Maitland fathers are encouraged to take part in a world-first lifestyle program to enhance the physical and social-emotional well-being of young girls.
University of Newcastle researchers launched the Dads And Daughters Exercising and Empowered program, which aims to engage fathers to help instil primary school-aged girls with the skills needed for a happy and healthy life.
Research shows that more than 80 per cent of girls fail to meet physical activity recommendations and fewer than 10 per cent can adequately perform fundamental movement skills such as kicking and throwing.
Those results were significantly worse than for boys of the same age.
The program will start during the first school term of 2015.
“Research has consistently demonstrated the unique and powerful influence dads can wield in shaping physical activity behaviours, learning ability, self-esteem, social skills and resilience, particularly for girls,” Professor Phil Morgan, from the university’s research centre for physical activity and nutrition, said.
As part of the eight-week program, fathers and daughters will attend sessions involving a range of physical activities and challenges designed to improve the fitness, confidence and physical competence of the girls.
“Research shows that girls are marginalised in home and school physical activity contexts,” Professor Morgan said.
“Importantly, we also know that the father-daughter relationship is associated with significant psycho-social developmental and health outcomes.
“Physical activity provides a unique domain to foster this relationship.”
The DADEE trial will initially recruit 50 families from the Hunter region.
To register, visit DADEE@newcastle.edu.au or phone 4921 6566.