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It’s not all bad news: Girls do enjoy being active

Report that investigates girls’ attitudes towards physical activity.

Women’s Sport Foundation UK.  (2005).

Summary of preliminary research on girls’ attitudes towards physical activity in English schools.  This data aimed to form the basis for later interventions to increase participation. 

Method:  Over 150 nine to fifteen year old girls were asked about their attitudes towards sport.  Two community secondary schools and one primary school participated.  Each school was allowed to devise their own methodology in order to address specific health-related questions. Therefore, a number of research methods were used, such as questionnaires and focus groups. 

Findings:  Key themes emerged from the girls’ responses:  girls enjoyed physical activity, problems with physical activity and ideas to overcome these barriers.  Physical education was described as fun, providing opportunity for team building, provides new experience, etc.  Popular sports were trampolining, running and basketball, among others. 

Barriers to participation were numerous, e.g. lack of female role models, cultural barriers and low self esteem.  Ideas to overcome barriers were also numerous, some examples were modifying the P.E. kit to accommodate girls with low self esteem, actively encouraging girls to take part in active travel and more privacy in changing areas. 

Implications:  This information has been used as pilot data in order to seek funding for intervention work.  The intervention will focus on changing energy expenditure in school by changing the delivery of physical activity within the school day.

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Women’s Sport Foundation UK

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