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Reaction: Study finds that wearing a school uniform is associated with less physical activity, especially in girls

Dressing in school uniform is associated with less physical activity in children, especially primary school girls, according to a study by the University of Cambridge (UK) published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science. The study analysed data on the physical activity levels of more than one million children aged 5-17 in 135 countries, including Spain, combined with an online survey.

15/02/2024 - 01:01 CET
Expert reactions

Damián Iglesias - uniformes EN

Damián Iglesias Gallego

Professor of Physical Education in the Faculty of Teacher Training at the University of Extremadura

Science Media Centre Spain

Adding minutes of physical activity per day is synonymous with health and well-being. There is now a growing interest in the reasons for low levels of physical activity in children and young people. This study, conducted for the first time on a large scale (> 1 million participants; 5-17 years; 135 countries/regions), shows a link between school uniforms and lower physical activity time, especially among primary school girls.  

This research suggests that this type of clothing may be a limiting barrier to movement, reducing the chances of being more active. Wearing a school uniform could be affecting physical activity levels, both during the school day (break times, lunch) and outside the school day (travel to school, extra-curricular play time).  

Although cautious, as the results do not indicate cause and effect, these data invite debate on the relevance of wearing (or not) school uniforms, when analysing this type of clothing from a movement and health perspective.

The author has declared they have no conflicts of interest
Are school uniforms associated with gender inequalities in physical activity? A pooled analysis of population-level data from 135 countries/regions
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
Journal of Sport and Health Science
Publication date

Mairead Ryan et al.

Study types:
  • Research article
  • Peer reviewed
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