated with a healthier dietary pattern, containing more “non-obesogenic” food choices. Opposite results were indicated by sedentary activities. Increased time in watching TV, computer/electronic games, and other screen devices was positively associated with unhealthy dietary patterns.


Overall, extracurricular activities influence the quality of food choices, which may prevent or promote childhood obesity; thus, sport-related activities should be promoted through public health policies. The role of the family structure is contradictory.

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Kanellopoulou, A., Diamantis, D.V., Notara, V. et al. Extracurricular Sports Participation and Sedentary Behavior in Association with Dietary Habits and Obesity Risk in Children and Adolescents and the Role of Family Structure: a Literature Review. Curr Nutr Rep (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13668-021-00352-6

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  • Extracurricular sports
  • Sedentary
  • Screen time
  • Dietary habits
  • Childhood obesity
  • Family role