Project 2 Research
Guide to the B’More Healthy Communities for Kids Study
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Photovoice: Developing an obesity prevention program with photography
Kids share pictures and tell stories to change their community
The Center’s Photovoice project wrapped up at two youth recreation centers in Baltimore last month. The project provided cameras to children 10 to 13 to help them capture their perspectives of the local food environment through photography. The images and stories helped spark discussion about food choices and the availability of nutritious options—and their impact on health.
Photovoice was led by Center trainees and PhD students Betsy Anderson and Kate Abowd Johnson. They developed the exercise and led discussion sessions with the participants. The children’s photographs were collected and were used as starting points for thinking about problems with finding nutritious foods, obstacles to making health choices, and step the participants could take to fix some of these problems.
The Center is also starting a peer-mentoring project to help empower youth to become drivers of change in their own communities. These peer leaders will work within their communities to highlight the need for better local food options. The Photovoice project will provide content for these mentors to create and distribute photo novellas promoting healthy eating and showing some of the obstacles to making healthy choices.
Using Agent-based Systems Modeling to Estimate Intervention Effects
The B'More Healthy Communities for Kids (Project 2) is developing an agent-based model of the food environment in neighborhoods around recreation centers where Project 2 will intervene. The purpose of this new tool is to engage and initiate discussions with policy makers and other key stakeholders about potential solutions to improve the food environment in Baltimore City. Using existing databases, the model includes key variables associated with all food sources (corner stores, carry-outs, supermarkets, etc.), schools, and recreation centers, all of which will be plotted onto a detailed GIS map. Consultations with a panel of nine experts on the Baltimore City food environment have been conducted to further inform the model. With 100 agents representing children in the range of 10-14 years, a number of parameters will be "tested" to assess the impact of various policy options, including the level of healthy food options sold in corner stores and carryout stores, healthy food displays and promotions in small food stores, training of small food store owners, and more. Project 2 staff are continuing to build and refine this model with evidence supplied by the data being collecting in Project 2 and additional community resources.