Skip to main content


Table 2 Summary of charting process (Stage 4)

From: Understanding gender norms, nutrition, and physical activity in adolescent girls: a scoping review

Authors year; Country Objective/Aim Population Design, Methodology Key points
Azzarito L, Solmon MA, Harrison L. 2006; UK To explore gender roles in PA with postructuralism, investigating how girls negotiate gender relations in PE classes. High school PE class: teacher and 15 girls, diverse population Discourse analysis and feminist poststructuralism; Interviews with teacher and girls, field notes, observation. Evidence supporting complexity of gender barriers; Girls need support in negotiating stereotypes.
Barr-Anderson DJ, Neumark-Sztainer D, Schmitz KH, et al. 2008; USA To use a socioecological framework in examining factors influencing PE enjoyment. 6th grade girls (n = 1511), diverse population Part of the Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) to promote girls’ PA; Survey (self-efficacy, perceived benefits of PA), BMI, PA. PE enjoyment high; Found inverse relationship between BMI and PE enjoyment; Teacher influence associated with PE enjoyment.
Brooks F, Magnusson J2007; UK To explore how active adolescent women experience leisure PA, and their perceptions of the relationship between PA and health. Adolescents aged 14–16 (n = 42), including 6 males Part of larger study of youth PA in UK health centers; 7 focus groups (2 all girl, 5 mixed gender). Girls expressed enjoyment of leisure PA but disliked competitiveness of sports; Found PA can be empowering experience, perceived positively for health and wellbeing.
Clark MI, Spence JC, Holt NL 2011; Canada To understand how adolescent girls experience PA in their daily lives. Girls in 6th grade (n = 8), from 1 school in Western Canada Interpretive description. Two interviews; pre-interview activities including creating collages or drawings. Found girls have complex relationships with PA. Recommended interventions consider creating spaces where girls feel empowered to negotiate experiences.
Cockburn C, Clarke G 2002; UK To explore the aspects of young girls' lives that influence involvement in sport and PE and identity formation. Girls in 9th grade (n = 6); unspecified ethnicity Reflexive interpretation and biographical analysis; in-depth semi-structured interviews. Girls PA can be interpreted as resistance to dominant forces. Found girls felt need to compensate for deviation, creating ‘femininity deficit'.
Coller TG, Neumark-Sztainer D. 1999; USA To develop, implement, and evaluate an after-school program to prevent weight occupation and dieting. Girls ages 10–12 (n = 22); unspecified ethnicity Intervention in Girl Scout program to address attitudes toward eating, PA, body image, and weight control; Surveys. Found minimal change in attitudes and behaviors; Concluded intervention needed better focus and that future programs should explore influence of media.
Derenne JL, Beresin EV2006; USA To explore and explain the historical context of eating disorders in relation to body image and the media. N/A: Commentary Commentary Explained female ideals change over time but have been unrealistic, associated with fertility, femininity; Current media sends mixed messages about what is attractive; impacts health.
DeRose LF, Das M, Millman SR 2000; USA To conduct a review exploring how gender bias affects food distribution. N/A: Literature review Literature Review Indicates women are not at a disadvantage in food allocation; Suggest results difficult to interpret.
Dunkley TL, Wertheim EH, Paxton SJ 2001; Australia To test relationships and mechanisms of sociocultural variables in exploring role of media, parents, peers on body image and dietary restraint. Girls in 10th grade (n = 577) from 6 schools. Surveys/ scales (pressures from parents, peers, media, body image, and dietary restriction). Only 15% said they never watched their weight, 30% said they always did. Combined influence of media, parents, and peers was greatest on body dissatisfaction and dietary restraint. Best predictor of body dissatisfaction was larger body size.
Eisenberg ME, Neumark-Sztainer D, Story M, Perry C 2005; USA To examine relationship between two social factors (girls trying to lose weight and perceptions of friends dieting), and unhealthy weight control behaviors. Junior and senior high school girls from 29 schools (n = 2337), from ethnically diverse community. Part of Project EAT (Eating Among Teens); Survey (dieting norms), BMI. Found social norms from peer group and at school level may influence UWCBs, particularly for average weight girls.
Evans B 2006; UK To compare experiences of girls-only PE to mixed gender PE, using theory of corporeal femininities and inhibited intentionality. Female adolescents aged 13–16, 90% white. Draws on data from qualitative and quantitative research with adolescents in UK. Noted pressure to be both feminine and good at sport; Suggest providing choice and promoting enjoyment, as well as education about resisting pressure to conform to ideals.
Ferrar KE, Olds TS, Walters JL 2011; Australia To explore gender-specific time use patterns in adolescents. Australians aged 9–16 (n = 2200); unspecified ethnicity. Data from National Children's Nutrition and Physical Activity Survey; Analysis of 24-hour time use recalls (n = 8800). Found boys spent more time in PA, girls spent more time socializing and studying; Suggest gender differences reinforce stereotypes.
Flintoff A, Scraton S.2001; UK To explore young women’s perceptions of and attitudes toward PA and PE. Girls age 15 (n = 21) from 4 schools in multi-ethnic community. Draws on data from a study of young people's lifestyles using feminist theory. Group and individual interviews. Found girls identified positively with PA, but disliked how PA structured. Noted support from peers/ teachers important and need for review of PE delivery.
