Statewide Youth Board on Obesity Prevention
About the Program
The Statewide Youth Board on Obesity Prevention (SYBOP) engages youth throughout California as advocates to prevent childhood obesity.
- During the school year youth attend two statewide trainings to learn about community engagement and public policy
- After conducting research to assess local needs, youth become active participants in the public policy process by developing and implementing projects in their communities which addresses the issues around obesity prevention
- They gain support from partnerships with community based programs; speak at state and national conferences; and conduct outreach to educate their communities, local policymakers, and state officials about the importance of obesity prevention.
This program seeks to train and support youth, infusing them into the obesity prevention dialogue by providing them with the tools to be effective advocates and agents of change in their communities. In recent years, Youth Board participants have:
- Worked to enforce full compliance with nutrition-related legislation
- Written and produced a video documentary about food access
- Created physical spaces at schools for outdoor activity.
Funding for SYBOP is provided by The California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente.
Local Teams in Action
Click on links below for local highlights:
“You discover that when youth work with adults, BIG things happen and the barrier disintegrates.”
- Gwenn Colbert, Youth Participant
- Baldwin Park
- Kettleman City
- Santa Barbara
- South Los Angeles
Below are some examples of the youth’s extraordinary work:
SYBOP youth from Kern County have been developing an innovative way to advocate for change in their community through Video Voice Mapping. This process involves youth videotaping themselves in places they choose within their community, discussing the strengths of those places or areas where they identify a need for change. Similar to Photo Voice youth answer questions about where the places is, what is happening there, how it affects them and what they can do about it. In Kern County this meant exposing a corridor of power lines that had once been used as a dumping ground, but were cleaned up by local youth on their own and turned into a soccer field. Youth used old grocery carts as goals because the school yard across the street was locked and not accessible for young people to play. Young people also highlighted improvements to one of their local schools and changes they helped to make a nearby park. (Top)
In Baldwin Park youth have noticed a shift in the compliance of competitive food sales on their high school campuses. Youth are working with school administration as well as the youth health commissioner to ensure vending machine sales are improved and replaced with healthier food options.
In Kettleman City young people are working towards increasing access to Safe Routes to School as well as increasing access to healthier food options by conducting corner store conversions. (Top)
At MetWest High School in Oakland, youth have identified the need for more nutrition information for students on campus. One way they have addressed this is by taking the lead in coordinating and implementing a Nutrition Education class that is now offered as an elective for their peers. By working with adult allies and school administration, young people have created a curriculum that is engaging, interesting and fun! The team continues to seek partners in the community to help expand their class curriculum and strengthen their overall goal of educating more young adults about healthy eating habits. (Top)
In Pixley, California youth are working to create an environment that provides community members with healthier options by conducting a market makeover. Youth have identified key partners to help support their objectives, and are gathering youth input to help direct their work. (Top)
Santa Barbara youth are partnering with the YMCA and Sansum Diabetes Research institute to conduct a Re-Think Your Drink Campaign. Youth are conducting local trainings to educate community members about the benefits of drinking water. Youth are also participating in their Wellness Council to help increase access to water on their high school campus. (Top)
South Los Angeles
In South Los Angeles youth are working towards improving access to safe and affordable drinking water. Along with continuing their market makeovers youth have noticed a trend in not having access to safe drinking water so they are working with their school and local market owners to ensure residents have access. (Top)
Young people created a photovoice project to highlight the inadequacies at a park in their community and they quickly realized that in order to make progress and increase access to safe places to go they needed to build a lasting partnership with the City. Youth worked along side their adult coordinator to coordinate a meeting with Councilmember Susan Eggman on February 24, 2010 to show their pictures, talk about the changes they would like to see and develop a partnership with the Councilwoman. (Top)
SYBOP youth are working to influence the decisions being made about access to healthy eating and active living in their community and state. Youth participants have identified these issues as priorities for the state based on the sense of urgency youth feel in their own communities, current opportunity for policy making, and changes we feel will create environments which make healthy eating and active living the easier choice the in the long run. Most importantly youth ask that obesity prevention issues be on the to the list of issues that are prioritized for California. In 2009 youth identified the following priority issues:
- Food Justice
- Media and Awareness
- School Meals
- Physical Activity and Physical Education
How to Apply