Healthy Youth Sport Study

The Healthy Youth Sports Study (HYSS) was designed to investigate the relationship between youth sport participation and obesity prevention strategies.  Participation in youth sport is recommended for increasing physical activity, but little research exists on whether sport can promote energy balance or prevent obesity.

Through studying the environment at youth sport settings we hope to gain a better understanding of the role environments play in preventing obesity; specifically concession stands, vending machines, promotions and advertisements, and non-food locations within the venue.  In addition, we hope to better understand obesity trends in sport by assessing energy expenditure versus energy intake in youth.

Elevate-HealthHealthy Foods and Beverages for Youth in Sports

by Michelle Draxton, MPH, RD and Toben F Nelson, ScD.  See our new article in the Spring 2016 issue of Elevate Health, a quarterly research digest of the President’s Council
on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition


Videos and Commentaries

Toben Nelson – Every Day video.  Meet University of Minnesota Health Sciences experts in their lives outside of work.

In this video series, our experts leave their office walls behind and welcome viewers into their personal lives. What we found is that their personal interests often intersect with their professional pursuits. We also discovered that the University’s health sciences are filled with some pretty incredible people.

Video Series

SmartTeams Talk Video
Presented at a National Convention at Harvard Medical School for MomsTeam Institute, Inc.,a  non-profit organization formed in 2013 to provide comprehensive, well-researched information to sports parents, athletes, coaches, athletic trainers, and other health care professionals about sports health and safety, nutrition, and parenting.

The importance of physical education in our school systems
Presented in December 2014 to the Minneapolis Public Schools Board of Education regarding graduation requirements for physical education.

Tucker Table Presentation Video 


President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition: Elevate Health, Spring 2016

Thomas M, Nelson TF, Harwood E, Neumark-Sztainer D.  Exploring Parent Perceptions of the Food Environment in Youth Sport.  Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. 2012; 44:365-371.  (Press release)

Nelson TF, Stovitz S, Thomas M, LaVoi N, Bauer K., Neumark-Sztainer D.  Do youth sports prevent pediatric obesity? A systematic review and commentary. Current Sports Medicine Reports, 2011,  10(6): 360-370.

Assessment Tools

These assessment tools are designed to assess the environment in sport settings. These tools can be used individually or together.

Supported by …

The Healthy Youth Sports Study is supported by the University of Minnesota Obesity Prevention Center.

Past supporters:
University of Minnesota Transdisciplinary Research in Energetics and Cancer Center, and the Minnesota Obesity Center.

Interested in learning more?

Send us your e-mail and we’ll keep you updated on our research and findings.