School of Health and Human Sciences


PAGWSPA has been a program within the Center for Women’s Health and Wellness since 2010.  PAGWSPA’s mission has been to advance sport and physical activity opportunities for all girls and women through evidence-based scholarship and community engagement, and through continuing educational opportunities for all professionals who work with girls and women in sport and physical activity settings.

In Spring 2023, we began the process to re-envision and re-invigorate PAGWSPA and we are very excited about the potential to impact lives of girls and women in our community through this program.

To follow is just a glimpse of the concerning data that motivates this program and our vision to “inspire girls and women to lead healthy, active lifestyles, and reach their full potential for mental and physical health and well-being”:

  • Cardiovascular disease, stroke, and diabetes are the 2nd, 4th, and 7thleading causes of death in North Carolina. This disease burden is strongly tied to physical inactivity and obesity;
  • PA is also strongly associated with mental health. There is a bi-directional relation between depression and physical activity, with low levels of physical activity reported in depressed individuals.  Only 7% of depressed adults are sufficiently active compared to almost 60% of non-depressed adults, and studies suggest that almost 80% of individuals with depression fail to meet physical activity guidelines.
  • We are particularly concerned with the adolescent female, where we see a significant decrease in physical activity with increasing age (41.9% of 6-11 year-olds and 15.3% of 12-17 year-olds report levels of moderate to vigorous physical activity that meet physical activity recommendations); and where high school females are 50% less likely than high school boys to participate in 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Females with disabilities or who are obese fall well below their peers in reported physical activity.
  • Significant socio- economic disparity exists in sport participation – 24% of children from low-income households compared to 43% from high-income households engage in regular sport activity.
  • The prevalence of meeting recommended screen time outside of school work (2 hours or less) has declined from 33% in 2015-16 to 20% in 2017-2018.

Data from Physical Activity Alliance 2022 Physical Activity Report Card for Children and Youth


How PAGWASPA Came to Be:

The National Association for Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) was a part of the former American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, & Dance (AAHPERD), now the Society of Health and Physical Educators. When AAHERPD experienced structural and leadership changes in 2010, the leaders of NAGWS sought an outside entity to preserve the NAGWS legacy.  In 2010, the Program for the Advancement for Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity (PAGWSPA) was established at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro in the Center for Women’s Health and Wellness (CWHW).


The Center for Women’s Health and Wellness would like to acknowledge and thank the re-envisioning team members that are assisting in re-invigorating PAGWSPA:

  • Babbi Lois Hawkins
  • Jessica Dollar
  • DeAnne Brooks
  • Emily Janke
  • Erin Reifsteck
  • Gayle Rose
  • Jody Smith
  • Judy Fowler
  • Kimberley Miller
  • Meredith Gringle
  • Michael Hemphill
  • Sam Goldenstein
  • Brianna White
  • Claire Newman
  • Madeleine Meinhold
  • Akaysia Delaney