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St Mary's Academic Publishes Paper on Sport Participation Amongst School Girls

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St Mary's Academic Publishes Paper on Sport Participation Amongst School Girls

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Senior Lecturer in Health and Exercise Science at St Mary’s University, Twickenham Dr Nicola Brown has been published in the Journal of Adolescent Health on the impact that breasts have on sports participation amongst school girls. Undertaken as part of the Research Group in Breast Health based at the University of Portsmouth, the research is the first in the UK to examine the impact of breast on school girls taking part in sport or exercise. More than 2000 girls aged 11 to 17 took part in the research, which found that 75% of participants had at least one concern about their breasts, including embarrassment when getting changed for sport, breast bounce during exercise and breast pain. The study also found that very few girls knew what sort of bra to wear, whether their bra was a good fit or how to avoid breast pain while exercising. Dr Brown said, “It is surprising how few women are aware of which bra is right for them, and the importance of good breast support.” Prof Joanna Scurr, who leads the research group, said: “Previous studies of adult women have shown time and again that the same concerns are directly responsible for women no longer taking part in sport or exercise. “Puberty is undoubtedly a difficult time for children of both sexes, but more girls than boys drop out of sport around this age. Even for those who overcome their physical embarrassment or awkwardness, the bra marketplace can be overwhelming and confusing.” The research group is made up of researchers from three universities, St Mary’s, University of Portsmouth, and Chichester University. The group is internationally renowned for research on the biomechanics of the breast, and is responsible for more than half of all the scientific publications in the area. Research published by the group has shown that using the appropriate sports bra reduces breast pain for most women, regardless of breast size, and that many women are unaware that they are wearing a badly fitting bra or routinely purchase ill-fitting bras. Breasts change in size and shape throughout a woman’s life.

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