The Youth Health Literacy Challenge: A Partnership between the UT Health San Antonio Libraries, North East ISD, and SAPL

 

  

UT Health San Antonio Libraries partnered with the North East Independent School District Summer Food Service Program and the San Antonio Public Library (SAPL) to provide the Youth Health Literacy Challenge, a project funded by the National Library of Medicine (NLM). This project filled a gap in providing health information during the NEISD Summer Food Service Program’s feeding times at SAPL branches and encouraged youth to log health literacy activities based on challenges written in both English and Spanish. Youth were also provided with a calendar (front cover and sample page shown above) that included kid-friendly recipes, word games, and information on the NLM’s websites for youth. Additionally, a teen cooking program (reported in the August newsletter) was provided at one of the participating library branches.

Due to the complexity of project activities and recent data that 45% of children aged 8-18 in Bexar County are overweight or obese, the Youth Health Literacy Challenge aimed to reach underrepresented and underserved youth in grades 3-12. During the 2015-2016 school year, NEISD reported that 45% of students received free and reduced meals, 57% of students were Hispanic-Latino, and that a large portion of students living near library feeding sites had low family income. These factors indicated a high risk for poor health outcomes and low health literacy in the areas served.

As a Resource Library of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, UT Health San Antonio Libraries used the Youth Health Literacy Challenge to promote awareness of NLM health information resources that could influence youth to practice healthy behaviors. SAPL and UT Health San Antonio Libraries staff handed out 1,838 out of 2,253 calendars during the project period. NEISD staff distributed 1,269 out of 1,900 activity logs. Karen Barton, Liaison and Community Engagement Librarian, served as the Principal Investigator and seeks to collaborate with more feeding and cooking programs in the area in order to promote health information resources.