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More female-friendly sports needed, PE teachers told

02/05/2012 Kelly
Secondary school PE teachers have been told that introducing activities like Zumba and rollerblading could be just the job when it comes to getting girls more involved in sports and fitness.

The call comes after a new study suggested that many girls turn away from exercise because PE lessons put them off, the BBC reported.

Research carried out for the Women's Sports and Fitness Foundation (WSFF) found that as girls and boys go through secondary school, the time they spend exercising widens.

At the age of eight, around 60 per cent of boys and girls do at least an hour's exercise five times per week. However, by the time they are 14, just 31 per cent of girls get regular exercise compared to 50 per cent of boys.

The researchers at Loughborough University who conducted the study found that the majority of 14-year-old girls wanted to do more exercise, but more than half of them said that PE lessons had put them off.

One of the main reasons given was that they are too competitive, with some girls saying that those who are better at sports get the most attention from their PE teachers.

A lack of female sporting role models and a dislike of exercising in front of boys were also cited by the girls questioned in the study.

In light of the findings, people in PE teaching jobs have been encouraged to offer less competitive sports that are more in tune with the interests of girls today, such as Zumba, yoga, pilates or rollerblading.

Commenting on the findings, Sue Tibbals, chief executive of the WSFF, told the BBC: "It's simply unacceptable that the overwhelming majority of our young women are leaving school with dangerously low levels of physical activity.

"We can't afford to keep ignoring the evidence that school sport plays a key role in shaping attitudes to sports and fitness."

Chair of UK Sport Baroness Sue Campbell added: "Schools that deliver PE well recognise these challenges and offer a wider variety of sports and physical activity that make girls feel included."

WSFF has been encouraging women into sport for 25 years and claims that 80 per cent of women do not get enough exercise.

Posted by Harriet McGowanADNFCR-2164-ID-801355031-ADNFCR
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