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When I went to a gym to pick up a membership form, they gave me a parental consent form as well.

I understand that means there is some risk attached to going to a gym for children. Aside from pulling muscles, what other health risks are there?

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Welcome, you are asking two different (and unrelated) questions here, you should post each on their own. –  Baarn Jan 28 '13 at 8:01
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I am not really sure if a list of risks is a really useful question. Why haven't you asked at that gym? –  Baarn Jan 28 '13 at 8:04
    
@Informaficker Well, it is to me. If has the same health risk as playing soccer, I will take it. However, if it could stunt growth that is another matter. As for asking at the gym, I should have. The question only occurred to me after reading the form. –  General Stubbs Jan 28 '13 at 8:22
    
I think we already had a question that asks about children in gym, try to search for it (I'd do, but right now I don't have the time, maybe later). Check the faq and the about of our site, too. –  Baarn Jan 28 '13 at 8:25
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The idea that resistance training will stunt a child or teenager's growth is a myth, as addressed here. The reason the question as asked is not useful is that it's speculative and unrelated to fact: the gym probably has a parental consent form because their lawyer, independent of the truth of the matter, said they needed to have one. I'd be more worried about kids roughhousing or misusing equipment. –  Dave Liepmann Jan 28 '13 at 13:40

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Having little Timmy at age 3 doing curls is not the same as having big Bobby at age 17 doing curls, so for the purpose of this answer I will assume the base age of 6 as an appropriate minimum for being defined as a youth / child.

In the scientific community, it is pretty widely accepted that resistance training is a safe and appropriate activity for children to participate in.

As far as health risks go, they are really no different than that of any other sport or physical activity; it all boils down to using proper form in a safe and supervised environment. By supervision I am not referring to some nanny making sure they aren't rough-housing, but rather an experienced and knowledgeable personal trainer who can ensure they use proper form, spot the weights, and build a safe and age appropriate training program for the child.

Keep in mind that there are also psychological benefits and risks associated with sports and resistance training. While the activity may be very beneficial for the child physically, if they treat it with the wrong mentality then it can be dangerous to them psychologically (think sports breeding hyper-competitiveness). By introducing weight lifting at an early age you risk the child becoming hyper-narcissistic (among other things) if you approach it with the wrong mentality.

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What I wanted to know. Thank you. –  General Stubbs Feb 1 '13 at 0:33

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