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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March 2008, 16:04 GMT
Study to get girls into exercise
Girls playing netball
Researchers plan to listen to girls' concerns and ideas about sport
A study that aims to cut obesity by encouraging girls to take up regular exercise has been launched.

The University of Kent's three-year research project hopes to identify the reasons that many 11 to 15-year-old girls avoid sports.

Pupils from Margate and Westgate will take part in the study to explain what stops them from exercising.

Researchers hope to discover ways to inspire youngsters to increase regular participation in physical activities.

The latest figures from the Health Survey for England show that 40% of 11 to 15-year-old girls are overweight or obese.

If we can find out what really stops girls exercising, we can work around the problems
Wendy Davey, Thanet schools sports co-ordinator

Project leader Jenny Billings said: "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, Thanet schools sports co-ordinator, said: "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."

Claire Martin, public health specialist with Eastern and Coastal Kent PCT, said: "The research will provide evidence of how to work with young girls, helping schools encourage girls to be more active."

The study has been funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

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