Digital Education for Youth and Students| Volume 54, ISSUE 7, SUPPLEMENT , S5, July 2022

O09 Exploring Challenges, Successes, and Benefits of Online YPAR Programming from Both Nutrition Educators and Youth's Perspectives

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      Implemented as part of a Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) program, YPAR (Youth-led Participatory Action Research) aims to empower youth to achieve policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes that support community health and nutrition. During the COVID-19 pandemic, YPAR programming had to be adapted to online delivery, in compliance with health and safety guidelines.


      The objective of this study was to ascertain the challenges, successes, and benefits of online YPAR programming, plus future program implications, from the perspectives of the youth and the nutrition educators.

      Study Design, Setting, Participants

      Qualitative interviews were conducted via Zoom with all 8 nutrition educators who aimed to implement YPAR programming during the 2020-2021 school year. A retrospective Qualtrics survey was used to gain information from 54 youth who participated in the online YPAR program.

      Measurable Outcome/Analysis

      Researchers performed a thematic analysis of the interviews and youth survey responses to the open-ended questions. Descriptive statistics were calculated for youth and educators’ preferences for future programming.


      Top challenges for nutrition educators were difficulties building relationships – especially when cameras were off; adapting the in-person YPAR curriculum for online delivery; and planning and facilitation required more time for online meetings. The top successes and benefits were online format encouraged innovative use of technology; it allowed folks to connect with each other even during tumultuous times; made some planning, documentation, and logistics elements of meetings easier. Top challenges for youth were internet and technical difficulties; communication and connection; difficulty focusing or lack of engagement. Finally, 50% of nutrition educators and 45% of youth respondents preferred using a hybrid format (a mix of in-person and online delivery).


      Delivering the YPAR program online presented expected challenges, but also provided successes and benefits. Consequently, most participants preferred a hybrid format (mix of in-person and online) for future YPAR programming.


      Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education.