In Connecticut, 28% school-aged youth are responsible for taking care
of themselves after school. That means in the City of Norwalk alone,
an estimated 3,000 students are without supervision once the school day ends.
These crucial hours provide opportunities for youth to become engaged
in activities which will either promote their growth and development or
destroy their potential success. Participation in after school sports,
and rowing in particular, fights the growing childhood obesity epidemic
and gives youth a safe place to interact with peers while avoiding crime
and delinquency trends.
The Center for Disease Control reports that only one-third of children
aged 9-13 participate in any organized physical activity during their
non-school hours. For African-American, Latino, and low-income youth,
rates are even lower, with only one in four participating. To a nation
facing a childhood obesity epidemic, these numbers are astounding.
However, research shows that physical activity helps control and
prevent a range of health problems, including diabetes,
heart disease, and stroke.
Even small amounts of physical activity can improve health, no matter
how much a person weighs or whether a person loses weight.
Additionally, the hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. are the peak hours
for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and sex.
However, The Promising Afterschool Programs Study at the
University of California at Irvine found that regular participation in
high-quality afterschool programs is linked to significant gains in
standardized test scores and work habits as well as reductions in
behavior problems among disadvantaged students.
Trends in American Youth Obesity Statistics:
- In Norwalk, more than one in five 6th graders are already overweight.
- Approximately 80% of children who are overweight at aged 10–15 years are obese adults at age 25 years.
Crime and Delinquency Statistics:
- Juveniles are at the highest risk of being a victim of violence between2 p.m. and 6 p.m. And the peak hour for juvenile crime is from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., the first hour that most students are dismissed from school.
- Female athletes in grades 9 through 12 are less than half as likely to get pregnant as their non-athlete peers, and they tend to have higher self-esteem and more positive body image
1- Afterschool Alliance, America After 3 PM, 2009
2- American Fact Finder
3- Team-up For Youth: Facts About Youth Sports and Health. 2008.
4- F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing America.
Trust for America’s Health.
5- Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, 2002
6- The Promising Afterschool Programs Study at the
University of California at Irvine. 2007.
7- National Criminal Justice Center
8- Norwalk Health Department, Independent Research. 2007.
9- Whitaker RC, Wright JA, Pepe MS, Seidel KD, Dietz WH.
Predicting obesity in young adulthood from childhood and parental obesity.
N Engl J Med 1997; 37(13):869–873.
10- “Violence After School.” Juvenile Justice Bulletin: 1999 National Report Series.
Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, November 1999.
11- Sabo, D., Miller, K., Farrell, M., Barnes, G., and Melnick, M. (1998).
The Women ‘s Sports Foundation report:
Sport and teen pregnancy.
East Meadow, NY: Women ‘s Sports Foundation.