A Family Activity

Community Empowerment

Advocate for Fruits, Vegetables, and Physical Activity in Your Community

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lesson, participants will be able to:

  • Identify and discuss at least four barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption.
  • Identify and discuss at least four ways to overcome barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption.
  • Identify and discuss at least four barriers to physical activity.
  • Identify and discuss at least four ways to overcome barriers to physical activity.
  • Summarize six steps to advocate for fruits, vegetables, and physical activity at the community level.

Materials

Preparation

  1. Become familiar with the content of each handout prior to implementing the lesson. Photocopy the Steps to Advocate for Fruits, Vegetables, and Physical Activity in Your Community handout for each participant.

Instructions

  1. Divide the class into groups of four to six participants each.
  2. Distribute paper and a pencil to each group. Instruct participants to identify a note-taker and a spokesperson for each group.
  3. Ask the participants to work with their groups to identify barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption. Have participants focus on barriers in their community. Have note-takers record the barriers that their groups identify.
  4. Ask the spokesperson in each group to share the list of barriers. Write the list on the board or sheet of paper for the class to see.
    Examples of barriers:
    • There are too many fast food restaurants in my community.
    • There is a lack of quality fruits and vegetables in my neighborhood grocery store.
    • There is a lack of fruits and vegetables where I work.
    Ask participants to work with their groups to identify solutions to the barriers.
    Examples of solutions:
    • Advocate for fast food restaurants to serve more fruits and vegetables.
    • Urge my local grocery store to sell quality fruits and vegetables.
    • Ask my employer to provide fruits and vegetables in the vending machines and cafeteria where I work.
    Ask the spokesperson in each group to share the list of solutions. Write the list on the board or sheet of paper for the class to see.
  5. Ask participants to work with their groups to identify barriers to physical activity. Have participants focus on barriers in their community.
    Examples of barriers:
    • My neighborhood is not safe for walking.
    • My community does not have bicycle lanes.
    • The walking paths in my community parks are poorly maintained.
    Ask the spokesperson in each group to share the list of barriers. Write the list on the board or sheet of paper for the class to see. Ask participants to work with their groups to identify solutions to the barriers.
    Examples of solutions:
    • Work with local law enforcement to provide safe walking zones.
    • Work with the Department of Transportation to construct bicycle lanes.
    • Work with the Department of Parks and Recreation to restore walking paths.
    Ask the spokesperson in each group to share the list of solutions. Write the list on the board or sheet of paper for the class to see.
  6. Distribute the Steps to Advocate for Fruits, Vegetables, and Physical Activity in Your Community handout to each participant. Describe each step to participants, and allow them time to discuss with their groups how they would apply the steps to one fruit and vegetable solution and one physical activity solution. Have the spokesperson in each group describe how his or her group applied the steps to the solutions.
  7. Encourage participants to continue to work on their fruit, vegetable, and physical activity solutions after class with their groups, friends, family members, and neighbors. Note: To achieve optimal results from this lesson, it is highly recommended that you conduct the expansion ideas with the participants during follow-up classes.

Tips

  • Depending on class length, you may want to conduct the fruit and vegetable barriers/solutions portion of the lesson during one class and the physical activity barriers/solutions portion during another class.
  • Invite a community development professional to your class to discuss how your participants can make positive changes in their communities to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and physical activity.
  • Use the expansion ideas to create a mini-course on community empowerment.

Expansion Ideas

Fruit, Vegetable, and Physical Activity Community Assessment

Plan a follow-up class with the same group, and work with participants to conduct a community assessment to determine what is available in their community and what is lacking in terms of access to quality fruits and vegetables and physical activity opportunities. Photocopy the Fruit and Vegetable Community Assessment (p. H – 22) and Physical Activity Community Assessment (p. H – 23) handouts. Divide the class into two teams, and have one team focus on access to quality fruits and vegetables and the other team focus on opportunities for physical activity. Distribute the Fruit and Vegetable Community Assessment and Physical Activity Community Assessment handouts to the appropriate teams. Work with each team to complete the assessments. After the assessments have been completed, have a follow-up class to discuss the results, and instruct participants to use the Steps to Advocate for Fruits, Vegetables, and Physical Activity in Your Community handout to develop an action plan for improving access to fruits and vegetables and physical activity opportunities.

Community Walkability Checklist

Plan another class with the same group, and work with the participants to conduct a walkability assessment of their community. Photocopy the Walkability Checklist (p. H – 24) handout, and distribute it to participants. After the assessments have been completed, have a follow-up class to discuss the results, and instruct participants to use the Steps to Advocate for Fruits, Vegetables, and Physical Activity in Your Community handout to develop an action plan for improving walking conditions in their community.

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