Sport can be a key in addressing global concerns about today’s youth, Dr. T.J. Rosandich told an international audience in New York earlier this month.

The United States Sports Academy Vice President talked about how sports can help guide youth away from common childhood health problems and exploitation, during a presentation given at WorldForum 2010, the 21st annual summit of the International Forum for Child Welfare (IFCW). Some 500 delegates from 40 nations gathered to take stock of current successes and obstacles, to share cutting edge research, innovative solutions, and best practices, and to plan for future action.

“Participation in sports provides a natural appeal for youth,” Dr. Rosandich said. “Properly channeled, it can be a tremendous vehicle for individual and societal development.”

He said sport encourages healthy lifestyles that can reduce chronic diseases such as those to the circulatory system and diabetes.

“Properly developed sports programs also serve to combat the exploitation of youth,” Dr. Rosandich said. “Youth are characterized by a combination of naiveté and passions that can be exploited for political purposes including mobilizing them for political demonstrations.” He also pointed out many children are exploited by criminal enterprises because penalties for criminal behavior are less for juveniles than for adults.

“Participation in sports remains one of the best tools available to instill in youth both the skills and character traits that they will eventually need to be successful in the workplace as adults,” he added.

Dr. Rosandich was invited to the conference by Matilda Cuomo, the wife of former New York Governor Mario Cuomo and mother of N.Y. Governor-elect Andrew Cuomo, whom he met in April when the Academy and the Business Council for International Understanding hosted a special dinner in New York City for Malaysian Prime Minister Dato Sri Mohd Najib Bin Tun Abdul Razak and First Lady Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah.