Interpersonal Communication , , , , , ,

Talking WITH teens

Tomorrow evening I and a team of colleagues/community collaborators are hosting a community forum with teens and adults living in a rural North Carolina county.  Our goal is to talk about health in this rural community, and how we can improve the health of everyone in an area weighed down by obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and stroke.

The forum is the culmination of many months of work by teens and adults who took pictures of health/poor health in their community; these groups came together weekly to discuss their pictures and their findings, and ways to move forward. Tomorrow, these Photovoice groups, as they are called, will share their ideas and concerns with the broader community and ask everyone “WHAT NOW?”

Which is always a good question to ask. One of our biggest concerns is how to effectively reach out to kids and teens with health information/resources AND include their families in the conversation and health behavior changes. Childhood obesity may be a concern in the community, but if adults aren’t willing to change their behavior along with the kids, how are the kids supposed to eat healthy food, join sports teams, and stop eating all the donuts during coffee hour at church on Sunday?

What are your ideas for reaching out to teens and their families? What role do you think teens play in their own health, versus the responsibilities of the adults in their lives? Do you have novel solutions to reaching teens and parents simultaneously with health messages?


Image courtesy of imagerymajestic.