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Fighting Obesity: Healthy Teens on the Move

Roosevelt High School - Credit by: Jorge Tobar, Senior
Roosevelt High School - Credit by: Jorge Tobar, Senior
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The Power of Stories is an archive of projects submitted every year to Building Healthy Communities (BHC) Statewide Convening. It showcases work created throughout California highlighting the power of individual and collective efforts to promote health and demonstrates how stories have the power to re-imagine and transform our communities. Produced in partnership with the California Endowment.

Project submitted by Belinda Campos, MPH

Project summary The Photovoice Project gives insight into where we can begin to focus to fight obesity and type II diabetes among youth in Boyle Heights.

BHC Site Boyle Heights

Roosevelt High School - Credit by: Martha Vasquez, Senior
Roosevelt High School - Credit by: Martha Vasquez, Senior

Photovoice blends a grass roots approach to social action with photography. Photovoice entrusts cameras to the hands of the community to enable them to act as recorders, and potential catalysts for social action and change. It is a process by which people can identify, represent, and enhance their community through a specific photographic technique. By using the immediacy of the visual image and accompanying stories promotes an effective means of to create needed public policy.

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In Boyle Heights, Photovoice is being implemented by the Healthy Teens on the Move (HTOM) group (a group of dedicated local teens at Roosevelt High School) to give voice to what impacts teens in our community. Organized by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy and sponsored by The California Endowment, these selected teens are a part of the Building Healthy Communities Boyle Heights initiative to help bring an end to childhood obesity. Our teens are taking pictures of the environments within Roosevelt High School that influence their eating and physical activity choices. Their pictures give insight into where we can begin to focus to fight obesity and Type II diabetes among youth in Boyle Heights. Our teens show amazing talent in photography, and beyond their value to the community, their pictures are moving works of art.

Roosevelt High School - Credit by: Martha Vasquez, Senior
Roosevelt High School - Credit by: Martha Vasquez, Senior

Photovoice has three goals.

  • To enables people to record and reflect their community's strengths and problems.
  • To promote dialogue about important issues through group discussion and photographs.
  • To engage policymakers.

Photovoice goes beyond the conventional role of community assessment by inviting people to promote their own and their community's well-being.

Narrowing down our areas of focus was tough but the students were able to define the areas they wanted to explore and became highly motivated to document and share these, including;

  • the nutrition environment,
  • the school environment,
  • the beverage environment,
  • the anti-bullying, and
  • the local control funding formula (LCFF.)
Roosevelt High School - Credit by: Jorge Tobar, Senior
Roosevelt High School - Credit by: Jorge Tobar, Senior

The teens are part of the Health Happens in Schools and the Steering Committee. Photovoice has been featured at the Healthy Food Forum at Roosevelt High School, presented to LAUSD Board Member Monica Garcia, displayed at the Placas event in April, 2014, and presented at the Building Healthy Communities Boyle Heights site visit.

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