Disparities in youth obesity continue despite an increasing number of programs designed to combat this challenge. Policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes hold promise for these populations. This study identifies lessons from adult leaders for youth advocacy programs. Youth Engagement & Action for Health! (YEAH!) is a youth advocacy curriculum for PSE change that promotes healthy behaviors. From 2017-2019, 18 youth-serving organizations recruited 11-14 year olds from low-income urban, suburban, and rural areas. 237 participants in 19 youth groups completed YEAH! with 28 adult leaders. YEAH! adult leaders completed pre- and post-surveys on adult leader characteristics, group structure and dynamics, barriers to success, and technical assistance needs. Researchers interviewed adult leaders at the completion of each YEAH! project. This community based participatory research (CBPR) project engaged adult leaders to collect data, analyze coded transcripts and interpret results. Clubs evaluated with positive outcomes were facilitated by adult leaders who had previous engagement with the youth, showed enthusiasm for youth advocacy, and had access to resources to motivate group cohesion, participation, and commitment. The adult leader steering committee synthesized the findings into a set of best practices and strategies to help group leaders be as successful as possible when leading future youth advocacy groups.
Andrade, E., Cubilla, I. C., Sojo-Lara, G., Cleary, S. D., Edberg, M. C., & Simmons, L. K. (2015). Where PYD Meets CBPR: A Photovoice Program for Latino Immigrant Youth. Journal of Youth Development, 10(2), 55–71. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2015.408
Arnold, M. E., Flesch, J. M., Ashton, C., Black, L., Brody, B., Hosty, M., & Northway, S. (2016). YA4-H! Youth Advocates for Health: Impact of a 4-H Teens-as-Teachers Program. Journal of Extension, 54(6). https://www.joe.org/joe/2016december/rb5.php
Arnold, M. E., Dolenc, B., & Wells, E. E. (2008). Youth community engagement: A recipe for success: the 4-H program provides a model for successful community engagement. Youth and adult partners plan and host community forums to identify community needs and take action to address them. Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, 1(1), 56-. Gale Academic OneFile.
Beier, S. R., Rosenfeld, W. D., Spitalny, K. C., Zansky, S. M., & Bontempo, A. N. (2000). The Potential Role of an Adult Mentor in Influencing High-Risk Behaviors in Adolescents. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 154(4), 327–331. https://doi.org/10.1001/archpedi.154.4.327
Berman, M. (2018). Evaluation of the Healthy Lifestyles Initiative for Improving Community Capacity for Childhood Obesity Prevention. Preventing Chronic Disease, 15. https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd15.170306
Bunnell, R., O’Neil, D., Soler, R., Payne, R., Giles, W. H., Collins, J., Bauer, U., & Communities Putting Prevention to Work Program Group. (2012). Fifty communities putting prevention to work: Accelerating chronic disease prevention through policy, systems and environmental change. Journal of Community Health, 37(5), 1081–1090. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10900-012-9542-3
Borden, L. M., Schlomer, G. L., & Wiggs, C. B. (2011). The evolving role of youth workers. Journal of Youth Development, 6(3), 124-136. doi: 10.5195/jyd.2011.179
Botchwey, N., Jones-Bynes, J., O’Connell, K., Millstein, R. A., Kim, A., & Conway, T. L. (2020). Impact of a youth advocacy policy, systems and environmental change program for physical activity on perceptions and beliefs. Preventive Medicine, 136, 106077. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2020.106077
Botchwey, N., Conway, T. L., Floyd, M., Hipp, A., Kim, A., Pollack Porter, K. M., Umstattd Meyer, M. R., Burnett, J., & Sallis, J. F. (2020). Challenges recruiting diverse youth for physical activity research. Preventive Medicine, 131, 105888. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ypmed.2019.105888
Bozsik, F., Berman, M., Shook, R., Summar, S., DeWit, E., & Carlson, J. (2018). Implementation contextual factors related to youth advocacy for healthy eating and active living. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 8(5), 696–705. https://doi.org/10.1093/tbm/ibx006
Cain KL, Millstein RA, Sallis JF, et al. Contribution of streetscape audits to explanation of physical activity in four age groups based on the Microscale Audit of Pedestrian Streetscapes (MAPS). Social Science & Medicine. 2014;116:82–92. doi:https://doi.org/ 10.1016/j.socscimed.2014.06.042.
Camino, L., & Zeldin, S. (2002). From Periphery to Center: Pathways for Youth Civic Engagement in the Day-To-Day Life of Communities. Applied Developmental Science, 6(4), 213–220. https://doi.org/10.1207/S1532480XADS0604_8
Checkoway, B. (2011). What is youth participation? Children and Youth Services Review, 33(2), 340–345. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.09.017
Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. 2018 National Survey of Children’s Health (NSCH) data query. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Retrieved 7/31/2020 from [www.childhealthdata.org].
Centers for Disease Control. (2017). High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. https://nccd.cdc.gov/Youthonline/App/Results.aspx?LID=XX
Centers for Disease Control. (2019). High School Youth Risk Behavior Survey. https://nccd.cdc.gov/Youthonline/App/Results.aspx?LID=XX
Checkoway, B., Allison, T., & Montoya, C. (2005). Youth participation in public policy at the municipal level. Children and Youth Services Review, 27(10), 1149–1162. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.childyouth.2005.01.001
Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative. (2018) National Survey of Children's Health. Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health supported by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). Retrieved [5/20/20] from www.childhealthdata.org.
