As a supporter of the Girls on the Run mission and its transformative impact on the lives of girls, we are honored to share a recent report about the link between physical and mental health among children and adolescents from Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Public Health Service. In it, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy acknowledged Girls on the Run as an example of a program that increased participants’ overall physical activity and helped them learn critical life skills, including resolving conflict, helping others, or making intentional decisions.
In Physical Activity: An Untapped Resource to Address Our Nation’s Mental Health Crisis Among Children and Adolescents, Dr. Murthy writes:
“Many young people—especially those from underserved populations, such as girls, young people with a disability, racial or ethnic minority groups, young people living in rural areas, or young people from lower socioeconomic households—do not have the same access to sports as their peers.16 Programs can focus on removing barriers by providing free or low-cost programs or equipment and locating programs in easily accessible areas, such as schools, to help increase opportunities for all young people. For example, Girls on the Run is a physical activity–based positive program for girls in grades 3-8. Participants meet after school twice a week to learn life skills through interactive lessons and running games. An independent study of Girls on the Run found that girls who were the least active when they started the program increased their overall physical activity by > 40%. Effects were sustained at a three-month follow-up. Furthermore, 97% of girls said that they learned critical life skills, including resolving conflict, helping others, or making intentional decisions, and 85% reported improvements in confidence, caring, competence, character development, or connection to others.”
- We know physical and mental health are intertwined.
- We know our lessons help participants understand this connection.
- We know our program makes a positive, long-lasting impact.
Now, we are incredibly proud that our nation’s top health official acknowledges our work at Girls on the Run in this report. We are deeply grateful for partners like you for your ongoing support which helped us receive this glowing recognition. Together, we are making a difference in the lives of the children we serve.
Read the full report here.