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Girls are not getting the physical activity they need, and it's not helping them live a healthy lifestyle.

This is according to the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Women in Sport and Physical Activity (CAAWS), who say that 41 per cent of girls ages three to 17 today do not participate in sport.

Andrea Katz, a co-founder of FIT Communications, says that this is a serious problem, one that could limit girls later on in life.

"The big thing is that girls aren't getting all the benefits of sport as kids," says Katz. "Meeting new friends, learning self-confidence, having a healthy lifestyle, learning how to win, learning how to lose, these are all things that we can learn from sport and take into our lives as adults.

Statistics show that one of the key problems with a lack of physical activity at a young age is that it is a habit likely to carry into adulthood.

"If girls haven't participated in sport by the age of 10, she has less than a 10 per cent chance of being physically active as an adult, and that's where the real concern happens," shares Katz. "If you're not physically active as an adult, there are so many issues that can happen."

These issues include disease, weight gain, mental health issues, and more.

An athlete herself growing up, and now a self-proclaimed "gym rat," Katz believes mental and physical health are two of the most important benefits of sport that anyone can receive.

"It's a great thing for your mental health. You can let out stress that way, it's fun, it gives you something positive to do... the physical piece, of course, is your heart health, your muscle and bone health.

"There are so many tremendous benefits that sport and physical activity can give to us on both [mental and physical] elements."

Katz stresses also the importance of getting girls involved in physical activity at an early age.

"It's not about everybody needing to be a professional athlete or an Olympic gold medalist," she explained, "but just being out there, having fun, being active, and enjoying sport and activity."

FITGirls, a branch from FITCommunications, stresses the opportunity for girls to get involved in physical activity that may not fall within the traditional boundaries of sport in addition to organized sport options.

"Kids need 60 minutes of physical activity every single day to be healthy," says Katz, "and they're not necessarily getting that."

Unique options such as kickboxing, synchronized swimming, and girls football are just some of the suggestions FITGirls provides to interest young girls in getting physically active.

For Katz, it's about giving girls the opportunity to learn important life skills, build confidence, and start building healthy life habits early on that they can continue to maintain well into their teen and adult years.

"I've found that I learned so much through sports. I attribute much of my self-confidence as an adult today to that. I also attribute a lot of my healthy lifestyle to that... it was just something natural that we did growing up as a family... it was something that was always part of our life, and now as an adult, it's a huge part of my life.

"Sport is more than just kicking around a soccer ball."

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