Girl scout meetings boost physical activity, promote healthy lifestyle

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Washington, June 25 (ANI): Organizations like Girl Scouts provide an ideal setting for girls to boost their physical activity and to promote a healthy lifestyle, according to a Kansas State University researcher.

Richard Rosenkranz, assistant professor in human nutrition at K-State, did a study using interventions with Girl Scout troops.

He trained group leaders to instruct exercise sessions and promote healthful eating, which led the girls to learn about a healthy lifestyle and increased their participation in exercise activities.

"We were striving to get the girls and parents to spend some of their leisure time together being active and taking steps together for fun and health," he said.

For the two-year study, Rosenkranz worked with 10- and 11-year-old girls who were members of Girl Scout troops in Manhattan and the surrounding area.

The study involved nine troops, with five of the troops receiving an intervention.

"What we saw in the control troops was an environment where girls were sedentary for the vast majority of time at the meeting, combined with snacks that were less than health-promoting. This is just one part of a girl's weekly or bi-weekly experience, but it offers the chance to provide an opportunity and a message for health promotion," he said.

Rosenkranz trained the group leaders as part of the intervention.

They learned about the background of intervention activities, which included nutrition, family meals, physical activity and family connection.

They were also taught the expectations of being role models and providing a healthful environment at Girl Scout meetings, as well as new physically active games for the girls.

The intervention focused on having the girls participate in walking, dancing, active games and yoga.

"The intervention was focused on physical activities that could be done in or around the home, without special equipment, ideally involving the parents," said Rosenkranz.

He said the girls in the intervention troops were less sedentary than those not in the interventions.

In addition, the girls involved in the intervention performed higher levels of both moderate-intensity and moderate-to-vigorous intensity exercise during troop meetings.

The study was presented at the American College of Sports Medicine's Annual Meeting in Seattle. (ANI)

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