American Indian; parent-child communication; environmental health; agent of change model


Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Public Health | Public Health Education and Promotion


While previous research suggests children have successfully acted as health change agents, no studies have examined the role of children in promoting environmental health knowledge and awareness. This study describes parent perceptions of the impact of a five-day water-focused environmental health summer camp on elementary school children in an American Indian community. We interviewed parents about their perception of changes in their child's environmental health knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. Parents in this study confirmed that their child had shared information related to the camp activities. In addition, parents perceived that their children had increased knowledge and positive changes in attitudes and behaviors related to environmental health. We recommend programs promoting children as change agents develop and use materials for parents that facilitate bidirectional communication with youth so to not place the onus wholly on the child. Our study highlights parental perceptions of the ways the voices and actions of children have the potential to be valuable assets in addressing environmental-related health disparities.