249068 Youth-led change initiatives to improve community access to healthy foods: A corner store conversion

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 9:06 AM

Maureen Sedonaen, MBA , Youth Leadership Institute, San Francisco, CA
MaryJane Skjellerup , Central Valley Programs, Youth Leadership Institute, Fresno, CA
One in three children and youth in the US are obese or overweight (e.g., Trust for America's Health, 2009; Pekruhn, 2009), placing them at increased risk for health problems. This childhood obesity epidemic is shaped by environmental factors that include access to healthy foods. Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) is a joint effort among local government, community organizations, and community members to address obesity in the San Joaquin Valley. Youth representing CCROPP in Fresno County worked to improve access to healthy foods in the low-income communities of urban Fresno. As part of their work, Fresno youth completed a healthy corner store conversion. This presentation will highlight: 1) the steps young people took in the store conversion, including action research (PhotoVoice, surveys) to uncover community issues related to healthy food access; store owner outreach; partnerships with local farmers; community and media outreach; and widespread community engagement; and 2)outcomes stemming from this work, including increases in fresh produce sales, maintenance and expansion of changes, and community recognition of the store owner.

In addition, the presentation details how young people were recruited, supported, and engaged to change their communities. Young people have often not been engaged in developing community solutions (Jensen, 1997, Percy-Smith, 2007) and a deeper understanding of how to engage youth as advocates is needed, as effective obesity prevention must include community generated, collaborative efforts and involve multiple generational and institutional stakeholders (e.g., Khan, 2009; Sallis & Glanz, 2009).

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
- Identify the benefits of engaging youth in assessing and changing their community nutrition environments - Identify the factors that influence the success of engaging young people in improving community healthy food access nutrition policy implementation - Identify the steps for successfully completing a healthy corner store conversion

Keywords: Youth, Community

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: For over 20 years, I have designed, implemented, and overseen initiatives that engage young people in community change work on topic areas that include access to healthy foods and physical activity opportunities in schools and communities.
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.