Ohio State Researchers Help Teens With Weight and Depression

A ground breaking high school health program assisted high school students in maintaining healthier weights and even helped relieve severe depression for a full year after the program ended. The research behind the program was supported by the National Institute of Nursing Research and the National Institutes of Health.

Dean of the Ohio State University College of Nursing was lead author of the study. COPE (Creating Opportunities for Personal Empowerment) Healthy Lifestyles TEEN (Thinking, Emotions, Exercise, Nutrition) teaches adolescents that how they think is directly related to how they feel and behave. It also teaches them how to turn negative beliefs triggered by “activating events” into positive beliefs so that they feel emotionally better and engage in healthy behaviors.

Researchers found that 12 months after completing the COPEHealthy Lifestyles TEEN Program, students had markedly lower body mass index than students who received a more standard health curriculum. Additionally, COPE teens who began the program with extremely elevated depression had symptoms in the normal range after 12 months.

The study appears in the December 2015 issue of the Journal of School Health.

Jody Victor