This Spring's Youth Advocacy Video & Members' Workshop

07 December 2022

The SOA’s Youth Advocacy Video Project

Childhood obesity in Scotland has gotten worse since the COVID-19 pandemic, with children from low-income families most at risk of obesity and its related illnesses. And yet, young people are exposed to food marketing and promotions targeted at them every day.


One thing that many advocacy campaigners recognise is that there are often many other competing and sometimes more impactful messengers than ourselves, such as those living with or affected by an issue like obesity. In the case of children’s health, at the SOA we recognise that young people may be more impactful and persuasive experts than even the most experienced researcher or advocate in the field.


That’s why we’re excited to announce our latest youth advocacy project. This Spring, we plan to co-produce a video, developed by young people capturing their direct experiences of the marketing of foods high in fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS) and how people’s environments encourage the consumption of HFSS foods.


Creating the video involves four stages. In Stage 1, we will host workshops with young people aged 11-16 to discuss their ideas for the video. Then, the young people will go back home and capture photos and videos of unhealthy food marketing that they see in their daily lives, both in their physical environment and on social media. With this approach, we hope to gain insight into young people’s lived experiences, prioritising attention to the mundane and every day, as well as to capture the extraordinary. In Stage 3, we will host another round of discussions, during which the young people will share how the unhealthy food marketing they encounter affects their daily lives, and how this is captured in their photos and videos. Finally, in addition to their photos and videos being used in SOA’s advocacy video, the young people will help us produce it, taking a leading role in script writing, shaping the video’s key messages, and overseeing the creative vision of the video.


Not only will this project provide us with a personal and hopefully impactful video that speaks to diverse audiences such as MSPs, it will also empower a new generation to advocate for themselves as their voices help shape policy regarding food promotions and other facets of the obesogenic food environment. This video will be available for all of our members to share and use in their own advocacy work.


SOA's December Members’ Workshop

This image was taken from one of our members’ workshop discussions.


On December 1, our members had the opportunity to learn about the video and comment on how to recruit participants and publicise the video to maximise its impact. We discussed the importance of creating a medium for young people that uses their own voices to not only communicate their experiences to MSPs, but also to connect with each other and empower their peers to speak out.


Our members had a lot of ideas when it came to helping to create and publicise the video. We discussed the importance of preserving the autonomy of young people and the authenticity of their message in the video, the best ways to recruit and include a diverse range of voices representing young people from across Scotland. We would like to thank all those who participated, as their input will help shape our thinking on how to make the video more powerful.


We will keep you updated as we move forward with the project. We are also planning to have an in-person members’ event in the New Year, and will be launching some new blog series next year. Until then, we wish you all a wonderful holiday season and a Happy New Year.