204842 Building the capacity of community leaders to engage parents in local school wellness policy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 3:10 PM

Nestor Martinez, MPH, RD , California Project LEAN, California Dept. of Public Health, Sacramento, CA
Eddy Jara, MPH, DrPH (c) , University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Joanne Gooley, MA, RD , University of California, San Francisco, California Project LEAN, Sacramento, CA
Victoria Berends, BS , California Project LEAN, Public Health Institute, Sacramento, CA
Peggy Agron, MA, RD , California Project LEAN, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, CA

In response to rising rates of overweight and inactivity in America's youth, federal legislation was passed that mandated school districts to adopt local school wellness policies (LSWPs) that address nutrition and physical activity. Community members, especially parents, can play an important role in ensuring their local school wellness policy (LSWP) is fully implemented. Many barriers exist for parent participation, especially in culturally diverse communities. One strategy that has not been adequately pursued is to train parents and community leaders on LSWPs and ways they can support implementation of these policies.

Program Methodology

California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) developed and piloted an English and Spanish four-session curriculum to train community leaders on how to engage parents in the implementation of LSWPs. The purpose of the trainings was to build the capacity of community leaders to encourage parents to engage in the implementation of their LSWP while building their self-efficacy to use a policy and advocacy approach. A total of 75 participants from four Los Angeles organizations were trained. A pre/post test survey was used to assess changes in knowledge, attitudes, and self-efficacy as well as qualitative interviews to solicit feedback from participants and organizational leaders to document the implementation process and key lessons learned.

Program Evaluation Results

Preliminary results suggest improvements in participants' knowledge of LSWP and its contribution to student health and wellness; increased skills in problem solving and action plan development; and increase in self-efficacy to support parent engagement.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify one lesson learned in training community leaders on how to support parents to engage in LSWP implementation. 2. Identify three benefits of engaging parents in LSWP implementation. 3. Name the four steps in the Parents Taking Action advocacy process.

Keywords: Advocacy, Curricula

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: MPH - University of California, Berkeley B.S. - California State Polytechnic University (Foods and Nutrition) 17 years of public health experience
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.