IOC expert paper targets better health of young people
The IOC Medical Commission, lead by Prof. Arne Ljungqvist, has published a Consensus Statement on the “Health and fitness of young people through physical activity and sport” as the concrete outcome of a conference attended by leading medical experts, exercise physiologists, epidemiologists, and policy experts from around the world, which was held in Lausanne in January 2011.
The unique document defines the health consequences of inactivity; it identifies the determinants of sports participation and drop-outs, and provides recommendations on potential solutions and global partnerships. The ultimate purpose of this scientific effort is to improve the health and fitness of young people throughout the world, thereby decreasing the morbidity and mortality deriving from non-communicable diseases.
Fighting non-communicable diseases
Obesity and physical inactivity are two of the main risk factors for non-communicable diseases, which include heart diseases, diabetes and osteoporosis. At least 2.6 million people each year die as a result of being overweight or obese, and children are also affected. It is estimated that, in 2005, at least 20 million children under the age of five were overweight. Childhood obesity is associated with a higher chance of premature death and disability in adulthood, and physical activity and sport have an important role to play in stopping this dangerous trend. The topic is currently also at the top of the agenda of the United Nations (UN) and IOC President Jacques Rogge will address the General Assembly during a dedicated summit on 19 September in New York.
The meeting on “Health and fitness of young people through physical activity and sport”, held in January 2011 in Lausanne, was chaired by Prof. Arne Ljungqvist and coordinated by Margo Mountjoy M.D., a member of the IOC Medical Commission’s Games Group. Programme consultants included a panel of leading exercise physiologists, epidemiologists, and policy experts from around the world, attended to review the scientific literature and to produce recommendations for the promotion of sport and physical activity and the prevention of non-communicable diseases caused by inactivity.
The Role of the IOC Medical Commission
With the establishment of the World Anti-Doping Agency in 1999, the IOC Medical Commission’s role has moved from primarily handling anti-doping activities in the world of sport to taking an active role in the promotion of health through sports participation. In the framework of this objective, a series of consensus meetings has been scheduled, covering among others the following issues:
• Training the Elite Child Athlete - 2005
• Sexual Abuse & Harassment in Sport - 2007
• Non-contact ACL Injury in the Female Athlete - 2009
• The Use of Platelet-Rich Plasma in Sports Medicine - 2010
• Age Determination in High-level Young Athletes - 2010