Although it’s limited to a survey about life and attitudes in the UK, the Active People Survey, said to be the most comprehensive research into sports participation, might well be reflected in the U.S.
In the last decade, more than 500,000 women in England have given up swimming, the survey reports today. That’s three times the number of men.
Why? Women are ashamed of their bodies, the Telegraph reports.
Nick Bitel, the chairman of Sport England, told The Telegraph: “We know that women are being put off sport by a fear of judgment, they are worried about being judged about how they look, how fit they are, and whether they are ignoring their caring responsibilities.”
Edward Lord, the chairman of the Amateur Swimming Association, also admitted he would “not be surprised” if that had been part of the problem.
The alarming fall in those swimming since Britain won the right to host the 2012 Olympics emerged two weeks after the launch of a campaign to address the fears of women who are put off doing sport.
Kick-started by a television advert which has been watched 12 million times on YouTube and Facebook, ‘This Girl Can’ celebrates women exercising “no matter how they do it, how they look or even how sweaty they get.”