New Jersey has lost a step since the Great Recession when it comes to the health and well-being of young girls.

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In "The State of Girls," a 2017 report from the Girl Scout Research Institute, New Jersey ranked 12th among the states for girls' well-being. The state ranked third in 2007.

Compared to a decade ago, a higher percentage of New Jersey girls are suffering from emotional, behavioral or developmental issues, the report states. Sixteen percent of girls aged 5 to 17 are living in poverty, compared to 11 percent in 2007.

According to the report, a larger percentage of girls in the 6 to 17 range watch TV or play video games at least three hours per day, while a smaller percentage are involved in community service or volunteer work, or participate in any organized activities.

"I think that has a huge impact on how the girls are feeling and their emotional well-being," Stacy Petti, director of recruitment for Girls Scouts of the Jersey Shore, told Townsquare Media.

A higher percentage of girls do not feel safe at school, compared to 2007, according to the report, which based its findings off of government data.

"As a mom of three teenage girls, it is pretty alarming because of course you always want your daughter to be better off than you are," Petti added. "I think it's really important that we look for ways to get our girls involved in their communities. I think that a feeling of connectedness, being a part of something, is one of the biggest factors in a girl's emotional well-being."

Over time, the report shows, eighth-grade math proficiency improved among girls. A smaller percentage of girls aged 10 to 17 are considered overweight or obese.

New Jersey performed better than the national average in several categories, including poverty, high school dropouts and preschool enrollment.

 

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