A Youth-Leader Program in Baltimore City Recreation Centers: Lessons Learned and Applications

Angela C.B. Trude, Elizabeth Anderson Steeves, Cara Shipley, Pamela J. Surkan, Priscila de Morais Sato, Tracey Estep, Stella Clanton, Lisa Lachenmayr, Joel Gittelsohn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Peer-led interventions may be an effective means of addressing the childhood obesity epidemic; however, few studies have looked at the long-term sustainability of such programs. As part of a multilevel obesity prevention intervention, B’More Healthy Communities for Kids, 16 Baltimore college students were trained as youth-leaders (YLs) to deliver a skill-based nutrition curriculum to low-income African American children (10-14 years old). In April 2015, formative research was used to inform sustainability of the YL program in recreation centers. In-depth interviews were conducted with recreation center directors (n = 4) and the YLs (n = 16). Two focus groups were conducted with YLs (n = 7) and community youth-advocates (n = 10). Barriers to this program included difficulties with transportation, time constraints, and recruiting youth. Lessons learned indicated that improving trainings and incentives to youth were identified as essential strategies to foster continuity of the youth-led program and capacity building. High school students living close to the centers were identified as potential candidates to lead the program. Based on our findings, the initial intervention will be expanded into a sustainable model for implementation, using a train-the-trainer approach to empower community youth to be change agents of the food environment and role models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)75-85
Number of pages11
JournalHealth promotion practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018


  • adolescent
  • African American
  • mentoring
  • nutrition
  • sustainability
  • youth-led

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nursing (miscellaneous)


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