Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia & George Mason University Research Shows Efficacy of Girls on the Run Program
Independent research verifies significant positive effects
FAIRFAX, Va., April 19, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia announced the results of a research study examining the participation effects of the Girls on the Run program. The research was conducted during the spring 2011 season by George Mason University faculty.
The study surveyed 2,732 3rd through 6th grade girls at schools across Northern Virginia and was designed to assess participation outcomes for psycho-social factors. Pre- and post-season surveys were administered to assess self-esteem, commitment to physical activity, social support for physical activity, body size dissatisfaction, and exercise and sport behavior. The research findings indicated that participation in the 10 week GOTR program had the following statistically significant results:
- Increase in self-esteem
- Increase in physical activity (exercise and sport)
- Increase in social support for physical activity (family and friends)
- Decrease in body size dissatisfaction
These findings were consistent across income levels, race/ethnicities, and number of seasons participating in Girls on the Run. The overall increase in social support for physical activity also showed the impact of this program on the broader community. Families, friends and community members changed their exercise attitudes and behaviors as a result.
“This research presented a unique opportunity to study a popular girls’ fitness phenomenon,” said Dr. Cindy Waddell, Assistant Professor, Sport Psychology, George Mason University. She added, “The study’s significant sample size added validity to the research findings. Based on the results, participation in the Girls on the Run program has measurable and positive effects on the girls who participate, as well as their friends and families.”
“The study confirms what we had known anecdotally for some time – that Girls on the Run is a program that works,” said Catherine Keightley, Executive Director of Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia. “We recognize the importance of program validation, and will utilize this data as we continue to deliver programs that positively impact the health and well-being of the girls of Northern Virginia, their families, and the broader community.”
Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia and George Mason University announced the results of the research study at the April 19, 2012 Let’s Move the Needle on Childhood Obesity conference, co-sponsored by INOVA Health System and the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia.
About Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia
Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia is the largest Council of Girls on the Run International, and was founded in 2001. Throughout the past 11 years, thousands of volunteers have helped to empower over 30,000 girls with the confidence and character they need to become healthy, strong women. Today, Girls on the Run of NOVA serves over 7,500 girls annually at more than 200 schools in eight Northern Virginia counties and independent cities (Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Prince William Counties and the Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Manassas, and Manassas Park).
The organization’s goal is to engage the entire community to positively impact the health and well-being of the girls of Northern Virginia, and the coaches who serve them. For more information on Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia visit www.gotrnova.org.
About George Mason University
Consistent with the broader mission and philosophy of George Mason University and the College of Education and Human Development, the School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism (RHT) is dedicated to providing rewarding learning experiences, conducting and disseminating exemplary scholarship, and preparing professionals committed to service. The School of RHT prepares scholars and practitioners through the interrelated academic disciplines of sport management, athletic training, kinesiology, health promotion, parks and outdoor recreation, therapeutic recreation, physical education and tourism and events management to enhance individual health and social well-being.
SOURCE Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia