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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 738705, 8 pages
Research Article

What Are the Barriers Which Discourage 15-16 Year-Old Girls from Participating in Team Sports and How Can We Overcome Them?

1Department of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation, Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 8ST, UK
2Institute of Health & Society, Newcastle University, Sir James Spence Institute, Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4LP, UK
3Human Nutrition Research Centre, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK

Received 18 April 2013; Accepted 31 July 2013

Academic Editor: Yvonne F. Heerkens

Copyright © 2013 Abigail R. Wetton et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Given the clear benefits of regular physical activity (such as reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and obesity, as well as other benefits including those related to mental health), exploration of the reasons that adolescent girls give for not taking part in team sports may be particularly valuable for enhancing later rates of participation. We combined questionnaires ( ) and semistructured interviews ( ) to assess the barriers that prevent 15-16-year-old girls from participating in extracurricular team games and what can be done to overcome these barriers and improve physical activity levels. Four barriers became prominent as to why girls in this sample do not participate: Internal Factors, Existing Stereotypes, Other Hobbies and Teachers. Methods to overcome these barriers were identified; changing teachers’ attitudes and shifting the media’s focus away from male sport. Following the successful summer Olympics and Paralympics in the UK, and the resulting positive focus on some of the nation’s female athletes, a shift in focus may be possible. However, this needs to be maintained to allow girls more opportunities, role models and motivation to participate in sport.