FEWER women and girls in Yorkshire do physical exercise than anywhere else in England.

And the problem is getting worse according to experts.

New figures paint a gloomy picture for women's sport in Yorkshire, but experts at Sheffield Hallam University have been working with the Women's Sports Foundation to find ways to halt the decline.

They have studied several fitness projects, including one in Huddersfield.

Pam Hoyle, head of Women's Sports Foundation Yorkshire, said: "I believe that the already low number of females in the region participating in physical activity is worsening, and something must be done now to put a stop to it.

"Worrying research indicates that women are now twice as likely as men to be obese. Sport is not only a fantastic way to get fit, it brings with it lots of social and personal benefits and we need to make sure sports providers in the region are doing everything possible to appeal to women and girls."

Over the last six months the team has studied five different sports projects in Yorkshire which are bucking the trend, in a bid to pinpoint the secret to success.

The projects examined were: The Women and Girls Group (Halifax); Getaway Girls (Leeds); Girls Central Venue League Basketball (South Yorkshire); Sitara Project (Huddersfield); and Rugby League Coaching (across Yorkshire).

The Sitara Project in Huddersfield is a programme staffed by women for women which includes exercise classes, lane swimming and swimming lessons, aquafit, weight training, circuit training and sauna.

Its members are mainly South Asian women, although the project is open to all. It started in 1997 and now attracts up to 300 women to its four sessions each week.

The findings from the projects will be revealed in a programme of seminars being held in Yorkshire and the Humber this month.

Ring Andrew Sykes on 0114 225 5755.