Online Program

African American teen health spa: An obesity prevention program for adolescent girls focusing on behavior change

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Lydia Guzman, MPH, RD, San Mateo County Health System, San Mateo, CA
African American adolescent girls are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome and depression because of obesity. These health issues are preventable by a healthy lifestyle. Research indicates that most adolescent are highly motivated to change by physical appearance and are more likely to make positive behavior changes with social/peer support.

Objective: To develop an obesity prevention program specifically for African American adolescent girls with the focus on the behavior change process.

Method: A 6-week obesity prevention program was designed to be ethnic specific to promote culture pride, self-esteem and address special concerns. The program highlights the connection between a healthy lifestyle and physical appearance to motivate and to capture the girls' interest. Nutrition and physical activity education is combined with spa-like activities such as: facials, scrubs, and hair and nail treatments made with fruits,vegetables and natural oils. Program includes food demos and movement to music. Participants create an individual action plan outlining their personal goals and strategies for change. Weekly, they make modifications to their plan, share ideas, and provide social support for each other during the behavior change process. Program concludes with teens advocating for a healthy lifestyle and sharing knowledge by conducting their version of a “Health Spa” for family and friends.

Results: Pre/post tests demonstrated increase in knowledge and most important participants reported an average of two healthy behavior changes.

Conclusion: This innovative program provides the motivation, knowledge, ethnic pride and social support needed to promote healthy behavior change in adolescent girls.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the impact of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome on physical appearance Identify three key factors that promote healthy behavior change in adolescent girls Design an obesity prevention program for African American adolescent girls

Keyword(s): African American, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I developed the Teen Health Spa concept and have been conducting the program for ten years in low income communities with great success. I have also conducted train the trainer workshops to share the program with other communities. Curriculum has also been modified for various ethnic groups. I'm a health educator and a registered dietitian with many years of experience working with diverse populations.
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.

Back to: 4376.0: Obesity Prevention Programs