Online Program

Engaging urban youth of color in dietary assessment and the disparities diaglog

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Linda Sprague-Martinez, Ph.D., Community Health Program, Tufts University, Medford, MA
Amanda Reich, MPH, Law and Public Policy, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Janice Maras, MS, Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Katherine L Tucker, Ph.D., Department of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA
Flavia Perea, Ph.D., M.S.Ed., Public Health and Community Medicine, Tufts University, Boston, MA
Nutrition and obesity are significant public health issues, particularly among urban youth of color. However, there is a dearth of research that considers the perspective of youth regarding nutrition. Engaging youth can be an important method of informing policy and improving the nutrition environment. We describe both qualitative and quantitative approaches to engage youth in the Jamaica Plain (JP) community of Boston, and illuminate their understanding of nutrition and obesity in the broader community. The quantitative component of our study tested a Multicultural Food Frequency Questionnaire (MFFQ), a tool that had been validated with Caribbean Latino populations but had not been used previously with youth. We tested and adapted the questionnaire delivery to improve understanding among youth. Results show that youth in the study consume greater than the recommended daily values for energy, with relatively low nutrient density, particularly for vitamins E, A, D, calcium, and folate. Qualitative responses, conducted via key informants and focus groups with youth of color between the ages of 18 and 24 in JP, suggest that local youth perceive inequities surrounding food and nutrition. For example, they describe the expense of healthy food and the poor nutritional quality of food available in schools. This research underscores the importance of recognizing youth as stakeholders and including them in future dialogues surrounding community food access and nutrition.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe methods to engage urban youth of color in assessments of nutrition and food access Identify key issues relevant to urban youth of color and nutrition

Keyword(s): Community Participation, Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator for this study, and have expertise in CBPR methodology, social policy, and youth-focused disparities research.
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.