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GET ACTIVE GIRLS: New statistics show that teenage girls are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles. Picture: Brigid Auchettl



Teenage girls may be choosing aesthetics over exercise according the over The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey 2014-15 results, which found almost 60 per cent of girls aged 15 to 17 did little to no exercise.

In a time of selfies and snapchat the pressure on teenage girls to always look pretty and put together has become so extreme that they are choosing not to exercise for fear of looking sweaty, unfiltered, or imperfect.

Warrnambool College physical education coordinator Tess Halloran said the alarming statistics came as no shock.

“I think the major contributing factor [to females not participating in physical education] is body image kids are really aware these days of what they look like when they’re participating and that really does affect them.”

These worrying statistics prompted the Victorian Governments new campaign targeting girls to get out and get active. The campaign highlights girls working together with the tagline “girls make your move” where young girls are encouraged to “sweat now…be sweet later”.

Gymnast 17 year-old Ella McCorkell said that though she never felt the pressure to look pretty at training she could understand why it may put off other girls from having a go.

“It’s sad to think that girls now care so much about how they look or how others see them that they don’t want to give sport a go,” she said.

“There is a lot of pressure on teenage girls now to look a certain way thanks to social media.”

Registered Practise Nurse Jennifer Mertens said young girls promoting health on social media had both pros and cons.

“I think social media is a double edged sword it is helpful in inspiring girls seeing others getting active and fit however it also it doesn’t help with unrealistic expectations and promoting negative body image,” Ms Mertens said.

“There is a lot of people promoting exercise and active lifestyles but they are doing it as a full time job and setting unrealistic expectations for young girls.”

It is these unrealistic expectations that are causing harmful effects to young girl’s mental and physical health. Only time will tell if the pressures from society and social media to look unfiltered are greater than young girl’s willpower to stay fit and healthy.


Words: 375


Interviewee contact details:

Tess Halloran:

Position: Warrnambool College Physical Education coordinator

Mobile: 0408 068 639

Email: halloran.tessa.m@edumail.vic.gov.au


Ella McCorkell:

Position: Athlete/Gymnast

Mobile: 0402 736 296


Jennifer Mertens

Position: Jamieson Medical Clinic Registered Practise Nurse

Phone: (03) 5562 6533

Email: jmertens@jsmc.com.au