Youth live, play, eat, shop, and learn in their communities but are rarely included in decision-making processes that directly impact their health and nutrition. Engaging and building the capabilities of youth as leaders is an important step toward effective policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) changes. Three counties in California—El Dorado, San Mateo, and Imperial—initiated pilot Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) projects during the 2016-2017 school year. All school sites are located in rural regions that face similar issues, such as lack of access to healthy foods, no walkability, and geographic isolation from the rest of the county. As a result, these communities have high rates of obesity, low physical activity, and poor nutrient intake.
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