Participation in recreation including sports, joining groups, and taking music, dance or art lessons is associated with lower rated of emotional and behavioral problems and school drop-out. 
Young people involved in recreation are less likely to turn to smoking, drug or alcohol abuse and crime. 
In 1995, nearly half of families with an income under $20,000 a year said that high cost was a reason for not participating in physical activities, compared with one third of families earning over $60,000. 
Even for free programs, many families cannot afford the cost of basic equipment and extra charges, for example, skates, uniforms, entrance fee for a group outing, etc... 
For many, transportation is the barrier to participation. More families cannot afford to pay for travel even to free programs. The problem is even more complicated in rural areas where there is no public transportation .
10. Determinants of Health Working Group and the Child and Youth Health Network of eastern Ontario, (March 2000). The Challenges Our Children Face: Are we building healthy communities? Is there room for improvement? A report card on child poverty in Renfrew, pg. 1-17