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I t is one of the most pressing issues of our times - especially where the developed world is concerned: on the one hand, declines in physical activity; on the other, escalating rates of obesity. Worryingly, this trend is making itself felt among the very youngest members of our society - most notably teenagers, who are dropping out of sports activities in significant numbers. Theories abound as to the cause of this phenomenon. Television, social networking sites and computer games, for example, are all jostling for the attention of a young audience, at the risk of pushing sport ever further into the sidelines. Interestingly, though, while some see the world of multimedia as a root cause of children's increasingly sedentary lifestyles, others argue that digital technology has a role to play in promoting sport to young people. For example, could popular sport-themed video games, such as Mario & Sonic at the Olympic Games, published by Sega in association with the IOC, actually encourage young people to lead more active lives? Clearly, the exact nature of what is causing so many youngsters to turn their back on sport merits considered and open- minded investigation. It can be argued that competitive sport may help steer young participants away from some of the less savoury temptations endemic in 21st- century society. As such, perhaps the social and education values of sport should occupy a more integral role in international education systems. By extension, given that not every student can be an outstanding athlete, there may be an argument for attaching greater importance to participation in - rather than winning at - sport in our schools and colleges. The Olympic Movement recognises that it is only by appreciating the younger generation's mindset and current perception of sport that appropriate ? OLYMPIC REVIEW49 OLYMPIC CONGRESS LeftThe Olympic Movement faces the challenge of combating the decline in the number of young people participating in sport around the world Jason Chatfield THEME 4