267038 Mobilizing Youth to Help Increase Market Demand for Healthy Food in East Los Angeles

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 : 12:59 PM - 1:11 PM

Mienah Z. Sharif, MPH , Community Health Sciences, University of California Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Jeremiah Garza, MA, MPH , Department of Health Policy and Management, University of California Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Brent Langellier, MA , Community Health Sciences, University of California Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health, Los Angeles, CA
Introduction: The USC/UCLA Center for Population Health and Health Disparities implemented an innovative youth-led social marketing component in conjunction with their corner store makeover project. High school students in East Los Angeles have been trained in media development, social marketing, food justice and nutrition. There is a dearth of research on how actively engaging youth can influence community based projects to improve the food environment. This presentation will elucidate the youth's perspective of the feasibility, effectiveness and realities of implementing a youth-led social marketing campaign. Methods: Focus groups are being conducted with high school students participating in a “Market Makeover and Social Marketing” elective course at the beginning and end of the course. Topics include: experiences and perceptions of the corner store makeovers and assessments of their food environment (home, school and community levels). Data are analyzed employing a hybrid approach to thematic analysis integrating both inductive and deductive analyses. Video testimonials were also collected and analyzed. Results: Students emphasize the connection between nutrition and health disparities in their community. Skill development and investment in the community are major facilitators of ongoing engagement. Conflict with academic schedules is a major barrier to participation. Students discovered an interest in pursuing degrees and careers in public health as result of participating in the course. Youth believe that a student-led project can improve the effectiveness and reach of a social marketing campaign Discussion: A youth-led social marketing campaign can sustain engagement and support within the community and improve program effectiveness.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify the factors that are necessary to persuade, facilitate and sustain participation of high school youth in a community based nutrition and social marketing program. 2. Describe the factors mentioned by youth related to the sustainability and effectiveness of corner store conversions in low-income communities. 3. Explain the students’ perception of the program’s impact on their understanding of health disparities, nutrition, social marketing and their ability to advocate for improving access to healthy food in their community.

Keywords: Youth, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As a graduate student researcher at the UCLA Center for Population Health and Health Disparities I have researched chronic disease prevention with a focus on low-income communities of color. I have experience conducting and summarizing focus group results with RAND and the UCLA Center for Health Services and Society.
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.