The Journal of Primary Prevention

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 433–438 | Cite as

Process and Outcomes From a Youth-Led Campaign to Address Healthy Eating in an Urban High School

  • Leah FrerichsEmail author
  • Sarah Sjolie
  • Matthew Curtis
  • Melissa Peterson
  • Terry T.-K. Huang
Brief Report


This article describes a pilot youth advocacy initiative for obesity prevention informed by social cognitive theory, social network theory, and theories of community mobilization. With assistance from school and health leaders, adolescent-aged youth led a cafeteria food labeling and social marketing campaign. We implemented an anonymous survey 2 weeks prior to and again at the conclusion of the campaign, and used cafeteria records to track servings of fruits and vegetables. The campaign resulted in a significant increase in youths’ confidence to identify healthy foods (OR 1.97, 95 % CI 1.01, 3.84, p = .048), and a significant increase in per person per day servings of fruits (0.02, p = .03) and vegetables (0.01, p = .02). The results of our pilot were promising, and the integration of concepts from multiple theories benefited the implementation process. Obesity prevention initiatives should include strategies that encourage youth to create health promotion community networks and lead changes to their social and physical environments.


Childhood obesity Nutrition and diet Community health 



The authors would like to thank the Omaha Public School Nutrition Services for their support and assistance with this project. Frerichs and Huang are supported in part by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living Research (Grant # 68502) and the Nebraska Research Initiative.

Compliance With Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leah Frerichs
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Sarah Sjolie
    • 2
  • Matthew Curtis
    • 3
  • Melissa Peterson
    • 3
  • Terry T.-K. Huang
    • 1
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Health Promotion, Social and Behavioral Health, College of Public HealthUniversity of Nebraska Medical CenterOmahaUSA
  2. 2.Alegent Creighton HealthOmahaUSA
  3. 3.Omaha South High Magnet SchoolOmahaUSA
  4. 4.Center for Health Equity ResearchUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  5. 5.City University of New YorkNew YorkUSA

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