Scotland's girls prefer spice to sport

GERI HALIWELL, who works out in the gym to enhance her body, is not a role model for many older teenage girls. She is too extreme, researchers discovered after conducting in-depth interviews during the inquiry by the Physical Activity Task Force.

The former Spice Girl is well known for working out but body image for older teenage girls means clothing, hair and accessories rather than weight loss and toning. Physical activity does not feature in their quality of life.

Older girls believe they have to be good at physical activity if they want to take part. "Due to not believing themselves to be 'sporty', the girls felt considerably self-conscious about getting involved in physical activity. More specifically, they felt embarrassed about being seen by their peers trying to perform physical activities. Moreover, wearing sports clothing added to these feelings of self-consciousness," the researchers report.

The study found that girls developed negative self-perceptions through physical education. "Teachers were sometimes criticised for a number of reasons, including for pushing physically unconfident teenagers beyond their point of comfort, setting standards higher than the girls felt able to reach, expecting a similar standard from all regardless of ability and reinforcing 'sporty' stereotypes by favouring more able teenagers."

PE was no fun, there was no choice and they disliked the focus on written work and homework.

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