Online Program

Assessing Barriers and Facilitators to Healthy Living in a Low-Income Community: Perceptions of the Health Resource Environment in South Los Angeles

Tuesday, November 3, 2015 : 5:10 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Denise Payan, PhD, MPP, Sol Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Tahirah Farris, AICP, Sol Price School of Public Policy-REACH Demonstration Project Evaluation, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Jacqueline Illum, MPL, Sol Price School of Public Policy-Community Transformation Grant Evaluation, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
LaVonna Lewis, PhD, MPH, Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Gabriel N. Stover, MPA, MSPH, Community Health Councils, Inc., Los Angeles, CA
David C. Sloane, PhD, Price School of Public Policy, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
Qualitative data can improve our understanding of the relationship between the built environment and health behaviors, especially the psycho-social or ecological barriers that may prevent residents from utilizing existing resources.

The CDC awarded Community Health Councils (CHC) a three-year REACH Demonstration Project grant to improve health conditions among high risk residents in South Los Angeles.  Three high schools with School-Based Health Centers were selected as study sites.

Focus groups explored prevailing beliefs, attitudes, and experiences among adults and adolescents about their nutritional, recreational, and health care resource environments.  Quantitative data was collected on participants’ health behaviors and socio-demographic characteristics.

Four focus groups with adolescents (n=28) and eight with adults (n=47) were conducted.  75% of participants were female; 36% identified as Black/African-American and 57% as Hispanic/Latino. Findings suggest similar barriers to healthy eating exist across South LA including a lack of healthy food options and high availability of unhealthy food. Adolescents provided recommendations to improve and increase consumption of school lunches. Safety was a key barrier to mobility, yet differences in the type of concerns were identified. As expected, adolescents exhibited a higher level of awareness of school health resources, while adults expressed a high level of interest in shared use for physical activity.

Policies and plans aimed at improving neighborhood resources should incorporate community members’ perspectives. The findings suggest school sites can be leveraged as a key environment for health promotion resources and activities for adolescents and adults in underserved communities, especially shared use policies.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe a framework for using qualitative data collection (i.e. focus groups) to elicit community-based perspectives about health in an underserved community. Compare barriers and facilitators to healthy living across 3 neighborhood-level environments in South LA. Discuss the integration of health promotion resources and policy strategies to eliminate health disparities in low-income urban communities.

Keyword(s): Community-Based Health, Obesity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the Project Assistant for the CDC funded REACH Demonstration Project evaluation team since 2013. I am also a current Public Policy and Management PhD candidate at the University of Southern California where I study nutritional behavior and policy in California.
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.