Participants receive nutrition and activity-level choices with green-, yellow- or red-light selections. For example, biking and rollerblading are “green-light activities” that add the most steps to a teen’s day, thus burning more calories. Yellow- and red-light foods and activities have fewer benefits. Subjects also receive special challenges from health coaches via e-mail, asking them to set and reach certain goals.
One critical aspect of this program is that it actively involves at least one parent. “I think it’s clear that the adolescents who are going to be most successful are the ones who have support from the people they are living with,” said PACE project co-investigator Michael Gottschalk, MD, PhD, of the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, in a press release. “This is an environmental change, and a lot of times, it’s the environment itself that is creating part of the problem.”