Media influence is one of the most powerful economic and cultural forces today. By deciding who gets to talk, what shapes the debate, who writes, and what is important enough to report, media shape our understanding of who we are and what we can be.

By nearly 3 to 1 margin, male front-page bylines at top newspapers outnumbered female bylines in coverage of the 2012 presidential election. Men were also far more likely to be quoted than women in newspapers, television and public radio. That’s also the case in coverage of abortion, birth control, Planned Parenthood and women’s rights. (The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2013 report)

In both legacy and online news, women are too often relegated to writing about the “pink topics” of food, family, furniture and fashion.

Talk radio and sports talk radio hosts are overwhelmingly male.

Mentoring—matching youth or “mentees” with responsible, caring “mentors,” usually adults—has been found to be an important support for youth as they transition to adulthood and the workforce (Timmons, Mack, Sims, Hare, & Wills, 2006).

Mentoring provides opportunities for youth to develop emotional bonds with mentors who have more life experience and can provide support, guidance, and opportunities to help them succeed in life and meet their goals (DuBois and Karcher, 2005).

75 percent of girls with low self-esteem reported engaging in negative activities like cutting, bullying, smoking, drinking, or disordered eating.

When students are physically active they perform better academically and have better attendance.

High school females were much more likely (51.7%) than their male counterparts (40%) to not attend physical education class one or more days in an average school week. (Centers for Disease Control, Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance—United States 2005)

Over 70 percent of girls age 15 to 17 avoid normal daily activities, such as attending school, when they feel bad about their looks.

Active kids earn up to 40% higher test scores and are 15% more likely to go to college.

Among high school students, 44 percent of girls are attempting to lose weight.

The more physically active girls are, the greater their self-esteem and the more satisfied they are with their weight, regardless of how much they weigh. Eighty-three percent of very active girls say that physical activity makes them feel good about themselves. (The Girl Scout Research Institute, The New Normal? What Girls Say About Healthy Living (2006)

For teen girls, being both physically active and a team sports participant is associated with a lower prevalence of sexual risk-taking behaviors.

In less than 2 generations, physical activity has dropped 32%.

33% of 6-17 year old kids are obese or overweight.

This generation of children is the heaviest in American history.

4 out of 5 African American women are overweight or obese. 23.8 percent of Black girls ages 12-19 are overweight.

52% of college students do not exercise at all.

Students gain an average of 10 pounds during their first two years at college.

1 in 4 college women have an eating disorder.

150 minutes of exercise per week, losing 10% of body weight, and a healthy diet can reduce risks of diabetes by 55%.

The financial implications of childhood obesity are sobering, at $14 billion per year in direct health care costs alone. Increased awareness and prevention of childhood obesity will save billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs and promote healthier lifestyles to improve and prolong the lives of the next generation of Americans. Protecting the health and wellbeing of American children for years to come is a critical endeavor. Adults must ensure that young people receive a healthy start in life.

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