180626 Teen health spa newsletter crosses the border into the adolescent's world: Addressing the nutritional concerns of teens

Monday, October 27, 2008

Lydia Guzman, MPH, RD , San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
Sufia S. Mahmood , San Mateo County Health Department, San Mateo, CA
Sabrina Boyce, BA , Human Biology Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
As evidenced by teen magazine popularity, female teens are thirsty for advice on how to look and feel better. The San Mateo Department of Public Health Nutrition crosses the borders of teen culture and values to reach teens with innovative nutrition interventions.

Method: A bi-monthly newsletter, The Teen Health Spa Newsletter, was created to encourage and reinforce positive health behavior in adolescent girls who had attended a previous nutrition intervention, the "Teen Health Spa". Each issue contains nutrition and physical activity information as it relates to teens' immediate concerns of weight, skin, stress, and peer acceptance. Each issue is edited by teens, making its format appealing and the information relevant to its audience.

Results: To measure the newsletter's ability to educate and motivate health behavior change in adolescent girls, the teen girls were called to complete an oral survey after receiving each issue of the newsletters. The girls were asked if the newsletter motivated them to change their behavior and what new information they had found helpful and interesting. Preliminary evaluations indicate that more than 60% of the participants made and sustained at least one behavior change in response to the newsletters. The newsletters not only reinforced the lessons from the original nutrition intervention, but also provided strategies and on going support that resulted in both initiating and maintaining positive behavior changes.

Learning Objectives:
By the end of the session, participants will be able to: 1. Develop a teen specific nutrition education newsletter that has been shown to promote positive behavior change. 2. List five factors that motivate teens to make dietary changes.

Keywords: Adolescent Health, Communication

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been producing the teen newsletter for almost ten years. Master degree in health education and I'm also a registered dietitian. I have been in the field of public health for 35 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.