Zippin' Along Great Friends Fun and Chat

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What Parents Have Told Us...

It's so important for girls to start practicing healthy eating now, before everything from peer pressure to their own independence sends them on detours. Say "balanced meal" and you'll get complaints of boring and yucky. Kudos to everyone at for finding a way to make eating healthy and exercising seem 'cool'!

-- Alice G., Mom, Colorado

Just wanted to commend you on the positive message your Web site is sending to young girls. My 8-year-old daughter had a ball browsing through the site (loved sending out c-cards, too!)... The recipes that we tried from the smart eatin' section were huge hits with the kids -- and I was happy because they were actually eating vegetables without putting up a fight! (We especially liked the Meatball & Veggie Platter and the Beef on Bamboo!) Thanks for the wonderful resource you're providing to young girls!

P.S. -- My daughter wondered if you could add a "Cool Girl's Book Club" to the site. Might be a feature where girls recommend books they like to create a great reading list.

-- Megan M., Mom, Illinois

What Teachers Have Told Us...

You have combined every aspect of a healthy life style and stressed how they all work together. I think girls get focused on the nutrition part -- calories and fat -- and don't realize there is more to being healthy. You have information on exercise, attitude and much more. You are concerned with the whole picture and you present it well!!

I also feel that you gave credibility to the factual information when you listed links for more info or for where the info came from - a site, an expert, or an authority. As a teacher, I like how you have compiled the factual info with the links all on one page. I will use that page in my Growing Healthy program in my classroom.

I have no concerns about letting my students sign on to this site and just let them go. I do not have to check it out ahead of time for appropriateness. Even the message board had nothing of concern!!! The privacy statement is upfront and reassuring to any parent or teacher. Well Done!!!!! This site is definite for my school favorites list.

-- Janet D., Elementary School Teacher, S.D.

What Child Development and Nutrition Experts Have Told Us...

The pre-adolescent and adolescent years can be some of the most challenging times in a young girl's life. Having a healthy attitude towards food is one of the building blocks of a strong body and mind. It helps girls celebrate themselves and have the courage to be creative, independent and strong. We need more industries out there to come out and say 'Look, be real! Don't build your self-confidence based on peer pressure and your appearance.

-- Sylvia Rimm, PhD, Child Psychologist
Family Achievement Clinic director, clinical professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and of best-selling books, including How to Parent So Children Will Learn, Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades-And What You Can Do About It, and See Jane Win

As a health professional, I know first-hand that there is a vast array of confusing information about nutrition and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. The zip4tweens Web site talks to girls on their own terms and aims to help them develop healthy attitudes about food and their bodies.

This is especially important given the current nutritional status of girls nationwide. Almost no teen girls (0.6%) meet the nutritional guidelines of the Food Guide Pyramid, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The entire zip4tweens Web site is built on a single premise: It's important for girls to feel good about themselves and confident about what they can accomplish both physically and mentally. Our daughters need to hear positive messages about self image and food, with less focus on being "skinny" and more emphasis on being healthy and fit.

Yes, this Web site is sponsored by America's Beef Producers. This is clearly and prominently stated on the home page, and throughout the site. Beef provides many nutrients, including zinc, iron and protein, which are important to growth, brain development and physical performance. These are nutrients often deficient in girls' diets.

You may ask why beef producers in the U.S. would invest their hard-earned funds to develop such a Web site - and I wondered that myself. I found the answer on the Web site: "America's beef producers think that helping girls during this important part of their development is the right thing to do. Nutrition plays an important role in building a strong body and mind. Girls need 40+ nutrients every day to grow, move and have fun. No one food contains them all, so it's important to eat a wide variety of foods in order to obtain enough of all nutrients. Zip4tweens reminds girls that staying active and eating smart - from all the food groups - will help them be the best they can be."

-- Dayle Hayes, MS RD
Nutrition expert and past board member of the American Dietetic Association


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