This report is a comprehensive compendium of research that points to physical activity and sport as fundamental solutions for many of the serious health and social problems faced by American girls. An appreciable mass of evidence-based knowledge about girls' involvement with sport and physical activity has been generated during the last decade. The amount and quality of this research are uneven and varied. For example, a good deal of research examines the associations between physical activity and risk for coronary heart disease, but studies that focus on risk for Alzheimer's disease are just beginning to issue. Researchers have verified links between high school athletic participation and teen pregnancy prevention, although more longitudinal research is needed to thoroughly confirm the connections. Overall, however, this report shows that the current state of knowledge on the relationship of physical activity to the health and social needs of American girls warrants the serious attention of public health officials, educators and sport leaders.
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