215427 Building Wellness™: A Youth Health Literacy Pilot Program Targeting NYC's Youth Living in Public Housing

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 1:30 PM - 1:45 PM

Catherine R.W. Diamond, MPH , Health Literacy, The "I Have A Dream" Foundation - New York Metro Area, New York, NY
Adeline Azrack, SM , Regional Office for South Asia, UNICEF, Kathmandu, Nepal
Lauren McGrail , The Eugene M. Lang Foundation, New York, NY
There is disconnect between health education in schools and health literacy levels of students in underserved areas. According to a survey of 77 middle and high school students from underserved areas, 76% of students have received nutrition education, but only 47% report knowing how to cook a healthy meal and nearly 50% are reportedly not familiar with the connection between diet and heart disease or Type II Diabetes. People with low health literacy report less knowledge of their medical condition and treatment and less use of preventive services.

In reaction, Building Wellness™ and Building Wellness™ Family Style were developed to improve the health literacy levels of children and their families living in underserved areas over six years with the ultimate goal of reducing rates of obesity, hospitalization due to asthma, drug abuse, and accidental injury. Building Wellness is a six-year curriculum occurring in after-school programs that target underserved youth in 3rd through 8th grades and includes complementary student-led family workshops. The curriculum is based on experiential learning using pre/post evaluations as assessment tools.

Results from three sites in New York City have shown an increase in knowledge and ability concerning health issues such as personal values, hazards, nutrition, and media literacy as well as a change in reported behavior and beliefs of participating families.

Building Wellness appears to be a low-cost, effective tool in increasing health literacy in underserved children and their families. Programs such as Building Wellness may be effective and valuable tools in future programs targeting underserved youth.

Learning Areas:
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Define health literacy in contrast to health education. Discuss low budget, effective methods of teaching health literacy skills to youth living in underserved areas.

Keywords: Youth, Health Literacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the curriculum author and director of the pilot implementation of Building Wellness(TM) and Building Wellness(TM) Family Style.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Eugene Lang Foundation program development Employment (includes retainer)

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.