Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition, Obesity
Objectives : To explore the perceptions of the youth regarding the summer food environment in a rural Appalachian Mississippi community using photovoice methodology.
Methods : A 4-week summer food education program was implemented in an economically-distressed community in a rural Appalachian Mississippi community. The program included STEM education with a food-based curriculum and provision of lunch to youth participating in the summer reading program in a public library. Eleven youth, 13 to 18 years were recruited, and 5 (45%) students completed the study. Participants received an introduction to photovoice, a disposable camera, a log book, a handout of photography tips, and photo release forms. Participants also took part in a focus group to engage in dialogue about the meaning of their pictures and to record their perceptions, opinions, attitudes, and experiences about the local food environment. The naturalized approach was utilized to transcribe the focus group meeting, followed by color coding and assigning pseudonyms. Transcripts were coded using NVivo 11 and analyzed for key themes. Firstly, transcripts were coded independently, then themes were generated using a collaborative approach. Data were analyzed using grounded theory, including the open-coding method (Initial coding), followed by in-vivo coding and focused coding.
Results : Analysis of photographs, log books, and focus group data revealed 7 themes related to a healthier summer food environment, including: 1) improved availability of and access to a healthier, affordable food supply; 2) improved availability and access to charitable food organizations; 3) implementation of child feeding programs when school is not in session; 4) development of a community kitchen; 5) improved communication about the food assistance programs; 6) encouragement of home and community gardening; and 7) improved employment opportunities and work ethic.
Conclusions : These results present insights by youth into the unique challenges of this community and facilitation of a healthier food environment. Engagement of youth in the development of a summer feeding program is warranted as an initial step to improving the food environment for youth.
Funding Sources :
NIH SEPA; UM Foundation Food and Nutrition Security Support Fund (Donor: Monsanto)