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Holistic Health Promotion for Adolescent Girls in an Alternative School Setting: Lessons Learned

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Teens in alternative schools are at risk for sedentary behavior, overweight, and risky health behaviors; however, few studies have evaluated health interventions in these settings. The aim of this study was to assess the feasibility of implementing a holistic health curriculum for adolescent girls in an alternative school setting. Using a modified community-based participatory research framework, the authors adapted an evidence-based curriculum for seven adolescent girls aged thirteen to sixteen. Facilitators and barriers to implementation were identified from classroom observations, reflexive exercises with students, and key informant interviews. Building trust and rapport among students and stakeholders and making cultural adaptations to the curriculum were key facilitators of successful implementation. Absenteeism, student attentional difficulties, and time and space limitations were identified as key challenges. Overall, implementing a healthy lifestyle and body image program for adolescent girls in an alternative school setting is feasible and has high acceptability when content is adapted for cultural relevance and when the program has sufficient support from school staff and other stakeholders.

Keywords: ALTERNATIVE SCHOOLS; BODY IMAGE; COMMUNITY-BASED PARTICIPATORY RESEARCH; HEALTH CURRICULUM; HEALTHY LIFESTYLE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2015

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