The role of sport in inclusion has proved to be strongly linked to building social cohesion and social capital among children and youth who may be marginalized yet sadly, millions of young people around the world face social barriers excluding them from sports participation based on their age, ability, gender, race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status.
Stereotypes, attitudes, assumptions, and perceptions often combine to create a stigma around marginalized groups, and these barriers to sports participation can cause young people to see themselves as less worthy.
Other factors such as lack of access, costs, and lack of positive role models can all contribute to the reasons why marginalized groups drop out of sports.
Clearly, participation in sports can be a driving force for solving the issues facing young people such as obesity, academic failure, behavioural issues, and teen pregnancy. It can also improve self-esteem and have psychosocial benefits that help young people in school, career, and community involvement.
There's a lot to gain from regular physical activity, but to motivate young people to continue with an active lifestyle is the real challenge.