Youths: Those persons between the ages of 15 and 24 years, without prejudice to other definitions by Member States (23). It is also important to distinguish between teenagers and young adults, since the sociological, psychological and health problems they face may differ.

Specific groups this Activity Box applies to

Complementing Activity Box 1.1, this section covers:

  • Adolescents, 15 to 19 years old
  • Young adults, 19 to 24 years old
    (1.2 billion young people aged 15 to 24 years, accounting for 16% of the global population (20)


  • The NEET rate (proportion of young adults Not in Employment, Education or Training) now stands at 30% for young women and 13% for young men worldwide (24)
  • 52% of adolescents have reported they were less physically active compared to pre-pandemic times (2)
  • Globally, in 2016, 81·0% of students aged 11–17 years were insufficiently physically active (77·6% of boys and 84·7% of girls) (The Lancet)
  • During the pandemic, anxiety and depression increased by 200% amongst youth cohorts worldwide (UNESCO)

Why is it so important


  • Early youthhood (15-16 years) is a vital stage when social life skills are developed.
  • It is also a period when future inclinations, including Sport continuance, are defined.
  • Lack of access to education has effects in other dimensions such as delinquency outbreaks, drug and alcohol consumption, depression and anxiety.
  • Sport for All provides youth the opportunity to develop skills including leadership and entrepreneurship.

International endorsement:

  • UN Agenda 2030                                                                                                                                                                Sets important goals for youths, dynamizing social entrepreneurship and access to innovative livelihood alternatives. It also stresses the importance of informal education options for youths.
  • International Youth Day:                                                                                                                                        “Youth Engagement for Global Action”, will foster the involvement of youths in current issues and advocate their role as changemakers.

Barriers to sport that should be overcome

  • Lack of previous involvement in a certain type of Sport.
  • Lack of time: teenagers and young adults allocate time to other activities, which limits the time that could be used in Sport: work, travelling social, studies, increased interest in a virtual game, among others.
  •  Excessive competitiveness and non-inclusive Sport activities: Many adolescents drop out at certain ages for the simple fact that Sport stop being fun.
  • Access fees, equipment and transportation costs.
  • Culture and religion.

Tips and key success factors

Preventing harassment other offenses
Safeguarding refers to the actions we take to ensure all children are safe from harm when involved in Sport activities. Abuse refers to the acts of commission or omission that lead to a child experiencing harm. Harm refers to the negative impact or consequences upon the child of those actions. (3)

Finding adequate ways to adapt and transfer key learning outcomes through Sport.
Sport should be adapted to develop life skills and other capacities that can bring positive effects on youths. This includes decision making, resilience, team building, a sense of community, self-esteem, personal responsibility, etc.

Adapt Sport activities to youth needs and expectations
Addressing the reasons youth are dropping out of Sport participation, listening to their needs and expectations is key to establishing successful Sport for All initiatives.

Other tips:

  • When working with Sport as a vehicle for education is highly relevant to look for organisations/institutions that can bring endorsement to the programmes.
  • Use the same activities/routines instead of adapting processes to the necessities of youths.

Available resources

  • GIZ: Competences Children and Youth gain in Sport for Education1 Programmes. Click Here
  • Global Matrix on Physical Activity for Children and Youth, Active Healthy Kids Global Alliance Click Here
  •  Keep Youngsters Involved Toolkit, Knowledge Centre for Sport Netherlands Click Here
  •  Development of quality physical education: a policy advocacy toolkit for youth (UNESCO) Click Here

Sample case

iF3 Youth functional fitness programme  (International Functional Fitness Federation)

  • Youth Events for youths ages 8-18 .
  • The experience allows them to be introduced to and participate in functional fitness .
  • It develops healthy humans.
  • It provides motivation and capacity to choose any athletic pursuit.


More information:

iF3 Priorities in Developing and Designing Youth Programmes and Competitions. Click Here