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Thursday, April 22, 1999
Contact: Jonelle C. Rowe, M.D.
PHS' Office on Women's Health
(202) 690-7650

Girl Power! Campaign Launches New BodyWise Web Site

HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala announced today, BodyWise, a new area on the Girl Power! Campaign Web site, which aims to teach girls skills for healthy living. BodyWise will give girls information on exercise, healthy eating habits, and positive role models. The interactive site offers girls tips, suggestions, and information in a fun and upbeat way. The new BodyWise site can be found at www.health.org/gpower/bodywise.

For all young people, the transition from child to teenager is a critical time -- but boys and girls experience adolescence in different ways. Studies show that girls tend to lose self-confidence during the ages of 9 to 14. It's during these years that many girls begin to develop a negative self-image -- especially about how they look.

"The BodyWise area responds to growing concerns that girls are too focused on trying to look like models," said Secretary Shalala. "The site encourages girls to focus on positive self-images and fitness, and offers authoritative information about the signs, symptoms, and dangers of eating disorders."

BodyWise' first guest host is Brandy Norwood, the popular recording artist and star of the hit TV show "Moesha." On the Web site she informs girls that eating the right foods and staying active are ways to stay fit. "It isn't what others say about you, it's about what you say and do to yourself," Brandy confides. "Being active, like playing a sport, dancing, or exercising are all ways you can keep fit. I take tae-bo classes to maintain a healthy body and spirit," Brandy said.

Facts about Adolescents (sources in parentheses):

Eating Disorders

  • Nearly half of all teen girls skip a meal to control their weight (PHS OWH "The Health of Adolescent Girls" Fact Sheet).
  • One-third of all girls in grades 9 to12 think that they are overweight, and 60 percent say they are trying to lose weight (PHS OWH "The Health of Adolescent Girls" Fact Sheet).
  • Eating disorders affect 5 to10 percent of post-pubescent females. At least five million women are affected by some symptoms of an eating disorder (PHS OWH "Eating Disorders" Fact Sheet).


  • Forty-five percent of elementary school girls say they are "good at a lot of things." By middle school that number drops to 29 percent, and by high school to only 23 percent (American Association of University Women).


  • Findings suggest that athletic participation is related to later onset of sexual activity among girls (Women Sports Foundation).
  • Half of all girls who participate in some kind of sports experience higher than average levels of self-esteem and less depression (Ms. Foundation, 1991)
  • Fifteen percent of 12- to 21-year-old girls get no exercise (PHS OWH "The Health of Adolescent Girls" Fact Sheet).

    The Girl Power! Campaign is a multi-phase national public education campaign designed to help encourage 9- to 14-year-old girls to make the most of their lives. Girl Power! provides positive messages, accurate health information, and support for girls and the people who care about them. Since 1996, the campaign has partnered with nearly 300 organizations and 60 national endorsers to promote the Girl Power! message.

    Information about the campaign and its many free materials is available on the Girl Power! Web site at www.health.org/gpower, or by calling the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686.

    Girl Power! is sponsored by HHS with leadership from SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) and the Public Health Service (PHS) Office on Women's Health. Girl Power! was developed by CSAP in consultation with many diverse organizations as well as by girls themselves.


    Note: HHS press releases are available on the World Wide Web at: www.dhhs.gov.