Guendouzi J 2004; USA To examine extracts from women's conversations, exploring social pressure to conform to acceptable body size. Women teachers and teenage girls. Discourse analysis and discursive psychology. Audio taped conversation by teachers during breaks, and teenage girls at weekly gatherings. Noted women have complex relationship with their bodies, and both help create and reproduce thin ideals.
Heywood 2003; USA Book chapter about author’s own female teen experiences with PA. N/A: Book chapter N/A: Book chapter Notes attaining ideals is impossible, and how knowing and understanding this is important. States need for societal redefinition of gender roles.
Holman MJ, Johnson J, Lucier M-K 2013; Canada To explore link between body-based harassment and girls' adoption of healthy choices (eating habits and PA). Girls and boys ages 12–14 (n = 92); Primarily white. Discourse analysis; Focus groups presenting scenarios representing body-based harassment. Found body-based harassment contributes to body image and relates to PA and nutrition. Noted boys took scenarios less seriously than girls: trivializing.
Klomsten AT, Marsh HW, Skaalvik EM 2005; Norway To examine boys' and girls' perceptions of feminine/ masculine characteristics within sport and PE. High school students (n = 357), unspecified ethnicity. School-based questionnaires/scales (appearance, masculine and feminine traits). Found boys and girls appear stereotyped in sport, in regard to masculine and feminine values.
Larkin J, Rice C 2005; Canada To determine the extent to which curricula reflect body image concerns and make recommendations accordingly. Girls in 7th-8th (n = 45) from 4 schools; diverse population. Discourse analysis of Ontario health curricula; Workshops; Interviews. Noted limitations of curricula: sending contradictory messages, not addressing school environment. Found body-based harassment played major role in constructing girls' bodies as problematic.
Lopez V, Corona R, Halfond R 2013; USA To examine relationship between media influences, disordered eating, appearance concerns, and gender role orientation. Adolescents (n = 96) with mean age 15.4, 58% female, in Latino community. Survey (demographics, BMI, hating habits, appearance, culture, media, gender roles). Found disordered eating associated with BMI, sociocultural values, and body ideals; Media influences associated with gender role orientation.
Mooney E, Farley H, Strugnell C 2009; Ireland To investigate body image satisfaction and dieting in adolescent females. Female adolescents age 15–16 (n = 124); unspecified ethnicity. Qualitative semi-structured focus groups. Found participants vulnerable to cultural demands, pressures of thinness, an body dissatisfaction.
Pesa JA, Syre TR, Jones E 2000; USA To determine whether overweight female adolescents differ from normal weight peers in psychosocial factors while adjusting for body image. Female adolescents in 7th-12th grades (n = 3197). Part of National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Scale (depression, self-esteem, connectedness, etc.); Self-reported BMI. Found, after controlling for body image, depression not a facet in differentiating overweight adolescent girls from peers. Noted relationship between low self-esteem and being overweight.
Richman EL, Shaffer DR 2000; USA To explore relationship between female adolescents' precollege sport participation and college self-esteem. Undergraduate students, (n = 220), mean age 19; 85% White. Questionnaire (sport participation, social acceptance, academics, physical competence, body image, gender role, self-esteem). Found early sport participation has positive impact on self esteem and body image, Noted sports promote self worth and foster flexible attitudes toward gender identity.
Robbins LB, Pender NJ, Kazanis AS 2003; USA To identify barriers to PA reported by middle school girls. Girls (n = 77) ages 11–14; diverse population. Questionnaire based on trans-theoretical model (PA barriers). Noted barriers with highest scores: Self-conscious, not motivated, lacking peers to take part with, too busy, bad day/tired, weather, etc.
Slater A, Tiggemann M 2010; Australia To explore girls' reasons for ceasing participation in PA. 49 Girls in 8th-9th grades (n = 49), primarily White. Focus groups. Found that PA not being 'cool' or feminine was perceived as a major barrier for girls’ participation.
Vu MB, Murrie D, Gonzalez V, Jobe JB 2006; USA To explore similarities and differences in girls' and boys' perceptions of girls' PA. Girls (n = 180) and boys (n = 77) from 7th-8th grades, diverse population. Part of TAAG intervention study; Focus groups separately with girls and boys, semi-structured interviews with girls only. Found social influences important, and supportive environments required to support girls in PA.
Wetton AR, Radley R, Jones AR, Pearce MS 2013; UK To understand reasons for girls not participating in extracurricular PA by exploring barriers. Girls from 2 high schools (n = 60), ages 15–16, unspecified ethnicity. Explorative mixed methodology. Questionnaire (availability of PA/ barriers); Individual semi-structured interviews. Noted girls perceived lack of ability to engage in PA; 70% felt girls teams weren't treated equally by teachers. Participants perceived stereotypes in gender roles.
Whitehead S, Biddle S 2008; UK To comprehensively explore adolescents girls and PA. Girls ages 14–16 (n = 46); predominately white Focus groups. Found notions of femininity and achieving feminine ideals important; Suggested activity should be fun, informal, unstructured.
Witmer L, Bocarro JN, Henderson K 2011; USA To explore adolescent girls' attitudes toward PA, eating, and health. Girls (n = 28) in 6th-8th grades; diverse population. Grounded theory approach; focus groups. Found behavior and environment interrelated, adolescents strongly influenced by social norms and peers; Noted perceptions of gender appropriate behavior and fewer opportunities for girls.