Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Resolution - Healthier Girls

Did you make a New Year's Resolution? I made a few - many of the same ones I made last year, and the year before; spend more time with the family, save more money, and of course eat healthier, exercise more, and lose a few of the extra pounds I've been carrying around!

A few days into the new routine, my daughter picked up on the changes I was making and immediately made reference to her eating habits and body type in relation to mine. Our conversation reminded me of a study issued by the Girl Scout Research Institute called The New Normal - What Girls Say About Healthy Living.

We hear so much about childhood obesity and everybody has an opinion on the causes - lack of exercise/too many video games, changes in our food, portions of food, etc. But what is unique about the study issued by the Girl Scout Research Institute is that they asked girls and boys what they thought about healthy living. Here are a few of the major findings of what girls had to say about healthy living:
  1. Aspiring to be "Normal Healthy" - 65% of girls said their lifestyle was "healthy enough for my age." For most girls, being healthy has more to do with appearing "normal" and feeling accepted than maintaining good diet and exercise habits.

  2. Emotional Health Is Central - One in four girls (26%) has some dissatisfaction with her weight compared with 19% of boys. Most girls view emotional health and physical health as equally important.

  3. Tension Between Health Awareness and Behaviors - 60% of teenage girls skip breakfast at least once a week and nearly 20% skip it every day. Although girls demonstrate basic knowledge about healthy foods and eating behaviors, they often do not put this knowledge into practice, and it is "normal" for many girls to make poor choices with respect to diet and exercise.

  4. The Influential Role of Mothers - Eighty-nine percent of girls report that their mothers make positive comments about how they look. Mothers were the most frequently cited source of information on healthy living and they clearly function as role models for their daughters.

So what does this all mean? "Do as I say, not as I do" just doesn't cut it when it comes to healthy living. Our girls are watching and for as much as they are influenced by their peers, this is one area where we can make a meaningful difference in their lives. Make your New Year's Resolution to help your girl gain the knowledge and life skills to lead a healthy life.

Need help? Girl Scouts offers more than 60 age-level awards combing physical fitness with good nutrition and a healthy body image to help girls attain an overall healthy lifestyle. Interested in reading more about what girls are saying - visit the Girl Scout Research Institute.

Emily Smith

Chief Marketing & Development Officer

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