London: About half of all girls in Britain's secondary schools might be avoiding sports and exercise due to embarrassment or pain in their breasts, reveals a new research.
The study also found that very few girls knew what sort of bra to wear, whether their bra was a good fit and how to avoid breast pain while exercising, the researchers said.
"Puberty is undoubtedly a difficult time for children of both sexes, but more girls than boys drop out of sport around this age. Even for those who overcome their physical embarrassment or awkwardness, the bra marketplace can be overwhelming and confusing," said Joanna Scurr, Professor at University of Portsmouth.
It has been estimated that 90 percent of 14-year-old girls in Britain do not do enough exercise to meet the government's exercise guidelines.
Those with larger breasts are more likely to opt out of sports and exercise than those with smaller breasts, the findings revealed.
Use of appropriate sports bra reduces breast pain for most women, regardless of breast size, the research, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, showed.
More than 2,000 schoolgirls, aged 11 to 17 years, took part in the study.
Nearly 87 percent of schoolgirls wanted to know more about breast health and support.
Three-quarters of the girls surveyed had at least one concern about their breasts, including embarrassment, breast bounce during exercise and breast pain. Their concerns peaked at the age of 14.
More than half the girls said they never wore a sports bra, and nearly all of them wanted to know more about breast health and breast support.