Girls on Track (GOTR/T) is a program focused on improving pre-teen (Girls on the Run) and young teen (Girls on Track) girls’ self-esteem and fostering a healthy lifestyle through running and all-inclusive development. The GOTR/T curriculum attempts to foster physical, psychological, and social well-being through education, team building, and physical activity. Participants in the present GOTR/T study (N = 111 girls, ages 8 to 13) completed the Behavioral and Emotional Screening System, Children’s Body Image Scale, Self-perception Profile for Children, and a measure of attitudes toward physical activity at the start of the program and at the conclusion. Guardians completed a consumer satisfaction survey. Self-perceptions of physical appearance and average size of ideal body image increased. Discrepancy between perceived real and ideal body image decreased. Guardian satisfaction with the program was high. Results suggest GOTR/T may help improve self-esteem in relation to physical appearance and body image. Improvements in other domains were not found, and the program did not improve behavioral and emotional functioning.
The authors are with the Psychology Department at Minnesota State University, Mankato.