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Health and sport

Health and sport

On day two of the Educasport forum, a lively debate moderated by Le Monde took place on “Health: Should sport be encouraged or discouraged?”

The debate was moderated by Le Monde journalist Stéphane Mandard who has taken a personal interest in the use of sport in social development. Mandard has published a number of articles on the topic.

Mandard started the debate by sharing his personal experience of how a physical injury prevented and discouraged him from participating in sport. His involvement in sport, Mandard explained, had become a health problem.

A question of degrees
The health benefits of sport and physical activity are clear, however, the focus of much of this debate was on the degree to which sport can become a health issue.

Iranian-born French world boxing champion from 2003 to 2006, Mahyar Monshipour, shared how his involvement in sport resulted in negative health consequences.

Roxana Maracineanu, former French world swimming champion and current councilor for the region of île-de-France, shared how her work with Educateam is using sport to positively impact prenatal and postnatal women. Maracineanu has adapted swimming, a sport she excelled in, to meet the needs of this group of women.

Social trends in France

Panelists agreed that there is a need to distinguish between competitive and recreational sport when discussing the relationship between sport and health. Annick Gardies, Director of Communication at the National Institute of Prevention and Health Education (INPES), shared how only 40% of young people in France participate in sport outside of the mandatory school curriculum. One out of two young people do not participate because of the competition aspect of traditional sport structures.

These trends indicate that many young people in France are being discouraged from participating in sport because of competition and the pressure that comes along with it.

Dr. Anne Bunde Birouste, Director of Football United, an initiative that is bringing youth together from different backgrounds to promote social cohesion in Australia, commented that providing young people with access to sport is essential and unfortunately many do not have access.

Bunde-Birouste continued that sport is being used around the world as an effective tool to reach social development goals. “What is essential,” she said, “is for youth to have a positive experience in sport early on in their life.”


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Stephen Reynard


Monday, December 2, 2013 - 13:00