SALSA: A peer-led leadership program that motivates students to increase physical activity and improve diet. View the results of the programs in infographics.

Background: Childhood obesity is increasing in prevalence. Effective interventions are needed, including those promoting healthy lifestyle habits in children and adolescents.

Objective: This article describes the development and feasibility of a peer led health promotion program in a New South Wales high school and the role GPs can play in community based health promotion activities.

Discussion: The Students As Lifestyle Activists (SALSA) program was developed by general practitioners, a local community health organisation and a local high school. Preliminary evaluation suggests that a peer led approach is feasible, acceptable and valued by both students and staff.

Background: Adolescence is a critical time for developing healthy lifestyle behaviours. It is a period where young people assume a greater responsibility for their physical activity and eating habits, which often persist into adulthood.1 Schools are an ideal setting for promoting health, as most adolescents attend school and can be easily reached. There is also strong evidence demonstrating that school-based programmes can increase physical activity and improve dietary habits of students.2 3

The Students As LifeStyle Activists (SALSA) programme uses a peer educational model, driven by students, to promote physical activity and healthy eating in a supportive school environment.4 Our premise is that students not only learn through teaching their peers, but they also serve as powerful motivators and role models for others.5 Adolescents can also be effective ‘change agents’ within their family and the wider school community.