179988 Teen health spa: Crossing the border into the adolescent's world with innovative strategies to promote health behavior change

Wednesday, October 29, 2008: 11:30 AM

Lydia Guzman, MPH, RD , San Mateo County Health Department, San Mateo, CA
Yvette Rivas Bedrosian, MS, RD , San Mateo County Health Department, San Mateo, CA
Lauren Der , Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
Background: Most teens know the benefits of eating well and exercise, yet they are notorious for their poor eating habits and are not easily motivated to change.

Objective: To cross over into the adolescent girl's world, where appearance and peer acceptance are of utmost importance, with innovative strategies to promote behavior change.

Method: The Teen Health Spa is a six hour interactive nutrition and physical activity program designed to educate teen girls by focusing on what is important to them: physical appearance and peer acceptance. Each “spa” activity is interwoven with a health message addressing their immediate concerns of skin care, weight-gain and stress. For example, while relaxing with homemade cucumber masks, the girls discuss how the vitamins in fruits and vegetables benefit their skin. The girls engage in stretch-band exercises and discuss how to maintain a healthy weight. To demonstrate the impact of unhealthy foods, the girls measure out the amount of sugar and fat contained in their favorite junk foods. By the end of the program, each girls leaves with an "Individual Action Plan" outlining her personal goals and strategies for improving eating habits and exercise.

Results: Preliminary results reveal that 85% of the teens reported making at least one positive behavior change one month after attending the program. They were drinking more water and less soda, and their fruit and vegetable intake had increased. This suggests that this innovative method of addressing their immediate concerns pertaining to nutrition and physical activity can promote health behavior change.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, participants will be able to: 1. List two factors that inspire and motivate behavior change in adolescent girls. 2. Replicate at least two activities that result in behavior change in adolescent girls.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the program after working with adolescent girls for over ten years. I am a registered dietitian and have a masters in public health education. I have worked in program development for over thirty years.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.