As part of our long-standing commitment to support students’ participation in physical activity – which is an essential part of our mission to create healthier school communities — we rally to develop a school-based program supported by partners who value the importance of girls’ physical, social and emotional well-being along with the value of fueling one’s body with good nutrition.
GENYOUth’s Root4Her program, designed especially for middle school girls, is centered on providing resources, support, strategies, and motivation to make movement an important part of girls’ quest for social, emotional, nutritional and physical good health.
Root4Her addresses a critical issue – Girls’ participation in physical activity is particularly challenged as they move into middle and high school, with low self-confidence, body image, and lack of encouragement and support among the top reasons girls phase out from both competitive and non-competitive activity alike.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that less than a quarter (24%) of children ages 6 to 17 are participating in the recommended 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
- It is proven that students who are physically active tend to have better grades, school attendance, cognitive performance (e.g., memory), and classroom behaviors (e.g., on-task behavior). CDC
- Between ages 5 and 10, girls and boys participate in physical activity at similarly high rates, but by the age of 13, girls drop out of physical activity and sports at twice the rate of boys. Women’s Sports Foundation
- The situation is even more pronounced for young girls in underserved communities and young women of color who have less access to athletic programs, more familial responsibilities, and engage in less physical activity. Women’s Sports Foundation
GENYOUth’s “State of the Student” Physical Activity Omnibus survey of teens (500 girls/500 boys) revealed that teens give themselves low grades on physical activity.
- Fewer than half (47%) report being happy with their current level of physical activity.
- Girls (43%) are less likely to be happy with how active they currently are than boys (52%).
- Teens want more alternative, less intimidating physical activities.
- They are interested in more options before/during/after school (33%), opportunities at their skill level (32%) and activities that are fun/inclusive (31% overall; 35% for girls vs. 28% for boys.)
- Teens’ sense of well-being goes beyond physical activity. 55% cite nutrition, and 47% say mindfulness/sleep, as most important to health and well-being