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University of Kent study aims to encourage physical exercise for 11 – 15-year-old girls

11.03.2008
A new study at the University of Kent aims to reduce obesity and promote wellbeing by encouraging increased physical exercise for 11 – 15-year-old girls.

The three-year study, which is being conducted by Jenny Billings, Ferhana Hashem and Jan Macvarish at the University’s Centre for Health Services Studies, will first identify the issues that prevent or inhibit girls in this age group from engaging in regular physical exercise or sport. It will then recommend new and innovative ways to inspire increased regular participation in local programmes.

Wendy Davey, Thanet Schools Sports Co-ordinator, Claire Martin, Public Health Specialist with Eastern Coastal Kent PCT, and pupils from schools in Margate and Westgate will be working alongside the University.

The study has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Project leader Jenny Billings said: ‘The latest figures from the Health Survey for England show that 40% of 11 – 15-year-old girls are overweight or obese. This clearly shows that they are not taking physical exercise; however, we need to find out from them what sort of exercise they would like to do to get them interested and active.’

Wendy Davey said: ‘It is an exciting opportunity for girls in Margate and Westgate to tell us what stops them from exercising at the moment. The researchers will talk with small groups of girls in school and listen to their concerns and ideas. If we can find out what really stops girls exercising, we can work around the problems. Maybe there are some new sports that girls would like to try. We look forward to them telling the researchers about their ideas.’

Claire Martin said: ‘The research will provide evidence of how to work with young girls, helping schools encourage girls to be more active.’

Gary Hughes | alfa
Further information:
http://www.kent.ac.uk/news

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