A 2016 independent study conducted by University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Institute to Promote Athlete Health and Wellness finds Let Me Run is making a substantial positive impact in boys’ lives. A review of the professional literature revealed UNCG’s groundbreaking study to be the first published to examine healthy masculinity in boys, as well as a program’s ability to improve it.
Let Me Run seeks to break down negative societal pressures that require males to mask their authentic selves behind a performance of masculinity, in which the most praised emotions are anger, aggression and pride. Phrases like “man up,” “boys don’t cry” and “stop being a girl” serve as catalysts for this type of destructive macho-masculinity. As described by Dr. William Pollack in his book Real Boys, these unhealthy male stereotypes, which Pollack refers to as the “Boy Code,” can stand in the way of boys’ positive futures and lead to disturbing consequences such as illness, decreased learning potential, addiction, and violence. These often unspoken issues lead ninety men in the U.S. to die of suicide every day, four of whom are boys under the age of 19.
1: Boys are 2 times more likely than girls to be expelled.
2: Boys are 30% more likely than girls to fail out of school.
3: Boys are 4 times more likely than girls to be prescribed a stimulant medication for a behavior disorder.
4: Depression in males is often masked by anger.
5: 4 or more U.S. boys die of suicide every day.
1 National Center for Education Statistics | 2 Scholastic.com | 3 U.S. National Library of Medicine | 4 American Psychological Association | 5 U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
UNCG’s study confirms that Let Me Run counteracts these unhealthy societal pressures in finding that Let Me Run:
Significantly improves boys’ attitudes & behaviors associated with healthy masculinity
Improves boys’ social competence
Increases the vigorous physical activity of boys
Reduces boys’ screen time on school days
states Let Me Run Founder Ashley Armistead. According to former Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, “loneliness is associated with increased risk of premature death, and the effect on mortality is comparable to [the] impact of smoking or obesity.” Armistead says, “Let Me Run gives boys permission to be compassionate, confident human beings with a full set of emotions. UNCG’s study backs our belief that through running and healthy communication, we can challenge society’s limiting Boy Code and inspire boys to live into their full, unique potential.”