Engaging youth using Youth-led Participatory Action Research (YPAR) is a growing public health approach to address nutrition and obesity-related illnesses, especially among United States Department of Agriculture Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education program (SNAP-Ed) implementing agencies. In California, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health provided funding to community-based organizations to conduct four youth-led nutrition education and obesity prevention projects, each using a youth-led participatory action research framework. The projects focused on increasing access to and consumption of fruits and vegetables, increasing daily physical activity opportunities, and decreasing consumption of sugary beverages.
The Public Health Institute’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition (CWN) worked in partnership with Converge Research and Training to examine project implementation, successes, and challenges to inform and refine future youth engagement programs for Los Angeles County.
A variety of research methods were used to assess the YPAR projects, including youth focus groups, key informant interviews, and organizational assessments. CWN discovered factors that contributed to successful implementation of the YPAR framework, innovative use of the framework, and how the framework contributed to improving opportunities to be healthy at the individual, family, school, organizational, and community levels.
This newest report in the series highlights the collective impact and comprehensive approach of the YPAR projects in Los Angeles County. These projects strategically connecting schools with their larger communities and leverages genuine youth and adult partnerships in supporting youth voice for healthy community change, in communities that need it the most.