TEENAGE girls will be offered advice on choosing the right bra in a pioneering scheme designed to prevent health problems in later life.
Experts from the University of Portsmouth will visit secondary schools in September to talk to girls about the importance of good support.
They will be taught how to measure themselves and why the right bra is important, especially when taking part in exercise.
The university’s Dr Joanna Scurr, an expert in ‘breast biomechanics’, said it was important to act early to help prevent problems such as breast and back pain.
Dr Scurr said: ‘We want to raise awareness of the benefits of wearing the right bra.
‘The damage that bad breast support can do is huge, both physically and emotionally.
‘We’re targeting girls between the ages of 12 to 16 to stop them dropping out of physical activity and to help prevent the risk of breast health problems.
‘We hope they’ll go home and tell their families and friends, and help break down the taboos.’
Dr Scurr has been researching breast health for six years, and says the main problem that stems from bad bras is breast pain which affects at least half of the female population.
This is caused by the tearing of the thin Cooper’s ligaments that, together with skin, provide natural support.
Tearing of the ligaments causes breasts to sag, which contributes to embarrassment.
And there is a fear that many girls may be opting out of sports and even seeking breast reduction surgery because they do not have the right support.
Back, neck and shoulder aches are common complaints as the weight of badly- supported breasts impacts on the body. In rare cases the pressure of a bra strap can damage nerves and cause paralysis in the arm.
Dr Scurr said: ‘The greatest drop-out rate for sports is among girls in secondary school.
‘But the right support can give them confidence and help them access a healthier lifestyle and frame of mind.
‘It will be a real breakthrough if we can make an impact. And if the scheme is a success, we’d like to be able to inform government policy in terms of the national curriculum.’
Dr Scurr will be on tonight’s episode of Channel 4’s Sex Education Show at 8pm.