This UK report notes that most girls are less active than boys from childhood to adolescence. Creative and concerted efforts are needed to directly address this gender gap. The research presented shows that peers, parents, active travel to school and after-school clubs hold promise to help girls become and stay active.
Summary of findings
- It is possible to identify and train influential adolescent girls to become peer-supporters and encourage or promote a more active lifestyle among their friendship groups.
- By encouraging girls to sign up to new activities, showing support for their daughter’s physical activity interests and providing transport to such activities, parents can nurture their daughter’s confidence to be active.
- If schools and parents can support the switch from passive (car/bus) to active (walk/cycle) travel, girls can get a significant amount of their daily physical activity whilst commuting to and from school.
- The after-school period is a critical opportunity to encourage girls’ physical activity, but to appeal to both boys and girls, such provisions should focus on enjoyment of a broader range of activities beyond traditional sports.