Online Program

Minority youth leaders in action (MYLA): Empowering Latino and black youth to address obesity-related disparities

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:30 a.m. - 8:45 a.m.

Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, PhD, MPH, Institute for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Research, Department of Preventive Medicine, Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Donna Spruijt-Metz, Institute For Prevention Research, University of Southern California, Alhambra, CA
Gisela Ragusa, PhD, University of Southern California USC, Rossier School of Education, Los Angeles, CA
Camille Dennard, MPH, Kaiser Permanente, Los Angeles, CA
John Chang, MPH, Adolescent Medicine, Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Rosa Barahona, Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Using Freire's Empowerment Education Model, we developed and tested MYLA; an innovative community-based culturally tailored intervention delivered during summer camp in Los Angeles. The purpose was to empower Latino and Black youth (ages 14-17) to reduce health disparities by addressing obesity in their communities. Using mixed methods, the team assessed empowerment (perception of ability to positively change one's own behavior and impact their community), self-efficacy to engage in community action to combat obesity and develop and initiate local community action plans to prevent obesity at the community level. Improvements in dietary intake and physical activity were observed. Thirty-eight (n=38) students participated in camp activities. Qualitative analysis of youths' journal entries revealed themes of personal empowerment and increased awareness of community health; as well as identification of environmental barriers to health. Pre and post test data indicated increases in personal empowerment and self-efficacy. Participants reported newly adopted healthy behaviors and sharing of obesity prevention information with family members. Youth's action plans included development of nutrition and physical activity pamphlets in English and Spanish, sugary beverage demonstration for lower grades, letters to decision-makers, short films, and art depicting food deserts. Lack of safety, food insecurity, unstable family environments, limited family support, and presence of trash were barriers to physical activity and healthy eating. The intervention had a positive impact on empowerment to combat obesity. However, Latino and Black youth face important social challenges to consider if we are to obtain sustained changes in obesity locally and globally.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Discuss Freire's Empowerment model as a strategy to reduce health disparities Describe qualitative and quantitative findings regarding Black and Latino youths' ability to impact their communities on obesity prevention. Identify best practices as well as challenges Black and Latino youth experience in making sustained personal and community changes to combat obesity in their own lives and that of their community. Discuss global implications of this project at the local level.

Keyword(s): Adolescent Health, Health Disparities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have over 20 years of experience working in adolescent health with the goal of reducing health disparities by developing and testing programs that are culturally tailored to at risk populations. I am PI and Director of MYLA at USC. I have a strong tract record of using qualitative data to provide in depth information on a variety of topics to help correct health inequities at the community level. I work both locally and internationally.
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.