Poster Topical Area: Community and Public Health Nutrition
Poster Board Number: 142
Objective: Working adolescents are a unique subpopulation of youth who demonstrate more at-risk behaviors for obesity than their non-working counterparts. The purpose of this exploratory study was to collect data via focus group discussions (FGDs) to understand the eating and sleeping behaviors of working adolescents employed in the food-service industry prior to developing a school-based intervention.
Methods: Eleven questions, guided by the Precede-Proceed Model, were developed with matched objectives to identify predisposing, enabling and reinforcing factors of working adolescents' eating and sleeping behaviors and perceived barriers to making healthy choices. To participate, students met specific inclusion criteria and provided written consent. Three FGDs were conducted at two high schools and at a community site between January 2017 and June 2017. The FGDs were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis of the data identified themes that emerged during the FGDs. A code manual was developed and consisted of a priori and emergent codes used to label and categorize the data.
Results: All of the participants (n=12) self-identified as African American (100%). The majority were female (83%). High school freshmen (8%), sophomores (8%), juniors (75%), and seniors were represented. The mean age of the adolescents was 17.0 ± 0.0 years. Participants indicated that they understood the components and importance of a healthy lifestyle as it related to their personal goals. Working adolescents reported frequently skipping meals, increased snacking, high consumption of convenience foods, lack of sleep and exhaustion resulting in napping throughout the day, and having to manage time between work and school. Adolescents described perceived barriers to making healthier choices that included lack of time, cost of food, environmental influences, family and social influences, and lack of availability/accessibility of food.
Conclusion: These data and nascent themes will be used to inform the development of a school-based intervention intended to empower working adolescents to make healthy lifestyle choices.
This project was funded in part by Hatch Act Funds # LAB 94331.
Louisiana State University
Baton Rouge, Louisiana