Sports fans who have a religious bent won't be too happy with a new study by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EHT). According to the university, which is located in Zurich, Switzerland, atheist children are better at sports (i.e. more athletic) than kids who embrace a religion.
To complete the study, 600 first-grade school children in Winterthur, Switzerland were examined. Over a four-year period, researchers looked at their coordination, strength and agility -- all measurements that would help to determine their athleticism.
In the end, the researchers at ETH's Institute for Movement Sciences and Sport took the data they collected and cross-referenced it with the children's other information -- the origin of their parents, their native language and their religion. The results are certainly interesting.
Among the children, those who had no faith background were found to be the most skilled when it comes to athletics. Following right behind them were Christians (Protestants and Catholics). And at the tail end of the spectrum were Muslim children, who, according to The Local, were below average in their performance.
Interestingly, Muslim girls were particularly unskilled in athletics. This, says Stegan Fritschi, the school's director, may be based on the fact that Islamic girls are sometimes reluctant to make body contact with other children -- something that would clearly be an impediment in the sports world.
Of course, faith wasn't the only factor impacting performance in sports. Language and socioeconomic status also played into the equation. On the latter front, the more educated a family and the more money it had, the higher performing the associated student was.
It's important to note that this is a relatively small sample size and that the research wasn't done in the United States. Still, it's interesting to review the results, as it may serve as a solid basis for future research into the impact of personal faith on performance in suports.