Wicked Problem Description:
The tobacco and fast food industries take advantage of our youth by spending billions of dollars on targeted advertising and product promotion. Their persistent and insidious tactics result in unhealthy behaviors and pave a road to a lifetime of preventable health problems. Regular market renewal from our youth enhances the ongoing financial success of these industries. Disadvantaged communities throughout rural Kentucky suffer the most from these focused marketing tactics triggering poor health, poor diet, high tobacco use, and reduced quality and longevity of life.
Our initiative is a proof of concept project that seeks to improve healthy behavior in Casey County, Kentucky in rural Appalachia. We will implement a multifaceted strategy that includes: community engagement and collaboration to identify and address unique needs of the area youth, development of a novel health curriculum, and initiation of counter-marketing efforts focusing on third-fifth grades that incorporates peer-engagement of high school and college students. This initiative is needed because current primordial prevention efforts across Kentucky are fragmented, often begin too late, and lack standardization.