- A report out yesterday showed four out
of 10 girls - around 250,000 a year - stop playing any games. And the simple
addition of curtains in school showers could be enough to tempt many of
them back to keeping fit, it was claimed.
- Researchers from the Youth Sport Trust
said one of the key reasons girls gave for giving up sport was low physical
- This inevitably led to below average
self-confidence throughout the rest of their schooldays, says the report,
jointly published by the Trust and Nike UK.
- The girls also blamed boys for sneering
if they were sporty because they considered it "unfeminine".
- Researchers said that girls who carried
on with sporting activities were less likely to develop eating disorders,
have unwanted pregnancies or get into abusive relationships.
- That was because sport lifted them out
of a spiral of depression and helped them concentrate on a more positive
lifestyle, they said.
- They called on schools and colleges to
set up a wider range of sporting activities for girls - including non-team
pursuits like dance and aerobics alongside hockey and netball. Former Olympic
gold medallist Mary Peters, launching the report, said: "It is alarming
that 40per cent drop out at 14. Those that continue to take up sport end
up fitter, happier and healthier."
- Dr Sue Campbell, chief executive of the
Youth Sport Trust, said: "Many girls feel uncomfortable about themselves.
- "There is a media image that being
fit and strong means you are less feminine. It is important we help to
dispel this myth."
- She said that showering in front of others
was also a major issue for girls. David Kirk, from Loughborough Univer-sity,
who carried out the investigation, said: "If girls are humiliated
if they do badly they're not going to continue."
- And he added: "Maybe some schools
would like to explore putting curtains in the showers to give them some
- AN immediate £500,000 grant to
the Pre School Alliance to help head off the threatened closure of 1,700
playgroups this year was announced yesterday by Education Minister Margaret