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How to Stay Healthy: From a Kid's Point of View

Study shares students' perspective on how they incorporate healthy habits into daily life.

A project led byAnna Adachi-Mejia, PhD, a cancer prevention researcher at NCCC, helped Laconia, NH students reflect on how they bring healthy habits into daily life.

Eat right and stay active: we know this can minimize cancer risk. Middle and high school students in Laconia, NH recently used cameras and journals to document what makes it easy (or hard) to incorporate healthy activities into their daily routines.

An innovative "Photovoice" study organized this fall by Anna Adachi-Mejia, PhD, a cancer prevention researcher at Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Center, focused on identifying factors that influence health—from kids' perspectives.

"The idea behind the research project is to understand what makes it easy and what makes it hard to eat fruits and vegetables, be active, and get enough sleep from a participant perspective," explains Adachi-Mejia. This fall, she met with groups of middle school and high school students in Laconia, lent them digital cameras and blank journals, and encouraged them to photograph, write about, and discuss their findings as a group. The students then worked on a photo collage to showcase their work at a community wellness event in October.

Laconia is one of several towns she has worked in over the years. Dr. Adachi-Mejia's project, which was funded by an Institutional Research Grant from the American Cancer Society, has enabled her to obtain perspectives of multiple groups of students from different New Hampshire towns. She has been impressed with how creative and engaged the students have been. "I had a lot of fun working with them," she says. "They took some amazing photos and they had some really insightful things to say."

By Tim Dean

November 18, 2013