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Teen girls make better health choices with intervention program

Trenton, NJ- Trenton, NJ - Teens around the world are becoming more overweight. Findings from a Rutgers University research study indicate a health intervention can help curb this disturbing health trend. The intervention - TEEN ESTEEM - is a health and fitness program for adolescent girls attending Trenton Central High School (TCHS), an inner-city school with a mostly African American and Latino population. For two consecutive years, researchers have been examining the effect of an innovative physical fitness and nutrition program on measures of cardiovascular fitness and self-esteem and found the students are making better health choices. Many of those at highest risk successfully lowered their BMI scores. Lipid levels analyzed in year two demonstrated participants' Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) levels - the unhealthy cholesterol - decreased significantly.

"Focusing our attention on vulnerable teen girls with even moderate increases in weight is critically important since studies show this is a population at risk," said Kathleen Ashton, PhD, APRN, principal investigator, referring to results from the Nurses' Health Study II recently released by the Harvard School of Public Health that found an increased risk of mortality in younger and middle-aged women who were overweight at age 18 (Annals Internal Med 2006; 145:91-7). "Our study adds to what is known about the eating and exercise habits of teen girls and demonstrates how school systems can impact adolescent overweight and reduce risk factors for disease," stated Dr. Ashton. Dr. Ashton is a clinical associate professor of Nursing at Rutgers University in Camden.

Ashton and her colleagues hypothesized that subjects in the experimental group who completed the Teen Esteem program would demonstrate greater levels of self-esteem, as measured by the Multidimensional Self Concept Scale (MSCS), improved scores on the nutrition and physical activity subscales of the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Surve
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Contact: Bonnie Arkus
Bonnie@womensheart.org
609-771-9600
Womens Heart Foundation
14-Nov-2006


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