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Los Angeles Collaborative Meeting Overview of Youth Activism Against Obesity. March 26, 2009. Youth Activism Against Obesity (YAAO). South LA & Baldwin Park. This project was made possible by a grant from the Vitamin Cases Consumer Settlement Fund.

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youth activism against obesity yaao
Youth Activism Against Obesity(YAAO)

South LA


Baldwin Park

This project was made possible by a grant from the Vitamin Cases Consumer Settlement Fund.

Created as a result of an antitrust class action, one of the purposes of the Fund is to improve the health and nutrition of California Consumers.

yaao goals
YAAO Goals

P: Increase middle school and HS students’ awareness of the health risks of consuming fast food & soda and promote health food choices and PA.

S: Increase student’s involvement in food policy advocacy in school, in the community & the online community

  • Methodology:
    • Evidenced-based marketing strategies
    • Social marketing utilizing Internet social networks
    • Peer leadership
    • Engaging youth as problem solvers
    • Strong focus on a Youth Participatory Model
yaao s marketing objective
YAAO’s Marketing Objective

Social Change



Personal Change




what we know about the target
What we know about the target
  • Limited grasp of valid nutritional, health and exercise knowledge
  • Deceptive marketing/advertising creates anger but they don’t go beyond it
  • Willingness to get behind cause considered worthy
  • Advice from adults is NOT cool
  • Would eat less FF if that made them more attractive
  • Digital natives, social networkers and natural born texters
  • Some are natural leaders, others followers – must target both
media usage oct 2008
Media Usage (Oct 2008)
  • 74% (ages 8-18) live in a home with Internet
  • 60% have access to IM
  • ~ 6 hrs/d (ages 8-18) using media (>1/time)
  • ’99-04 (alt) youth reported using C/I for recreation increased from 27  62 min daily &
  • Internet surfing from 714 min. daily

RWJ: Food and Beverage Marketing to Children & Adolescents: What Changes are Needed to Promote Healthy Eating Habits? October, 2008

connected teens
Connected Teens

Text messaging doubled

2 to 4.7 billion messages

sent (2003 – 2004)

66% of 13 – 24 yr olds routinely

text message


3:4 (ages 15-17)

40% (ages 12-14)

Carry their own cell phone

Center for Science in the Public Interest and RWJ Research 2008

global village
You Tube.com

70-100M clips viewed daily

65K uploaded daily

My Space.com

124 million profiles posted in 2.5 years

mid-2006 attracted 230K new users/d

Global Village


8/6/2006 – 100 millionth account

9/8/2006 – 106 millionth account

training topics
Training topics
  • Nutrition and healthy eating
  • Physical activity
  • Youth as Change Agents
  • The Photovoice Project
  • Media Literacy
  • Social Marketing
  • Working with Celebrities
  • Website Creation / Management
  • Website Messaging
  • Web Video Production
the teen approach
The teen approach
  • Early Adolescents
    • More receptive to adults
    • Rely on adults for direction
    • “Just say no!” works
  • Middle to Late adolescents
    • More concerned with physical appearance
    • Less receptive to authority
    • Look to differentiate themselves
    • Do not like to be told what to do

Newberger, E (1999). The Men They Will Become. Perseus Publishing.

what have we learned so far
What have we learned so far?
  • As students get older, they get less encouragement to conduct PA from their parents
  • 18% surveyed said that they often do physical activity with their friends.
  • 9th graders usually tend to overestimate their weights compared to 10, 11, 12 graders
  • ~60% non-youth leaders (NYL) eat fast food 1-2/week
  • ~20% NYL report eating fresh fruit every day
  • ~26% NYL report eating vegetables every day
  • ~45% NYL report eat home cooked meals every day
best practice truth r campaign
Best practice: truthR campaign
  • Evidenced-based research
  • National youth-focused anti-tobacco

education campaign

  • Empower teens to make informed decisions
  • Blame placed on the industry, not the youth

What is it?

  • Platform for creating Social Networks
  • Offers the latest social networking features
  • Powers the largest number of social networks on the Internet
social media campaign flow
Social Media Campaign Flow

Viral Video

User-driven social content Web sites

Social Networks

Viral Videos

Traffic / Links

Traffic / Links


YAAO Web site & Social Network

Viral Articles

Traffic / Links

creating opportunities
Creating Opportunities
  • Youth collaboration and network with four remaining HEAC sites in CA
  • Youth collaboration with network and non-network funded agencies sharing same goals
  • Youth become content creators
  • Youth find their advocacy voice
  • Peer to peer mentoring
  • Empower youth to take responsibility, speak up, raise awareness, organize, and drive real change in their communities