CRI LEP for Teens

Teens’ choices can affect their health and wellness for a lifetime. Though the future may be the last thing on their minds, habits that young people form in their teen years – including how they learn to eat, move, manage stress, and relate with others – all affect their ability to become happy, healthy adults. CRI launched the CRI Life Enhancement Program for Teens to help teens and their parents or guardians reduce the risk for chronic diseases and reach and maintain optimal wellness.


To date, more than 1,000 adults in low-income communities have participated in the CRI Life Enhancement Program (CRI LEP). Creating a similar program for teens is a natural evolution of what CRI has learned in successfully implementing the CRI LEP in various communities throughout the United States.

The CRI LEP for Teens is based on the best practices of health literacy and an integrative approach to health. Working with teen participants, their teen siblings, and at least one parent or other responsible adult, the CRI LEP for Teens builds upon the strength of families and communities working together to make a lasting and personal connection to optimal wellness. As with the CRI LEP, the CRI LEP for Teens is tailored to each community and individual so that the messages resonate in a culturally competent manner.

The CRI LEP for Teens helps improve health literacy across a range of topics, including integrative health, sense of purpose, nutrition, oral health, physical activity, stress management, healthy relationships and dating, and healthy home and community.  Social support is emphasized, and some sessions are “hands-on” — such as cooking, grocery shopping, and exercise.

Beyond gaining knowledge about health and wellness, adults are offered other opportunities to improve the skills they need to find and maintain employment and become stronger members of their community. This can include, courses in English as a second language, resume writing, and job interviewing. Teens are engaged in active projects to learn more about and identify ways to improve their community.

How We’re Making a Difference

The first CRI LEP for Teens is underway with CRI partner Urban Health Plan in the South Bronx, NY, one of the most economically disadvantaged communities in the United States

Urban Health Plan is also home to the first CRI LEP in the nation. Since 2007, more than 200 UHP patients have participated in the CRI LEP and more are continually experiencing the integrative health program, which is offered in both Spanish and English.

Initial funding for the CRI LEP for Teens program is through unrestricted educational grants and a partnership with The Coca-Cola Company.


Canyon Ranch Institute evaluates the CRI LEP for Teen’s effectiveness across the entire scope of our integrative model of health. CRI measures the impact of improving health literacy in regard to participants’ changes in knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in relation to nutrition, physical activity, behavioral health, integrative health, stress management, and spirituality. We also evaluate participants’ physical health through fitness tests, physical measurements, and blood work.