How was the Hook up project evaluated?
The project showed that peer-led breast health promotion campaigns could impact young women’s lifestyle choices and motivate them to follow positive strategies to reduce their risk for breast cancer in the future.
The purpose of the Hook Up to Breast Cancer Prevention project was to identify the effectiveness and impact of a peer-led health promotion campaign model on awareness, attitudes and intentions of young women, ages 16 20 to reduce their risks for developing breast cancer in their future.
The evaluation combined process, formative and outcome evaluation methods to measure the effectiveness of the project activities in eight trials in high schools and post-secondary settings in four regions of Ontario.
The project activities: There were four major activities involved in the Hook Up to Breast Cancer Prevention project.
1. Peer education training workshops were provided to young women in high school and post-secondary campuses, in English and French, in four regions in Ontario to provide knowledge, explore attitudes and develop skills that would assist them in creating a Hook up to Breast Cancer Prevention campaign.
2. Trained peer leaders provided a Hook up to Breast Cancer Prevention campaign for their peers using a variety of formats including environmental supports and communication tools.
3. A resource for mothers and other caring women to support the key messages of the young women’s initiative was developed.
4. Key messages Eat smart. Get physical. Limit the alcohol. and the tagline Breast Cancer: You can do something about it. were identified for the campaign and promotional items were made available to support the campaigns.
The project trials: Peer educators were recruited in eight schools three English high schools, two French high schools, and three English universities, in four regions in Ontario: North, East, Southwest and Central (Toronto). The peer educators participated in a one day training workshop in which they gained information about breast cancer, risk factors and how to develop and deliver a health promotion campaign for their peers. Each school campaign was planned by the peer educators in accordance with their skills, interests and the school environment. Each campaign was required to have all three risk factors addressed and provide messaging about each of the three preventive strategies (Eat smart. Get physical. Limit the alcohol.) Each group delivered creative and informative campaigns for their peers.
The Evaluation Results: The evaluation of the project trials showed that the peer educators and the participants they outreached to learned a great deal from the campaigns and a high percent indicated that they intended to modify their eating, physical activity and drinking to decrease their risks for breast cancer.
Overall, the Hook Up to Breast Cancer Prevention model proved to be a practical and evidence-based way to integrate risk factors related to breast cancer, engage youth in chronic disease prevention and motivate young women specifically to take ownership and control of their health.
For the complete Hook up to breast cancer prevention Project Evaluation (Glover, Chris. Parent Action on Drugs. 2010) click here.