248984 MY LA: Using the Freirian Empowerment Model for Social Change to Engage the Latino Community in Healthy Eating and Physical Activity

Monday, October 31, 2011

Camille Dennard, MPH , Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, University of Southern California, USC, Alhambra, CA
Donna Spruijt-Metz , Institute For Prevention Research, University of Southern California, Alhambra, CA
Gisele Ragusa, PhD , Rossier School of Education and Viterbi School of Engineering, USC, Los Angeles, CA
Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD, MPH , Department of Preventive Medicine, Institute for Health Promotion & Disease Prevention Research, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Introduction: Interventions to improve nutrition and increase physical activity in Latino youth have been minimally effective. Culturally tailored interventions that empower Latino youth to tackle the obesity epidemic in their communities are needed. Minority Youth Leaders in Action MY LA uses Freirian empowerment theory to develop, implement and evaluate a youth-focused training to foster social change regarding healthier eating and physical activity in Latino communities.

Methods: Latino youth (mean age 15.5, SD, 75% male) participated in this pilot project consisting of a one-week obesity prevention empowerment camp followed by a 7-month placement in local community organizations. Latino youth developed and implemented community action plans to increase physical activity and/or healthy eating. Data were collected at pre-test and at regular intervals during the intervention. Measures included: youth empowerment, semi structured journal entries, and process qualitative data.

Results: MYLA in its first year showed youth scored low on empowerment at pre-test, showing improvements over time. Scores increased from mean baseline (on a 4-point rubric) of 1.84, to a current mean rating score at last data collection of 2.89. Qualitative data indicate changes in sugary beverage consumption, increased knowledge of food labels, and increased awareness of local farmers markets as options for purchasing fresh fruits and vegetables in their communities.

Discussion: Data on youth suggests the intervention may have a positive impact on healthy lifestyle changes in Latino communities. This novel intervention has implications for reducing obesity rates in the Latino community through effective community empowerment models for social change.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1.) Design a youth empowerment nutrition and physical activity intervention that is both deliverable and acceptable in the Latino community. 2.) Demonstrate the ability of a social change community intervention to empower youth participants to develop and initiate local community action plans to prevent obesity.

Keywords: Obesity, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I manage a youth empowerment obesity prevention study.
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.