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New Moves—Preventing Weight-Related Problems in Adolescent Girls

A Group-Randomized Study

      Background

      Weight-related problems are prevalent in adolescent girls.

      Purpose

      To evaluate New Moves, a school-based program aimed at preventing weight-related problems in adolescent girls.

      Design

      School-based group-randomized controlled design.

      Setting/participants

      356 girls (mean age=15.8±1.2 years) from six intervention and six control high schools. More than 75% of the girls were racial/ethnic minorities and 46% were overweight or obese. Data were collected in 2007–2009 and analyzed in 2009–2010.

      Intervention

      An all-girls physical education class, supplemented with nutrition and self-empowerment components, individual sessions using motivational interviewing, lunch meetings, and parent outreach.

      Main outcome measures

      Percentage body fat, BMI, physical activity, sedentary activity, dietary intake, eating patterns, unhealthy weight control behaviors, and body/self-image.

      Results

      New Moves did not lead to significant changes in the girls' percentage body fat or BMI but improvements were seen for sedentary activity, eating patterns, unhealthy weight control behaviors, and body/self-image. For example, in comparison to control girls, at 9-month follow-up, intervention girls decreased their sedentary behaviors by approximately one 30-minute block a day (p=0.050); girls increased their portion control behaviors (p=0.014); the percentage of girls using unhealthy weight control behaviors decreased by 13.7% (p=0.021); and improvements were seen in body image (p=0.045) and self-worth (p=0.031). Additionally, intervention girls reported more support by friends, teachers, and families for healthy eating and physical activity.

      Conclusions

      New Moves provides a model for addressing the broad spectrum of weight-related problems among adolescent girls. Further work is needed to enhance the effectiveness of interventions to improve weight status of youth.
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