Neighborhood Eating and Activity Advocacy Teams (NEAAT): engaging older adults in policy activities to improve food and physical environments
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- Buman, M.P., Winter, S.J., Baker, C. et al. Behav. Med. Pract. Policy Res. (2012) 2: 249. doi:10.1007/s13142-011-0100-9
Local food and physical activity environments are known to impact health, and older adults are generally more vulnerable to health-related environmental impacts due to poorer physical function and mobility impairments. There is a need to develop cost-conscious, community-focused strategies that impact local food and physical activity environment policies. Engaging older adult community residents in assessment and advocacy activities is one avenue to address this need. We describe the Neighborhood Eating and Activity Advocacy Team project, a community-based participatory project in low-income communal housing settings in San Mateo County, CA, as one method for engaging older adults in food and physical activity environment and policy change. Methods and strategies used by the “community action teams” to generate relevant neighborhood environmental data, build coalitions, prioritize complex issues, and advocate for change are presented. Advocacy groups are feasible among older adults to improve food and physical activity environments.