How Food & Fitness Community Partnerships Successfully Engaged Youth

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Abstract

Authentic youth engagement was a central component of the Food & Fitness (F&F) Initiative, a 9-year community-based intervention, whose goal was to ensure that all children have equitable access to healthy food and built environments that promote safe physical activity. The youth engagement component focused on strategies and structures that would support a model framework for youth involved in F&F community partnerships. These strategies empowered youth by providing the leadership and technical skills needed in collaborative efforts to sustain change in communities with inequities, where structural racism and inequities result in poor health outcomes for children. This article describes the models that the diverse urban and rural communities across the United States employed to successfully engage youth in the vision and work of F&F and discusses overall lessons learned, challenges, and best practices/recommendations for effectively engaging youth in community-determined change.

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