Sport and health

Sport and health

Sport offers people of all ages a number of physical and mental health benefits. Using sport in development programmes not only contributes to participants' health but also to the wellbeing of communities as a whole.

Despite the vast amount of evidence that points to the positive benefits of physical activity on physical and mental health and well-being, a number of smaller gaps in knowledge persist.

In general, this is invariably within the context of health issues in developing countries. More studies are needed on non-white ethnic groups and on female populations, due to the predominance of research on white male populations.

The psychological effects of more moderate forms of exercise and physical activity remain elusive, as well as the effect of sport in the prevention of addiction. The contribution of sport towards reproductive and sexual health as well as the role of sport in combating stigma and discrimination, particularly in relation to HIV/AIDS is also less understood. More studies are needed on the role of sport in mitigating stigma and discrimination against people living with disabilities.

There is a need to further understand the impact of physical activity on HIV positive individuals in developing countries. A clear correlation between sport-for-HIV prevention programmes and local and national HIV prevalence rates has not been established. Visit our Learn more section to find out more about current research on this topic.

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