Effects of Title IX and girls' sports participation on adolescent body mass index

Children and adolescents are more physically active than adults, but participation in physical activity declines in adolescence. School-based physical education and sports programs are increasingly seen as holding the key both to helping children and adolescents establish lifelong, healthy physical activity patterns and to preventing childhood and adolescent obesity. But, while there is a widespread belief that school-based, physical activity programs will have a beneficial effect on children's health, particularly obesity, there is little direct evidence to support this claim. Title IX arguably has been the most important school-based intervention to increase youth physical activity in the U.S. Thus, assessing the effects of this program on childhood obesity can provide valuable evidence for policy makers who are interested in addressing the obesity problem through the expansion of school-based programs at a time when physical education requirements are declining generally, and when efforts to enforce Title IX at the elementary, middle, and secondary schools levels are waning. The purpose of this project is to examine for the first time the effect of the increase in girls' participation in high school sports caused by Title IX on recreational (e.g., sports, hiking, dancing) and nonrecreational physical activity, obesity (objectively measured body mass and skin fold), and health status, as measured by medical examinations of blood pressure and bone density, and self-reported activity limitations. The project will take advantage of a "natural experiment" to address the Foundation's goal to build the evidence base for policy action to halt the rise in childhood obesity and has immediate policy relevance. Deliverables include a peer-reviewed publication and other dissemination products deemed appropriate as part of the Foundation's communications strategy.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $49,896.00

Awarded on: 9/26/2005

Time frame: 10/1/2005 - 9/30/2006

Grant Number: 53731


University of Illinois at Chicago Institute of Government and Public Affairs

815 West Van Buren, Suite 525
MC 191
Chicago, 60607-3525


Robert J. Kaestner
Project Director