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Jan. 1, 2002 - Editorial -- staff
Softball Emerging as International ElixirSenior Softball-USA editorial
Throughout the world, governments are looking for ways to help their growing populations of seniors stay in shape.
Japan, for example, faces a potentially crippling health care crisis. With just half the population of the United States, Japan has five times as many seniors in critical care institutions as America.
Many of the rest of the industrialized nations of the world face similar situations as their baby boom populations become seniors and the birth rates continue to decline ˆ meaning there will be fewer working-age people to support the senior populations of countries.
As this happens, governments are searching for ways to keep their burgeoning senior populations in shape and out of hospitals and critical care centers. The governmental efforts are both humanitarian and economic. The healthier their populations, the less they have to spend on health care.
About three years ago, Japanese officials came to the United States to study Senior Softball. They spent several days in Phoenix during the 1999 World Championships and created a film documentary that was aired on Japan public television throughout the country. The response to the documentary was so strong that it was aired several additional times.
Top Japanese government officials now believe strongly that the answer to their country's growing senior health problem is sports ˆ especially softball. They found that the sport not only keeps seniors active, but it provides a camaraderie that builds self-confidence and healthy lifestyles, according to their university studies.
Who would have thought that having fun playing softball could be the answer to looming international economic crises?