Healthy, strong and ready for teens

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Parents and medical care providers caring for girls between the ages of 8-12 are encouraged to attend Healthy, Strong and Ready for Teens: Parents and Doctors Working Together to Prepare Girls for Adolescence on Saturday, April 18, 2009 at the Fawcett Center in Columbus. Registration begins at 8 a.m., and the welcome address will kick off at 9 a.m. with the program ending at 3:45 p.m. Lunch is included for attendees during this free parent program presented by the Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Ohio AAP Foundation.

"Healthy, Strong and Ready for Teens promises to be an insightful day for parents and physicians into the lives of their pre-adolescent daughters and patients," explained Robert Murray, MD, chairman of the Ohio AAP Committee on Home and School Health, and co-organizer of the event.

The day-long symposium was developed to address the special needs of girls who are in the "tween" years 8 to 12 years old. Too often, teenage girls do not get enough of the nutrients they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Only 20 percent of high school girls are likely to eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and 20 percent of girls drink three or more glasses of milk a day.

"Girls are often deficient in calcium, for instance, because they dramatically cut back on the amount of milk they drink once they hit their teenage years for fear of weight gain, or other reasons," said Dr. Murray, director of Nationwide Children's Hospital Center for Healthy Weight and Nutrition. "Yet, almost half of a woman's bone mass is formed during adolescence and low intakes of calcium may lead to osteoporosis."

Good nutrition and exercise are vital to girls' long-term health and mental well-being. Exercise, for instance, helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, control weight, and prevent or delay the development of long-term health issues, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The amount of exercise a teenage girl gets between the ages of 12 and 18 is a critical factor in preventing hip fractures after menopause. In addition, physical activity and fitness provide a critical foundation for a sense of strength and self-esteem.

"It's no secret that girls today are challenged with many more daily concerns than their mothers and grandmothers," said Elise Berlan, MD, Nationwide Children's Hospital, who will kick off the symposium with the morning welcome address titled The Perils of the Pre-Teen Girl: Understanding the Challenges Girls Face in Adolescence.

She added, "Not only do girls face daily pressure to excel in school and activities, but they do it while battling stereotypes created by the media, peer pressure, bullies and much more. This is an important time for them to build their self-esteem and become stronger physically, mentally and emotionally."

During the keynote presentation by Kenneth Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and practices adolescent medicine at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, parents will learn how they can prepare their daughters during this stressful time. Tips for Parents: Raising Strong and Successful Youth is based upon a book Dr. Ginsburg has written, "A Parents Guide to Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Your Child Roots and Wings."

Like in the book, Dr. Ginsburg will review his 7-C Plan for Resilience that helps kids of all ages learn competence, confidence, connection, character, contribution, coping, and control to help them bounce back from challenges.

The keynote presentation will take place immediately following lunch, in which medical experts from around Ohio will host roundtable discussions with parents on multiple topics affecting pre-adolescent daughters, including alcohol abuse, anxiety/depression, body image, bullying, contraception, eating disorders, healthy eating, mood disorders, nutrition, parenting, self esteem, sports-related injuries, substance use/abuse and vaccines.

The morning and afternoon sessions, not including the welcome address and keynote presentation, at Healthy, Strong and Ready for Teens are presented by local medical experts from Nationwide Children's Hospital, and include:

  • Bone Health and the Downfall of the Female Diet Robert Murray, MD
  • Vaccines for Teens: An Update Katalin Koryani, MD
  • The Female Knee Creates the MVP (Most Vulnerable Player) Anastacia Fischer, MD
  • Mood and Anxiety Disorders: How to Recognize Them and What to Do Ghada Lteif, MD
  • Understanding and Preventing Alcohol Abuse: A Guide for Parents Peter Rogers, MD

Through funding from the American Dairy Association Mideast and Ortho-McNeil, Healthy, Strong and Ready for Teens is a free program presented by the Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Ohio AAP Foundation.

The Fawcett Center is located on The Ohio State University campus at 2400 Olentangy River Rd., Columbus, 43210. It is located next to the Longaberger Alumni House and across the street from the Jerome Schottenstein Center.

For more information on the symposium or to register, visit, or contact Heather Hall at and (614) 846-6258. Registration is required; space is limited.

Two-week series

Click here to read how to prepare your teen for a healthy lifestyle