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www.4girls.govNECON AUGUST 1, 2002
HHS Launches New Health Web Site for Girls
CONTACT: Linda Allen, (202) 401-6113; Roslyn Matthews, (202) 690-6883; Omni Press Line, (202) 756-5302.

Washington, D.C. - The Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health (OWH) today launched a new health Web site, www.4girls.gov, to encourage adolescent girls to choose healthy behaviors. The site, part of HHS' National Women's Health Information Center, provides girls ages 10-16 with information on fitness, nutrition, stress management, relationships with friends and family, peer pressure, suicide, drugs, self-esteem, and other topics in an interactive, user-friendly format. The launch is part of the ongoing Prevention Initiative recently announced by HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. The announcement was made at the HHS Young Women's Health Summit being held in Washington D.C.

"Girls make important choices about lifestyle behaviors during adolescence that can influence their health and well-being throughout adulthood," said Dr. Eve Slater, Assistant Secretary for Health. "This Web site provides girls with the tools to begin taking responsibility for their physical, mental, environmental, and social health by providing them with information in the language they understand."

The 4girls Web site includes six sections:

  • Becoming a Woman answers the questions girls might be afraid to ask about changes to their bodies, the menstrual cycle, and grooming and hygiene. From breast growth and body hair to acne and hair care tips, this section addresses the issues that concern girls the most as they approach and transition into puberty.
  • Fit for Life provides girls with the tools to develop an exercise plan that is enjoyable, safe, and long-lasting. Highlights include an online fitness questionnaire, tips on strength training, information on avoiding exercise-related injuries, and advice on how to keep exercise interesting.
  • You Are What You Eat helps girls make healthy food choices by providing important nutrition information on serving sizes, vitamins and nutrients, reading food labels, eating out, maintaining a healthy weight, and vegetarianism.
  • Mind over Matters discusses different sources of stress for girls and describes some healthy ways to cope. This section also includes a Q&A section on related topics such as self-injury and teen suicide.
  • Choosing Not to Use presents the hard facts about tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse in a user-friendly question and answer format.
  • Putting It All Together focuses on the physical, mental, and social health of girls by addressing stress management, relationships with family and friends, self esteem, body image, peer pressure, self protection, and planning for the future. The site also features a Parent/Caregiver section that provides lists of publications, organizations, and Web sites they can use to help address the issues that face adolescent girls.

The launch of www.4girls.gov is part of the OWH Girls' and Adolescent Health initiative. Other projects developed in this initiative include the BodyWise Eating Disorders Educational Campaign and the Get Real! Video Kit on health issues for college-aged women. OWH is also involved in the Girlpower! and National Bone Health campaigns with other federal agencies.

The theme of this year's National Young Women's Health Summit is "Parents as Partners" to focus on intergenerational communication to help girls make positive health choices. More than 150 summit participants between the ages of 12 and 17 will receive leadership training, community action skills and health information. They are being joined by their parents as well as specially trained mentors who will attend workshops on how to support young women as they are faced with the difficult decisions of adolescence. Girls who participated in previous summits contributed to the content of www.4girls.gov.

"Our focus is on women's health across the lifespan," said Wanda Jones, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health (Women's Health), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Projects such as the 4girls.gov Web site and the Young Women's Health Summit help us teach adolescent girls about healthy behaviors that should last a lifetime."

The new site can also be accessed through its own address, http://www.4girls.gov/. Information on the Young Women's Health Summit can be found on the home page of the National Women's Health Information Center, www.4woman.gov, or by calling 1-800-994-WOMAN (TDD: 1-888-2205-446).

HHS' Office on Women's Health coordinates women's health activities, programs and outreach throughout the federal government and through public-private partnerships. President Bush's fiscal year 2003 budget proposal includes a $29.1 million for OWH, an increase of $2.1 million from the current year's budget. The higher budget is in addition to increases for women's health in other HHS agencies and programs, including $4 billion for National Institutes of Health research on women's health.

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