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Using Community-Based Participatory Research to Ignite Youth to Create Healthier Communities

      Background (Background, Rationale, Prior Research, and/or Theory): The growing rate of childhood overweight and obesity suggests a need for more effective obesity prevention programs. Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) is a collaborative approach that allows participation from community members, organizational representatives and researchers to share their expertise in order to enhance knowledge and develop interventions that benefit the whole community.
      Objective: Ignite program is a five-year, multiple-state (Ohio, South Dakota and Kansas) project using CBPR process to address overweight and obesity among 6-8th grade youth. As part of Ignite program, a virtual focus group discussion was conducted, with the main purpose of enabling community members (community leaders, school administrators, and adolescents) to report the policy changes, successes, challenges, and sustainability of Ignite.
      Study Design, Setting, Participants, Intervention: At the end of Year 4 of programming, a virtual focus group of school administrators and counselors (n = 4), community leader (n = 1), Extension educators (n = 2), and youth (n = 13) from the steering committees from each of the three intervention communities was conducted. Focus group participants discussed priority issues and program implementation associated with Ignite.
      Outcome Measures and Analysis: Focus group discussion was recorded, transcribed, and thematically analyzed using NVivo software (QSR International Pty Ltd. Version 10, 2012).
      Results: The themes identified were policy changes (e.g. enhancing availability of breakfast, lunch and healthy snack programs, adding more before, after and in-school wellness programs, and increasing educational opportunities to support healthful eating behaviors and physical activity), successes (e.g. youth and community involvements, school staff engaged, and other wellness supported policy change), challenges (e.g. ecologically spread out in rural area, lack of time and money, and state laws), and new income sources (e.g. other grants, foundation support, incomes from healthy vending machines, and donations).
      Conclusions and Implications: CBPR program promoted healthier dietary and physical activity environment in the intervention schools and communities.
      Funding: USDA.

      Supplementary Data

      The following is the supplementary data to this article: