Health-Minded Lessons for Girls

By Anthony Rebora — August 24, 2006 1 min read

Rising rates of eating disorders among children have motivated a Harvard-affiliated clinical psychologist to co-produce a new wellness curriculum for middle school girls.

The curriculum, titled “Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health and Leadership,” aims to give girls “tools to resist cultural directives toward body preoccupation, overeating, and disordered eating behavior.” It was created by Catherine Steiner-Adair, a clinical instructor in psychology at McLean Hospital and the Harvard Medical School, and Lisa Sjostrom, director of the education consulting firm Helping Kids Thrive.

“Full of Ourselves: A Wellness Program to Advance Girl Power, Health, and Leadership” is available for purchase from Teachers College Press.

The curriculum book includes units on body politics, media culture, nutrition, and assertiveness. Each unit concludes with a “Call to Action” encouraging students to demonstrate what they have learned in their own lives.

The overall goal, the authors say, is to give girls “an entirely different lens through which to see, know, and value themselves.”

The authors note that the curriculum is designed as prevention program and works best when provided “grade-wide” rather than to a select group of girls.