There is a “direct correlation” between a lack of physical activity by young British girls and them having poorer mental health and lower aspirations than their male counterparts, experts have warned.
Boys aged between eight and 15 spend almost twice as much time doing sport activities as girls of the same age, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
They also revealed that girls spend an average of 25 minutes a day on sports activities, compared with 40 minutes for boys.
Girls were also less likely to participate in sports activities than boys, with a daily participation rate of 26 per cent, compared with 39 per cent for eight-15-year-old males. This was despite the fact that girls who participated in sports got the same level of enjoyment from it as boys.
The Youth Sport Trust (YST), a charitable trust that aims to support the development of young people through physical education, has warned that the discrepancy is detrimental to girls’ development.
“There is a direct correlation between girls’ future life chances and the amount of physical activity they do in their younger years,” Chris Wright, its head of wellbeing told The Independent.
“Quite often high-flying businesswomen talk about being very involved in sport when they were younger. Doing sport as children appears to help girls feel empowered and able to achieve things.”
He added: “Lack of activity correlates to a greater decline in wellbeing among children and teenagers. All the evidence suggests that if you’re inactive you’re likely to be less happy.”
UK news in pictures
UK news in pictures
30 January 2018
Members of the Jarl Squad dressed in Viking suits after marching through the streets in Lerwick on the Shetland Isles during the Up Helly Aa Viking Festival
29 January 2018
Travis Frain (left) and Dan Hett from the Survivors Against Terror Group talk to students at Manchester Enterprise Academy. Frain survived the Westminster attack in March 2017, while Hett’s brother Martin was one of the 22 who died in the Manchester attack in May 2017
28 January 2018
Members of the English Civil War Society take part in the King’s Army Annual March and Parade, in London, as they commemorate the execution of Charles I. The route follows the route taken by Charles I from St James Palace on the Mall to the place of his death at the Banqueting House in Whitehall.
27 January 2018
Will Grigg celebrates scoring Wigan’s second goal from the penalty spot during the Emirates FA Cup, fourth round match against West Ham at the DW Stadium. League One Wigan knocked out the Premier League side 2-0.
26 January 2018
US entrepreneur and co-founder of the Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates and Britain’s International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt meet vet Andy Hopker and students Vanya Lalljee and Jennifer Hunt during an event to launch the Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security at the University of Edinburgh.
25 January 2018
President Donald Trump meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the World Economic Forum in Davos
24 January 2018
Alun Wyn Jones of Wales, Guilhem Guirado of France, Dylan Hartley of England, Rory Best of Ireland, John Barclay of Scotland and Sergio Parisse of Italy pose with the trophy during the 6 Nations Launch event at the Hilton in London
23 January 2018
Kyle Edmund reacts after winning his men’s quarter-final match against Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open. He will play sixth seed Marin Cilic in the semi-final.
22 January 2018
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson next to US Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson on a visit to the new embassy in London, a discreet move after criticism of US President Donald Trump who refused to inaugurate it
21 January 2018
Women’s rights demonstrators hold placards and chant slogans during the Time’s Up rally at Richmond Terrace, opposite Downing Street. The Time’s Up Women’s March marks the one year anniversary of the first Women’s March in London and in 2018 it is inspired by the Time’s Up movement against sexual abuse. The Time’s Up initiative was launched at the start of January 2018 as a response to the #MeToo movement and the Harvey Weinstein scandal.
20 January 2018
Britain’s Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland perform in the pairs ice dance free dance event at the European figure skating championships in Moscow.
19 January 2018
Sheep graze in a field in Thornhill, Scotland. Forecasters have issued a new warning of snow and icy conditions in Southern Scotland with the police advising people to leave work early in affected areas.
18 January 2018
French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May look up at a military fly past at Sandhurst Military Academy in Camberley. Theresa May is expected to make an announcement as part of the Anglo-France Summit at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where she will discuss Britain’s strong and wide-ranging bilateral relationship with President Macron.
17 January 2018
A jackknifed lorry is recovered on the M74, following motorists spending the night stranded on the motorway in Abington, Scotland. Mountain rescue teams spent the night helping drivers following heavy snowfall in the Dumfries and Galloway region
16 January 2018
Carillion, which has a variety of private and public service contracts in Britain and employs 43,000 staff worldwide, announced its immediate liquidation on Monday after the heavily-indebted company failed to secure a last-ditch financial rescue from the government and banks. Carillion held a £335 million contract to build the new Liverpool city hospital, the delivery of which was already delayed by the time the company went into liquidation.
