Teenage girls in UK lose interest in sports: Survey


According to a survey held in Britain, Around one million girls who used to love sports in primary classes lose interest in physical activity when they become teenagers.

The survey by Women in Sport revealed that the fear of being judged by society and lack of confidence in teenage girls are the main reasons behind their declining interest in physical activities. The survey was done on more than 4000 girls residing in the UK, and it found that 43% of girls showed high interest in sports in primary classes but didn’t feel the same in their teens. This would correlate to 1.3 million girls across Britain.


Out of these surveyed girls, 68% of them said that they fear being judged by society, which has stopped them from participating in sports, while 61% said they lacked confidence and 47% said they were too busy to find some time for sports.

Teenage girls further said that they used to be sporty and active but were no longer keen to exercise than boys, i.e. around 24%. The survey also tells that girls need more support when they become mature and go through puberty as 78% (8 in 10) of girls admitted that they avoid taking part in physical activity when they go through their periods, higher than those who have never been sporty (69%) and those who are still passionate about sports (64%).

The poll further concluded that the corona pandemic had impacted teenage girls’ worries about their appearance and mental health issues more than boys. It found they are less physically involved than boys in general and are far less likely to participate in team sports.

The survey says, “Worryingly, girls lose their passion for sport and workout during teenage years, and this presents an effective psychological barrier throughout life.”

Only 37% of girls between the ages of 11 to 16 enjoy physical activity compared to 54% of boys of a similar age. Whereas girls between 17 to 18, just three in ten girls are sporty compared to six in ten boys.

Physical appearance and body image concerns were found to be the issues that were faced by all girls, but this was especially the case with girls who had stopped entirely taking part in any kind of physical activity as they grew older.


73% of girls who were sporty in their primary age said their dislike of others watching them was an obstacle towards their participation in any physical activities.

Women who were still in sport in their youth said that they were deeply concerned by the reducing numbers of females participating in these activities.

The report added that an additional dip in engagement was found at age 17 to 18, once school sport was no longer mandatory.

The report showed most girls apprehended the advantages of being physically active and desired to increase their workout levels. Still, only 47% said they found it easy to motivate themselves.

The chief executive of Women in Sport, Stephanie Hilborne, said, “It’s a total travesty that teenage girls are being driven out of sport at such a scale.” She also added that losing interest in Sport at this formative stage of their lives correlated to a “loss of joy as well as good lifelong health”.

“It is well documented that taking part in physical activity can have a strong and good effect on mental wellbeing as well as providing many pivotal life skills such as stability, teamwork and communication,” she added.

“We must shatter the myth that teenage girls drop out of Sport simply because their preferences change. Our research has found that 59% of teenage girls used to be sporty like competitive Sport. Still, they’re failing due to early-year stereotyping, inadequate opportunities, and a complete absence of knowledge about managing female puberty.

“Teenage girls are not voluntarily leaving Sport, and they are being pushed out as a consequence of deep-rooted gender stereotypes. We must all do more to replace this trend and not continue to accept this as inescapable.”

The charity is calling for sport, leisure and education sectors to keep girls engaged in Sport, especially during the change from primary to secondary school and during puberty.

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