BOSTON and WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Youth of color represent the fastest growing segment of the U.S. youth population and make up the majority of young people in about half of the country's 100 largest U.S. cities. According to new research by the Center for Promise, the research institute of America's Promise Alliance, fear, along with inequitable access to social supports, opportunities and experiences essential for healthy development, place this group at increased risk for poor health outcomes.
Barriers to Wellness: Voices and Views from Young People in Five Cities is a first-of-its-kind, youth-led assessment that provides new insight into the obstacles to wellness young people of color face in five cities across the nation. The study, funded by Target, represents an important contribution to the emerging practice of youth participation in community research partnerships, which promises new insights when young people are both partners and leaders in research designed to influence program development and policy solutions. With guidance from university-based researchers, teams of young people, age 13 and older, in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Philadelphia, and St. Paul designed their own assessments of health and wellness challenges facing peers in their communities. Despite differences in approach and geography, the young researchers found meaningfully similar results. Across all five cities, youth of color cited stressors like racial profiling, lack of access to community resources, unsafe neighborhoods, and fear of police - alongside traditional health challenges like drug use - as major obstacles to wellness.