Adding a mental health component to school-based health education programs could enhance health behaviors, reduce depression and improve grades.
Researchers from The Ohio State University College of Nursing found that a program called COPE: (Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment) Healthy Lifestyles TEEN (Thinking, Emotions, Exercise, Nutrition) had a beneficial outcome for several health and behavioral factors.
The high school health classes used an intervention that emphasized building cognitive behavioral skills in addition to nutrition and physical activity.
Participants had a lower average body mass index, better social behaviors, higher health class grades and drank less alcohol than did teenagers in a class with standard health lessons.
Symptoms in teens who were severely depressed also dropped to normal levels at the end of the semester compared to the control group, whose symptoms remained elevated.
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