Youth Program Helps Buck Unhealthy Trend

<b>Youth Program Helps Buck Unhealthy Trend</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Research shows that as American children age, they become less active — adolescents exercise less and eat more unhealthy foods than younger children. But one program is helping adolescents, especially girls, buck this trend.

Triple Play was created in 2005 by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), The Coca-Cola Company and Kraft Foods Inc., and endorsed by the Department of Health and Human Services. Findings show that girls taking part in Triple Play became significantly more active, increasing their daily physical activity by nearly seven minutes, while girls outside the program decreased by more than eight minutes — the weekly difference growing to nearly two hours more activity for girls participating in Triple Play.

The government recommends that children get 60 minutes of exercise a day. By the end of a two-year study, Triple Play youth increased their physical activity to 90 percent of the federally recommended amount, while peers outside the program decreased to 78 percent. “So many kids, especially girls, end up spending more time shopping or at the food court in the mall than working out in the gym,” said Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, 17, Triple Play’s Ambassador for Action. “So it’s encouraging to find programs like Triple Play that turn that trend around.”

Children involved in Triple Play also increased the number of fruits and vegetables in their diet by 10 percent, while the fruit and vegetable consumption of their peers dropped approximately 21 percent.

Triple Play is open to all Boys & Girls Club members ages 6-18. The program teaches children how to eat smart, keep fit and form positive relationships so they can learn to choose a wide variety of nutritious foods in appropriate portions, enjoy being active and improve their self-esteem.

“We’re grateful for partners like Coca-Cola who can help us develop programs that work and serve as models at a time when one-third of American schoolchildren are overweight or obese, putting them at risk of health problems as they get older,” said Judith J. Pickens, senior vice president, Program & Youth Development Services, BGCA.

For more information about Triple Play, visit www.bgca.org/programs/tripleplay.asp.

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