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New ways to promote fitness for urban girls proposed by Rutgers-Camden nursing professor
Date:12/19/2013

s of focus groups, Thompson says many black women and their daughters recognize the importance of regular physical activity, but need some guidance on how to best work it into their days.

"A lot of people say they don't have time for exercise," Thompson says. "But increased physical activity doesn't have to mean that you need a gym membership. A person can take a walk, ride a bicycle, or even turn the music up and dance in her own home to increase her heart rate. There are things you can do to personalize the experience and make it fun."

Access is another theme that emerged from Thompson's study. She says, "In urban areas or low economic neighborhoods where there is little to no access to gyms, recreation centers, or parks, children are less likely to get the physical activity they need. You have to start looking at access and providing a safe, supportive environment where children could go and get their exercise," she notes.

Thompson suggests one way to provide access could be through churches. She is currently seeking funding to help establish organized exercise activities at churches so she can research the effect they have on obese adolescents in urban areas.

"I'd like to find a way to build aerobics or other programs into existing community church activities that will help foster a healthier lifestyle and promote physical activity in a safe environment," she says.

During a pilot study Thompson performed as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 42 adolescent girls who participated in church fitness programs indicated that they were beneficial and would participate in a permanent program.

"It's just another way to promote physical fitness in a community to ensure that young girls grow into healthy women," Thompson says.

A resident of Pemberton Township, Thompson is the author of multiple published articles including, "Physical inactivity of Black adolescent girl
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Contact: Mike Sepanic
msepanic@camden.rutgers.edu
856-225-6026
Rutgers University
Source:Eurekalert

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