This year, we've been working with young people in Hackney, with the challenge of researching and producing a documentary that will look at some of the factors that have affected their health and well-being; with the aim of raising awareness and ultimately hoping to offer solutions for the community to tackle any problems we encounter. The project was funded by Hackney Council’s Healthy Next Generation grants programme.
As part of the project, we equipped a group of young people with filmmaking skills and equipment, which they could then use to work together to understand and tackle the obesity crisis in their community. They gained skills and knowledge from industry professionals, gaining work experience as well as developing their self management and project management skills, with the end goal of creating a short piece looking at the eating habits, problems and solutions within their community.
Alongside this, we also ran a series of creative arts workshops, utilising filmmaking, drama and arts and crafts to allow young people and their families to reflect on their experience of healthy living in Hackney.
This gave participants in schools, youth/community centres, and their families a chance to improve their knowledge and raise their awareness on some of the cultural and environmental barriers they face to living a healthy lifestyle in Hackney.
The short documentary film made by our young filmmakers and the stat videos made by Blueprint can be viewed below.
Our project directly benefited 345 individuals all from Hackney. Although we would have preferred to strike a balance between adults and young people, the latter made up the vast majority of this total. From our various avenues of research, we were able to highlight key statistics which we then turned into bitesize kinetic typography videos. Using social media to post and promote these videos, we were able to reach nearly 50,000 views. Below are some of the findings of our research, collated from interviews and workshops.
- 100% of interviewees said they were influenced by fast food advertisements, usually online, but also on radio.
- 80% mentioned they only sawdust food advertisements locally.
- 100% of all young people interviewed stated that parents encouraged them to make healthy choices at school.
- 95% of young people will eat at home when their family have prepared meals for them.
- 90% of young people interviewed will get a takeaway when parents are away and haven’t prepared food ahead of time.
- 96% of young people stated they would not spend more than £5 on food. Chicken and chip shops are cheaper than other options.
- 70% of young people mentioned they did not take part in any physical activity outside of school
- Only 20% of young people mentioned they took part in additional physical activity on the weekends.
- 19% of young people interviewed mentioned parents would not allow them to be out as late when it was dark.
- 9% of young people mentioned they could not go to the youth centre after school and had to go straight home when a stabbing or fatal incident of a local teen had occurred locally.
- 60% stated they often saved their pocket money for video games.
- 100% of parents interviewed at the ‘Shoreditch Trust Cook and Eat’ sessions said they would like to take part in healthy cooking lessons with their children, and really enjoyed them. However, due to a lack of time, they often found this difficult.
From the statistics we were able to gather from interviews and discussions with young people in Hackney, we wanted to think about what possible solutions we could offer to issues raised, if any. Our findings show that environmental factors played the biggest factor in preventing young people from leading healthier lifestyles. Another common thread throughout all interviewees was that convenience and price were also key to eating habits. For instance if a parent wasn't there to cook a meal, they'd turn to takeaways - and usually they would prefer to spend less than £5 on food. With these findings in mind, here are some potential solutions to help tackle the common issues.
- Increase radius of ban on takeaways near schools AND youth centres.
- Regular provision of healthy food and snacks in youth centres.
- Ban on all fast food advertising.
- Increase healthy cooking lessons in schools and youth centres.
- Increase heathy cooking pop-up activities and lessons in schools so that young people do not have to travel to a youth centre, particularly during winter seasons.
- Free provision of healthy school snacks
- Increase free or affordable opportunities to physical activities after school
- Provide Obesity awareness lessons/workshops in schools and youth centres
- Awareness raising sessions for parents
- Awareness raising sessions on cultural differences in food preparation for young people and their parents too.
- Declare calories and traffic light contents.
- Youth centres ban food in and provide food options and cooking classes.
- Snacks on the way out of school stop them buying sweets on the way home.
- Healthier/cheaper option by law for takeaways.