15 January 2018
Dolores O’Riordan, frontwoman of the iconic Irish grunge-rock band The Cranberries, died suddenly at the age of 46. A spokesperson for O’Riordan said she died “suddenly” in London, where she had travelled for a short recording session.
14 January 2018
Glen Durrant celebrates with the trophy after victory during day nine of the BDO World Professional Darts Championship 2018 at The Lakeside.
13 January 2018
The Whittlesea Straw Bear festival in Cambridgeshire celebrates the old Fenland plough custom of parading straw bears around the town every January. This Festival happens on the first weekend after Plough Monday. The procession, led by the Straw Bear, has over 250 dancers, musicians and performers. They perform traditional Molly, Morris, Clog and Sword dancing.
12 January 2018
Workers look at the Madame Tussauds wax figure of US President Donald Trump outside the new US Embassy in Nine Elms, London, after Mr Trump confirmed he will not travel to the UK to open the new building – and hit out at the location of the 1.2 billion dollar (£886 million) project. Writing on Twitter, Trump said he thought the embassy’s move from Grosvenor Square in the prestigious Mayfair district of central London to Nine Elms, south of the Thames, was a “bad deal”.
11 January 2018
British Prime Minister Theresa May watches birds from inside a bird hide with school children at the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust’s (WWT) ahead of a speech to launch the government’s environment plan in London. Campaigners on January 11 criticised Theresa May’s plan to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste within 25 years, calling it a “missed opportunity” that lacked the necessary urgency. The government will extend a charge on plastic bags to all businesses and encourage supermarkets to introduce plastic-free aisles, May said in speech.
10 January 2018
Cirque du Soleil ‘OVO’ dress rehearsal at the Royal Albert Hall.
9 January 2018
Prime Minister Theresa May leads her first cabinet meeting of the new year at 10 Downing street.
8 January 2018
Journalist Carrie Gracie speaks to the media outside the BBC in London after she turned down a £45,000 rise, describing the offer as a “botched solution” to the problem of unequal pay at the BBC. Gracie said she told the corporation she wanted equality, rather than more money, and was determined not to help the organisation “perpetuate a failing pay structure by discriminating against women”.
7 January 2018
A man reads a newspaper as he takes part in the annual ‘No Trousers On The Tube Day’ (No Pants Subway Ride) at Liverpool Street Station. Started in 2002 with only seven participants, the day is now marked in over 60 cities around the world. The idea behind “No Pants” is that random passengers board a subway car at separate stops in the middle of winter, without wearing trousers. The participants wear all of the usual winter clothing on their top half such as hats, scarves and gloves and do not acknowledge each other’s similar state of undress.
6 January 2018
League Two side Coventry City celebrate victory over Premier League side Stoke in the FA Cup third round.
5 January 2018
A commendation ceremony takes place at Manchester Town Hall to recognise the actions of police and rail staff following the terrorist attack at Manchester Arena in May 2017.
4 January 2018
Stuart (no surname given) with his possessions in a bus stop near Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Prime Minister Theresa May has said she disagrees with Tory council leader Simon Dudley, who called on police to clear rough sleepers from Windsor before the royal wedding.
3 January 2018
Storm Eleanor lashed the UK with violent storm-force winds of up to 100mph.
2 January 2018
Members of National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) hold a demonstration against rail fare increases outside Kings Cross Railway Station, London. Average rail ticket prices across Britain have risen by 3.4 percent, the biggest increase to rail fares for five years.
1 January 2018
A man takes part in the Mappleton Bridge Jump, an annual unofficial tradition where those willing jump from Okeover bridge on New Years Day into the River Dove.
31 December 2017
Passing clouds creating beautiful colours in Wimbledon on the last sunset of the year.
32/47 30 December 2017
One person was taken to hospital after a fire broke out on the ninth floor of a building in Joiner Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.
33/47 29 December 2017
Heavy snow, rain, thunderstorms and wind have caused disruption across much of Britain as a band of “severe” weather rolled across the country. Travelers were warned of dangerous roads conditions, with Highways England advising road users to pack shovels, food and water if they do venture out. The weather didn’t just affect travel however, camels on a farm near Richmond, North Yorkshire and various other animals are having to deal with the cold weather.
34/47 28 December 2017
Alastair Cook celebrates after reaching his double-century during the third day of the fourth Ashes cricket test match.
35/47 27 December 2017
Sheep are driven to another field in the Cotswolds after overnight snow caused travel disruptions across parts of the UK.
