Study shows Girls on the Run transforms young girls’ lives

A recent independent study provides evidence that Girls on the Run is highly effective at driving transformative and lasting change in the lives of third-sixth grade girls.

The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities.

“Girls on the Run participants scored higher in managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others and making intentional decisions than participants in organized sport or physical education,” said Maureen R. Weiss, Ph.D, an expert on youth development, who conducted the study. “Being able to generalize skills learned in the program to other situations such as at school or at home is a distinguishing feature of Girls on the Run compared to traditional youth sports and school physical education, and suggests that the intentional life skills curriculum and coach-training program can serve as exemplars for other youth programs.”

Key study results include:

  • 97 percent of girls said they learned critical life skills at Girls on the Run that they are using at home, at school and with their friends
  • Seven out of 10 girls who improved from pre-season to post-season sustained improvements in competence, confidence, connection, character, caring or physical activity beyond the season’s end.
  • Participants in Girls on the Run were significantly more likely than girls in physical education or organized sports programs to learn and use life skills, including managing emotions, resolving conflict, helping others and making intentional decisions.
  • Girls who were the least active before Girls on the Run increased their physical activity level by 40 percent from pre-season to post-season and maintained this increased level beyond the program’s end.

Girls on the Run of Eastern Iowa’s fall season begins the week of Sept. 4. Program registration is now open. For more information about fall registration for Girls on the Run and a list of participating schools, visit