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15th Apr 2015

Average 16-year-old girl ‘no fitter than a 12-year-old’

New study reveals startling facts about teen fitness levels

Katie Mythen-Lynch

The average 16-year-old girl in Ireland is no fitter than a 12-year-old, according to an eye-opening new study.

While boys’ fitness levels improve by up to 33% between the ages of 12 and 16, a countrywide Aviva sponsored fitness challenge highlighted that girls are falling far behind when it comes to sport and exercise.

So why are Irish teen girls shying away from heart-healthy activities? According to challenge organiser Professor Niall Moyna of DCU’s school of health and human performance, various social and cultural reasons may be to blame:

“There are issues around the continuing participation of girls in sport as they grow older. They may become unused to pushing themselves, to being out of breath, even to the fact their make-up could run.” he said.

10,000 students completed a six-week challenge as part of the initiative, improving their fitness levels by 12 per cent (boys) and 19 per cent (girls) in just six weeks.