Tuesday, September 23, 2008

All about weight awareness campaign

Even though this title, "all about weight" is very off putting, I think this Pennsylvannia campaign itself is actually promising. In conjunction with KidsPeace, a 126 year old private children's charity which helps kids overcoming various crises, and their web affiliate TeenCentral, their goal is to help children with the emotional roots of overeating or undereating, an often overlooked problem.

This campaign will reach 1000+ schools throughout PA and provide free access to TeenCentral.Net's websources, study and workshop guides, and TeenCentral's safe, anonymous online resource. Their online "all about weight" awareness campaign includes information on eating disorders, exercise, nutrition, genetics, body image & self-esteem, what's eating you?, and obesity & overweight.

I really like the fact that these experts are looking at not only the physical aspects of weight but also the emotional lives of teenagers. These days, it's hard being a teenager--trying to navigate issues of normal teenagedom as well as deal as with family, social, and environmental issues. I think this is a population that is often not given enough importance, so I'm really glad that there is a resource like this out there for them.

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I took a look through their website to see what it was all about. For the most part, I thought it was well done and age appropriate. There are several interactive gadgets to keep kids interested as well as good information on a number of topics. The new health "all about weight" module provides quizzes, graphics, and information arranged on a virtual scale. Their emphasis is, "sometimes it's not what you're eating, it's what's eating you!" My only qualm is that they do not address overexercising in the exercise portion.

I think the part I found most compelling was the "share a teen" story. This is where teens write in with a problem and receive advice from TeenCentral.Net's counselors. There were stories of dealing with divorce, relationships, sexuality, cutting, depression, eating disorders, and many more related to the angst of teenagehood. It's one of those nostalgic reminders of how much I hated being a teenager and couldn't wait until adulthood. Not that adulthood hasn't presented itself with it's own set of problems, but there is just more of an awareness now. It's where you wish you could tell any one of those teenagers to get help and to know that they can get through this difficult time period in their lives.

4 comments:

KC Elaine said...

this sounds great! it sounds v different from the majority of weight-focused school programs.

Deb said...

I'm not familiar with the program but will check out the links.

G.R.M. said...

I would love a program to help teens with their body issues. My little sister is 14 and already dieting and exercising because she feels like she is over weight. And i found out she only eats carrot sticks at lunch. It just saddens me, and I hope they get some programs into the schools to help teens like her asap!! Also, just wanted to say i watched the youtube video Doll Face- love love it! Hauntingly beautiful,and the perfect illustration of what I and thousands of others feel. Thank you for posting it!
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Tiptoe said...

Kyla, yes, this is what I liked about the new program.

Deb, it's new, but the hope is that other schools nationwide might implement something similar.

Grm, I'm sorry that your sister is struggling. Do your parents know? If not, it is something they need to know, so they can help her receive treatment. In the meantime, maybe you can direct her to some sites that would be helpful to her.