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Webcast: Sports And Health In America

The vast majority of kids in America play sports.

But while about three-quarters of adults played sports when they were younger, only 1 in 4 still plays sports today. Among them, men are more than twice as likely as women to play.

Why do we tend to give up sports as we grow older? A poll conducted by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health offers fresh insights into how and why adults and kids play sports, and also why they don't.

What are the obstacles that keep adults off the field? How can sports help keep kids and adults in good health? What are the best ways to encourage more widespread participation, particularly among women and lower-income adults? And what role do parents play in helping children become active and stay that way?

As part of our series "Sports and Health in America," Harvard presented a webcast Thursday in collaboration with NPR and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to explore these questions and more.

Joe Neel, deputy senior supervising editor on NPR's Science Desk, moderated a discussion with:

  • Robert Blendon, professor of health policy and political analysis, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Harvard Kennedy School
  • Elizabeth Matzkin, chief of women's sports medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston
  • Caitlin Cahow, former member of the U.S. Women's National Ice Hockey Team and current member of the President's Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition
  • Ed Foster-Simeon, president and CEO, U.S. Soccer Foundation
  • Cobi Jones, three-time World Cup U.S. men's soccer player

Update 1:35 ET: The webcast is over. We'll add an archived video when it becomes available.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

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