222155 Photovoice: Advocating for Healthier Communities Through the Lens and Voices of Youth

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Genoveva Islas-Hooker, MPH , Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program, Fresno, CA
Lorena Ramos, MPH Candidate , Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP), Fresno, CA
The Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program's (CCROPP) Youth Photovoice Project recognizes young people as critical partners in creating healthier communities. In 2007, the Youth Photovoice Project was established at a regional level to address the root causes of obesity in California's San Joaquin Valley: food and physical activity environments.

Through the lens and voices of youth, challenges or successes to eating healthy and moving more were documented and communicated to key stakeholders in an effort to cultivate positive change in communities throughout eight San Joaquin Valley counties. Emerging themes from the Project indicated the need for joint-use policies between schools and communities, park renovations, installation of safe park equipment, operable drinking water fountains, clean and unlocked restrooms at public recreational facilities, safer neighborhoods and routes to/from school, healthier food options in communities/schools, reduced fast food and sweetened beverage marketing, and lack of produce markets in neighborhoods.

For CCROPP, the Photovoice Project serves as a community-based participatory research mechanism and a catalyst for environmental and policy changes. The Project has empowered youth to become advocates within their communities and schools. As a result, youth have used their photos to educate policymakers and the media on the connection between obesogenic environments and health. Their work has resulted in new health elements written into general plans, school wellness improvements, and is serving as roadmaps for local, regional and state decision makers. The Project is shared at a national level and is informing research mechanisms for other issues, such as safety and violence.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
1.Describe how Photovoice offers youth an opportunity to be critical partners in obesity prevention. 2. Describe how Photovoice is an effective advocacy, youth leadership and community-based participatory research tool. 3. Highlight case studies and policy recommendations from CCROPP Photovoice Project. 4. Discuss the change that has occurred in communities as a result of Photovoice.

Keywords: Youth, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Regional Program Coordinator for the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program
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.