Some Startling Statistics
90% of all women 15-64 worldwide want to change at least one aspect of
their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest.
67% of all women 15 to 64 withdraw from life-engaging activities due to
feeling badly about their looks (among them, giving an opinion, going to
school, going to the doctor).
Dove Campaign for Real Beauty, Dove global study to explore self-esteem and
the impact of beauty ideals on both women's and girls' lives (2005)
44.9% of high school girls think that they are overweight, and 62.3% of
high school girls are currently trying to lose weight.
34.5% of girls in ninth through twelfth grade have felt sad or hopeless
almost every day for at least 2 weeks.
One of every three girls has engaged in sex by age 16, and two out of three
have by age 18.
Many girls ages 11–17 say they do not play sports because they do not
feel skilled or competent (40%) or because they do not think their bodies
look good (23%).
The Girl Scout Research Institute, The New Normal? What Girls Say About
Healthy Living (2006)
The Good News
Tamara Kreinin, president of the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States, says teen girls are "getting more positive messages about self-esteem and looking after their own bodies."
“Girls are starting to watch programs that empower them, that say, ‘Hey, it’s OK to be free to respect your body, to respect yourself,’ and I think they’re also becoming more aware that not everyone is having sex,” says Sharina Prince, a health educator.
Teen pregnancy rates dropped 17% from 2000 to 2006. Teens 15 to 17 who have had intercourse dropped from 54.1% in 2001 to 48.4% in 2007.
The more physically active girls are, the greater their self-esteem and the more satisfied they are with their weight, regardless of how much they weigh.
Eighty-three percent of very active girls say that physical activity makes them feel good about themselves.
Experts say that parents can play a key role in helping their teens make positive health decisions by giving them two powerful weapons: self confidence and knowledge.
The Girl Scout Research Institute, The New Normal? What Girls Say About Healthy Living (2006)