What is New Moves?

New Moves is school-based physical education program aimed at improving body-image and self-image in adolescent girls. The New Moves program was developed and evaluated as part of a research study funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH). The primary component of the New Moves program is an all-girls physical education class, supplemented with activities aimed at improving eating patterns and self-image. New Moves strives to provide an environment in which girls feel comfortable being physically active, regardless of their size, shape or skill level. You can make New Moves a part of your school by utilizing all of the resources available on this website. For downloadable teacher resources, click here.


New Moves was created after a needs assessment indicated that girls wanted an opportunity to learn about healthy eating and exercise in a supportive setting. New Moves was created in response to this need, and a feasibility study was conducted in 2000–2001. The materials and program were refined and the program was evaluated as part of an NIH-funded study in 2007–2009. For more detailed information about the New Moves study, click here.


Bring about positive change in physical activity and eating behaviors to improve weight status and overall health.

Help girls function in a thin-oriented society and feel good about themselves.

Help girls avoid unhealthy weight control behaviors.

Theoretical Model

The New Moves theoretical model of change is based on Social Cognitive Theory and is available here.

Behavioral Goals

New Moves focused on eight behavioral goals aimed at improving body-image while increasing healthy eating and exercise behaviors. The classroom lessons addressed these key goals. During individual sessions, girls developed customized action plans to achieve their goals. The eight goals are:

Aim to be physically active, at least 1 hour per day.

Reduce screen time to no more than 1 hour per day.

Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day; choose fruits and vegetables for snacks.

Limit pop/soda and other sweetened beverages; instead, drink noncaloric beverages.

Eat breakfast every day.

Pay attention to portion size and to your body's signs of hunger and fullness.

Avoid unhealthy weight control practices.

Focus on your positive traits.


New Moves was designed for girls who do not thrive in a typical physical education class and would benefit from exposure to lifetime physical activity options in a supportive environment. The New Moves class was designed to be a supportive, non-competitive environment where girls feel comfortable being active, regardless of shape, size, or skill. For more information on recruiting girls, link to the recruitment page here. For sample class descriptions used in course guidebooks to explain New Moves, click here.

The New Moves class

The New Moves class was the primary component of the program. The class was offered for one quarter, trimester, or semester (depending on the school schedule) followed by a maintenance component that continued until the end of the school year. The class included one day per week of classroom-based lessons aimed at improving eating patterns and self-empowerment, and the remainder of the week was spent doing a variety of physical activity. Guest fitness and dance instructors from the community taught the class once a week, exposing girls to a variety of fun ways to be active. Each New Moves participant met with an individual coach 5-7 times throughout the school year to set New Moves related goals.

For all you need to implement the New Moves class, please click here.

New Moves Maintenance

The maintenance component of New Moves was designed to keep girls on track with their health goals through individual, social, and family support. Individual health goals were supported through individual sessions, which provided girls with one-on-one time with a New Moves coach to discuss strategies and barriers to the New Moves goals. Social support was provided in a weekly “Lunch Bunch” where participants were provided a healthy lunch with their New Moves classmates in a quiet setting. Lastly, parent support was encouraged through a parent event, where girls and their parents were treated to "spa" treatments and crafts as well as discussion about New Moves and the program goals.


To learn more about how New Moves was evaluated during the research period, click here. To see the evaluation materials used in New Moves, click here.