Aims: The aims of this review is to compile and identify key issues in international research about youth sports clubs as health-promoting settings, and then discuss the results of the review in terms of a framework for the youth sports club as a health-promoting setting.
Methods: The framework guiding this review of research is the health-promoting settings approach introduced by the World Health Organization (WHO). The method used is the integrated review. Inclusion criteria were, first, that the studies concerned sports clubs for young people, not professional clubs; second, that it be a question of voluntary participation in some sort of ongoing organized athletics outside of the regular school curricula; third, that the studies consider issues about youth sports clubs in terms of health-promoting settings as described by WHO. The final sample for the review consists of 44 publications.
Results: The review shows that youth sports clubs have plentiful opportunities to be or become health-promoting settings; however this is not something that happens automatically. To do so, the club needs to include an emphasis on certain important elements in its strategies and daily practices. The youth sports club needs to be a supportive and healthy environment with activities designed for and adapted to the specific age-group or stage of development of the youth.
Conclusions: To become a health-promoting setting, a youth sports club needs to take a comprehensive approach to its activities, aims, and purposes.