Girls put off exercise for life by PE lessons
SCHOOLGIRLS are being put off exercise and sport by their PE lessons, new research suggests.
Many young girls feel self-conscious or unhappy at the activities on offer, according to a study by the Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation (WSFF).
The foundation is warning that girls are not getting enough exercise, and that schools are vital in encouraging them to be more active.
Their report draws on research conducted by the Institute of Youth Sport at Loughborough University, which asked 1,500 pupils for their views on fitness.
The research shows that just over half of girls (51 per cent) are put off physical activity by their experiences of school sport and PE lessons.
Just under half (45 per cent) think sport is too competitive, while over a third say their PE teacher only pays attention to pupils who are good at sport.
The study also revealed that girls' attitudes to PE are led by their peers, and that many feel uncomfortable taking part.
Just under half (48 per cent) of the girls questioned said that "getting sweaty is not feminine" while almost a third of boys questioned said that girls who are sporty are not feminine.
Nearly three-fifths (57 pre cent) of girls agreed that girls drop out of doing physical activity because their friends do.
"Being popular is not defined by being 'sporty' for girls - but it is for boys," the report says. “Boys receive more encouragement to be sporty from their friends."
The foundation's report also reveals that nearly half of the least active girls say they do not like the activities they are offered in PE, compared with 26 per cent of the most active.
Over three-quarters (76 per cent) of girls agreed that female pupils are self-conscious about their bodies, with around a quarter saying they feel their body is on show in PE and this makes them like the subject less.
WSFF chief executive Sue Tibballs said: "It is well-known that school children are less active than they should be. This problem is particularly severe for girls. Our research shows that PE and school sport is actually putting the majority of girls off being active, even though three-quarters of girls are keen to do more exercise.