36/47 26 December 2017
Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his third goal, Tottenham’s fifth, during the Boxing day Premier League match against Southampton at Wembley. He broke Alan Shearer’s record of 36 Premier League goals in a calendar year, scoring 39 from 36 matches. Kane also finished 2017 as Europe’s leading scorer ahead of Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, who has 54 goals from 63 appearances in all competitions. Harry Kane has 56 from 52.
37/47 25 December 2017
Swimmers get out of the water after taking part in the Christmas Day Serpentine swim in Hyde Park, London.
38/47 24 December 2017
Stuart Broad of England bowls during a nets session at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia. The fourth Ashes test starts on Boxing Day.
39/47 23 December 2017
Staff members console each other as they survey the damage after a fire destroyed a number of buildings at London Zoo. An aardvark has died and four meerkats are missing. Eight zoo workers have been treated by paramedics after a desperate attempt to save the animals from the blaze, which broke out in a petting area.
40/47 22 December 2017
Druids, pagans and revellers gather in the centre of Stonehenge, hoping to see the sun rise, as they take part in a winter solstice ceremony at the ancient neolithic monument of Stonehenge. Despite a forecast for cloud and rain, a large crowd gathered at the famous historic stone circle, to celebrate the sunrise closest to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. The event is claimed to be more important in the pagan calendar than the summer solstice, because it marks the ‘re-birth’ of the Sun for the New Year.
41/47 21 December 2017
Polish Defense Minister Antoni Macierewicz, British Defence Minister Gavin Williamson in the presence of Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May sign a treaty between the Republic of Poland and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland on cooperation in the field of defense and security.
42/47 20 December 2017
A protester wears a ‘STOP BREXIT’ hat outside the Palace of Westminster.
43/47 19 December 2017
The Choristers of St Paul’s rehearse for a series of services and concerts over the Christmas season at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
44/47 18 December 2017
Joe Root, the England captain is interviewed after Australia regained the Ashes. England lost by an innings and 41 run runs in the third test at the WACA in Perth.
45/47 17 December 2017
Photos of Richard Ratcliffe and his wife Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who has been jailed in Iran, on display at their home in north London. Mr Ratcliffe says he believes there is “still a chance” she may be released from an Iranian prison in time for a dream Christmas together.
46/47 16 December 2017
Oxford Street in London is filled with shoppers with 8 shopping days before Christmas.
47/47 15 December 2017
Jonny Bairstow of England headbutts his helmet to celebrate his century during day two of the Third Test match in the 2017/18 Ashes Series between Australia and England at the WACA in Perth, Australia. Bairstow was embroiled in controversy at the beginning of the tour after lightly headbutting Australian opening batsman Cameron Bancroft in an exchange in a bar.
Research last year showed women held just 12 per cent of full-time jobs paying £150,000 or more.
A separate study revealed that almost one in four teenage girls suffer from depression, compared with just 9 per cent of boys the same age.
The ONS figures also showed that the average amount of leisure time children spent in parks, countryside, seaside, beach or coastal locations was 16 minutes per day. Children also reported greater enjoyment ratings when taking part in entertainment and culture activities and sports and exercise activities than for other outdoor activities.
Recent research by the YST meanwhile shows that by the age of seven girls are already less active than boys, with this disparity widening as they move from childhood into adolescence.
One in 10 teenage girls referred to mental health services last year
It also shows that biggest drop-off in girls participating in sports activities occurs during the transition from primary to secondary school, with disruption to friendship groups and declining body confidence affecting girls’ participation in PE and sport.
Dawn Snape, assistant director of the ONS’s Well-being, Inequalities, Sustainability and Environment (WISE) Division, said: “This is the first time we have looked at how children are spending their leisure time on sports and outdoor activities.
“Of their outdoor leisure activities, taking part in sport is by far the most popular among 8- to 15-year-olds. Boys spend significantly longer than girls on sport but interestingly, boys and girls who do participate in sport, enjoy it equally.”
A Department for Education Spokesperson said: “We want to encourage all young people to get into the healthy habit of playing and enjoying sport – both inside and outside school.
“We know that many schools are using their primary PE and School Sport Premium funding to focus on girls P.E and target groups who may traditionally be less active, with 31% of schools reporting that they used their funding to target girls.
“Across government we continue to work to promote women’s sport. Sport England funds a number of programmes to encourage girls and women to get physically active, including ‘This Girl Can’ and ‘Girls Active’.”
This content was originally published here.