Food for Thought: Engaging Youth in Creative Knowledge Sharing of School Food Experiences

By Rebecca Spencer, Jessie-Lee McIsaac and Sara Kirk.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic Free Download

Food insecurity is a significant health issue and school environments, including food and nutrition policies, offer a potential setting for upstream action. Youth can be critical change agents but are rarely included in school food decision-making. The purpose of this knowledge translation (KT) project was to engage youth in sharing their food experiences. Youth participated from three sites across Nova Scotia. Creative workshops were held over a period of two days in each community, resulting in a variety of youth-lead creations. A qualitative description approach was employed, and focus group data were transcribed and underwent thematic analysis. Youth created skits, photos, videos, and paintings to share their food experiences and challenges. Several themes emerged, including that convenience and choice are important, youth recognize and experience challenges associated with the cost of food, social influences impact youth food decision-making, and youth perceive little control over what is served and sold at school, but wish to be more engaged. This novel youth-lead KT project resulted in unique creations and themes. The findings and creations were shared with stakeholders and decision makers at a webinar and contribute to an ongoing research program surrounding school food and nutrition.

Keywords: Youth Engagement, Knowledge Translation, School Food Environments, Food Security

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 7, Issue 3, September 2017, pp.53-63. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 793.210KB).

Rebecca Spencer

Instructor, School of Health and Human Performance, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dr. Jessie-Lee McIsaac

Postdoctoral Fellow, Healthy Populations Institute, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Dr. Sara Kirk

Professor, School of Health and Human Performance, and Scientific Director, Healthy Populations Institute, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada