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Making Girls Fit

"Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables," said another.

"Exercise," added a third.

Alexa Geter, 13, practices dance moves at the Girls Fitness and Nutrition program in Southeast.

_____Live Discussion_____
Transcript: Reporter January Payne and Jessica Sultzer, D.C. Site Director for Project Health, discussed adolescent fitness.
_____Special Family Issue_____
Beyond Miscarriage (The Washington Post, Mar 1, 2005)
Pregnant Question (The Washington Post, Mar 1, 2005)
To Eat Better, Eat Together (The Washington Post, Mar 1, 2005)

All good answers, Joglekar told the group, adding that being healthy is a "holistic thing" that incorporates all of those ideas. Other topics planned in coming months include how to read food labels, understand the food pyramid and make healthy choices in the school cafeteria.

Tracking how much progress girls make during the program has been difficult, said Joglekar. Consistent attendance is a problem because families can't always get the girls to the meetings. To encourage attendance, the college students make reminder calls to parents.

The GWU students handed out physical evaluations at last Tuesday's meeting and had the girls count how many jumping jacks and crunches they did in 30-second and one-minute time periods. They will do another evaluation at the end of the semester. In previous semesters they had required only that the girls do a minimum number of repetitions for each exercise.

"We have to have some mark of impact and evaluation and progress," Joglekar said.

But there are other measures that show the program is getting through to the girls.

"People can be healthy all the time," said Adrienne Mavritte, the 12-year-old. "You don't have to sit around and eat junk food all the time. You need to go out and exercise. . . . If you don't, it can make you sick."•

For information, visit www.projecthealth.org/OurLocations/washington/girlsfitnut.php or contact site coordinator Jessica Sultzer at 202-884-5780 or jsultzer@cnmc.org.

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