Dr. May May Leung, an assistant professor at CUNY School of Public Health was the first author on a study published in Global Health Perception.
This study explored self-perceptions of nutrition, physical activity, and health environment, among youth who migrated from rural to urban areas of China. The researcher utilized the community-based participatory research method of photovoice. Migrant male and female youth in Beijing, China, participated in two photovoice assignments focused on personal safety, nutrition, and physical activity.
Photovoice is a group analysis method combining photography with grassroots social action, and is commonly used in the fields of community development, public health, and education. The photographs taken by the youth guided group discussions and semi-structured interviews. Inductive and deductive processes were used to identify codes (ideas emerging from text); similar codes were grouped into themes. Pedestrian safety was the most common personal safety concern. Another safety issue was the excess garbage in the community. Garbage was also a barrier to nutrition and physical activity as it was a food sanitation concern and limited the physical environments where children could play. Schools and community recreation centers were perceived as facilitators of physical activity. However, community centers were also a barrier as a limited number of them caused overcrowding, resulting in safety concerns.
Photovoice enables youth to express their health perceptions. The researchers’ data provide interesting preliminary insight into the lives of Chinese migrant youth, which could help inform the development of interventions and advocate for positive environmental changes for this marginalized population.