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A nation of inactive and unhappy teenage girls.

We are a nation of inactive and unhappy teenage girls, according to UK charity, ‘Women in Sport’. And, according to their ‘reframing sport for teenage girls’ report, it has become increasingly worse over the past 10 years.

The report confirms that, today, 1.5m more men than women play sport each week and that only 8% of girls are meeting the recommended 60 minutes’ exercise each day guidelines (Sport England 2018).

In fact, studies indicate that teenage girls are significantly less active than boys the same age. This could be one of the reasons why 44% of girls aged 13-15 are overweight / obese compared to 36% of boys.

So why is this and what can be done to reverse the trend?

According to ‘Women in Sport’, social media plays a major role. They found that 42% of girls aged 11-21 prefer to communicate on social media rather than face to face, with many citing the fear of meeting new people as a reason for not taking up sport.

In fact, the time young people spend online has doubled over the past 10 years. From eight hours, a week in 2005 to 18 hours in 2015. The report documents that It has now become a highly pervasive influence on the young person’s life – both school and personal – with a culture rooted in the ‘fear of missing out’.

Also, there are few female sports role models, confirm 72% of girls aged 11-21, who say there is insufficient coverage of women’s sport in the media. This could be one of the reasons why teenage girls do not value sporting activity as something to share with their friends.

The very bedrock of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

In fact, it is said that with these platforms being primarily image based, there’s a greater chance that girls rather than boys have a negative body image and consequently low self-esteem. It would appear that because of this, many teenage girls develop a negative attitude towards sport, something that is difficult to change as they get older.

So how can we change this?

PTC was established to provide sporting and physical activities for young people, regardless of age or gender and to make it fun and safe for all. The ‘Women in Sport’ research highlights the need to inspire and motivate girls to undertake more physical activity.

On the other hand, we also fully understand the resource limitations on schools to provide a full PE programme that achieves the aims of the current curriculum. It’s a sobering statistic, that 28% of teenage girls do no other exercise except for school PE and even more disappointingly, only 23% actually enjoy it.

This is why we work closely with schools to provide bespoke packages, designed to integrate into the school timetable. This also includes in house CPD training for teachers and support staff.

With 37% of girls aged 14-16 saying they don’t have time to do sport outside of school due to pressure of school work, we offer a range of extra curriculum activities including before and after school clubs and holiday clubs. We are even geared up to provide a ready-made Olympic style school sports day or more traditional format if preferred.

The report also referred to the benefits of parental support in encouraging a bigger take up of sport by teenage girls. This is also reinforced by Sport England whose own research indicates that family involvement is of paramount importance to a young person’s physical activity.

However, we understand that it can be difficult for families, especially lone parents, to participate in group activities. This could be a time issue or the feeling that they are not ‘sporty types’ and as such would feel out of place.

This is also observed in the ‘women in sport’ research that claims 63% of young women shun sports if their friends not involved. With that in mind, we’ve developed a ‘fit family’ programme of fun exercises that enables parents, of all ability, to keep fit and health alongside their children.

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