UCI Undergraduate Tessa Pulido presented her research at the 117th American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meeting in San Jose, November 14-18. The 2018 conference theme was Change in the Anthropological Imagination: Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation. The title of her presentation was "Defining Health Behavior Practices of Low-Income Youth."
Ms. Pilodo is a senior, double majoring in Education Sciences and Public Health Policy. She serves as lab assistant in PhD student David Da Wei Liu's Super Science Squad Lab.
Health behavior research has primarily focused on health behaviors of the individual and how the individual can modify behavior to improve health outcomes. However, there must be a shift in the way health behavior is understood and studied to best understand how individuals can learn and practice healthy behaviors without solely looking to the individual to change their behavior and not considering a change in the environment. The purpose of this study is to look at health behavior through a Social Practice Theory perspective in order to answer the following questions: 1) What do low income kids understand to be a healthy behavior and where do they engage in these behaviors? 2) How does engagement, whether it be the behavior or extent of practicing the behavior, change depending on the setting they are in? I used thematic analysis with MAXQDA software to analyze recorded lesson plans. My preliminary findings were (a) students understand that eating breakfast at home and at school is a healthy practice and (b) student health practices, such as consuming sugar, change between settings, such as from home to school. Based on these findings, I concluded that students apply health practices in multiple settings.