Camino, L., & Zeldin, S. (2002). From periphery to center: Pathways for youth civic engagement in the day-to-day life of communities. Applied Developmental Science, 6(4), 213-220.
Christens, B. D., Krauss, S. E., & Zeldin, S. (2016). Malaysian validation of a sociopolitical control scale for youth. Journal of Community Psychology, 44(4), 531-537.
Clement, R., Deering, M., Mikhael, R., & Villa-Garcia, C. (2014). Youth civic engagement and leadership. Retrieved from George Washington University website: https://elliott. gwu. edu/sites/elliott. gwu. edu/files/downloads/Youth% 20CE% 26L_FINAL. pdf.
D’Andrea, M., & Daniels, J. (1999). “Youth Advocacy”. Advocacy in Counseling: Counselors, Clients, & Community. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED435911
Dombrowski, R. D., Welch, S. B., Barnett, G. M., & Cedeño, A. (2013). Model communities as a strategy for achieving policy, systems and environmental change for obesity control and reduction. International Public Health Journal, 5(3), 225.
Evans, W. D., Ulasevich, A., & Blahut, S. (2004). Adult and group influences on participation in youth empowerment programs. Health education & behavior, 31(5), 564-576.
Fialkowski, M.K., Debaryshe, B., Bersamin, A., et al., 2014. A community engagement process identifies environmental priorities to prevent early childhood obesity: the Children’s healthy living (CHL) program for remote underserved populations in the US affiliated Pacific Islands, Hawaii and Alaska. Matern. Child Health J. 18 (10), 2261–2274. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10995-013-1353-3.
Holden, D. J., Crankshaw, E., Nimsch, C., Hinnant, L. W., & Hund, L. (2004). Quantifying the Impact of Participation in Local Tobacco Control Groups on the Psychological Empowerment of Involved Youth. Health Education & Behavior, 31(5), 615–628. https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198104268678
Hunter, A., & Milofsky, C. (2007). Pragmatic liberalism: Constructing a civil society. Springer.
Israel, B. A., Eng, E., Schulz, A. J., & Parker, E. A. (2013). Introduction to methods for CBPR for health (No. 4–42). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Krauss, S. E., Collura, J., Zeldin, S., Ortega, A., Abdullah, H., & Sulaiman, A. H. (2014). Youth–Adult Partnership: Exploring Contributions to Empowerment, Agency and Community Connections in Malaysian Youth Programs. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 43(9), 1550–1562. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10964-013-0027-1
Kulbok, P. A., Rhee, H., Botchwey, N., Hinton, I., Bovbjerg, V., & Anderson, N. L. R. (2008). Factors influencing adolescents' decision not to smoke. Public Health Nursing, 25(6), 505-515.
Linton, L. S., Edwards, C. C., Woodruff, S. I., Millstein, R. A., & Moder, C. (2014). Youth advocacy as a tool for environmental and policy changes that support physical activity and nutrition: An evaluation study in San Diego County. Preventing Chronic Disease, 11, E46. https://doi.org/10.5888/pcd11.130321
McPartland, J. M., & Nettles, S. M. (1991). Using Community Adults as Advocates or Mentors for At-Risk Middle School Students: A Two-Year Evaluation of Project RAISE. American Journal of Education, 99(4), 568–586. JSTOR.
Millstein, R. A., Woodruff, S. I., Linton, L. S., Edwards, C. C., & Sallis, J. F. (2016). A pilot study evaluating the effects of a youth advocacy program on youth readiness to advocate for environment and policy changes for obesity prevention. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 6(4), 648–658. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13142-016-0408-6
Ribisl, K. M., Steckler, A., Linnan, L., Patterson, C. C., Pevzner, E. S., Markatos, E., Goldstein, A. O., McGloin, T., & Peterson, A. B. (2004). The North Carolina Youth Empowerment Study (NCYES): A Participatory Research Study Examining the Impact of Youth Empowerment for Tobacco Use Prevention. Health Education & Behavior, 31(5), 597–614. https://doi.org/10.1177/1090198104268550
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Declining Childhood Obesity Rates: Where Are We Seeing Signs of Progress? Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; 2016:4.
Ross, L., & Coleman, M. (2000). Urban community action planning inspires teenagers to transform their community and their identity. Journal of Community Practice, 7(2), 29-45.
Seif, H. (2011). “Unapologetic and unafraid”: Immigrant youth come out from the shadows. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, 2011(134), 59–75. https://doi.org/10.1002/cd.311
Summerbell CD, Waters E, Edmunds L, Kelly SA, Brown T, Campbell KJ. Interventions for preventing obesity in children. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2005. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/14651858.cd001871.pub2.
Wallerstein, N. B., Yen, I. H., & Syme, S. L. (2011). Integration of Social Epidemiology and Community-Engaged Interventions to Improve Health Equity. American Journal of Public Health, 101(5), 822–830. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2008.140988
Zeldin, S., Christens, B. D., & Powers, J. L. (2013). The Psychology and Practice of Youth-Adult Partnership: Bridging Generations for Youth Development and Community Change. American Journal of Community Psychology, 51(3), 385–397. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-012-9558-y
Zeldin, S., Krauss, S. E., Collura, J., Lucchesi, M., & Sulaiman, A. H. (2014). Conceptualizing and Measuring Youth-Adult Partnership in Community Programs: A Cross National Study. American Journal of Community Psychology, 54(3–4), 337–347.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Copyright (c) 2021 Array