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Thesis: Health Entrepreneurship among Pacific youth in South Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand

Talofa Lava Losi Sa'uLilo is Samoan and currently completing her PhD in public health at the Auckland University of Technology (AUT). Her work and academic experience is diverse; having graduated with a Bachelor of Sport and Recreation and more recently a Master of Public Health and working with communities primarily young people nationally and internationally as a researcher and community health promotion liaison. Since 2014, Losi has been working primarily with Pacific youth developing the concept of health champions in fruit and vegetable-based entrepreneurship to increase fruit and vegetable consumption in the fight against NCDs in 3 Pacific countries: Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa. Of these 3-way Pacific projects, her PhD focuses on working with Pacific youth community in Auckland, New Zealand. Losi is currently seeking potential Pacific youth who are interested in or are current fruit and vegetable-based entrepreneurs interested in taking part. Summary of her thesis is below. For more information her details and profile are as follows:

Losi Sa’uLilo E: losi.sau.lilo@aut.ac.nz M: 02102242043

Thesis title

Health Entrepreneurship among Pacific youth in South Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand: Using Talanoa participatory action research in the co-design of fruit and vegetable enterprise

Thesis Summary

Consuming two fruit and three vegetables per day is associated with a plethora of good health outcomes and aids in the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as obesity and type 2 diabetes but Pacific peoples in Aotearoa New Zealand across all age groups are not consuming enough fruits and vegetables to meet the recommended dietary intakes for good health outcomes. Youth have the capacity to add value to solutions for NCDs as they are key players in current public health movements such as that of NCD prevalence in the construct of social youth entrepreneurship initiatives. Thus, coupled with combining youth entrepreneurial skills with the design of fruit and vegetable enterprises could contribute to addressing the current NCD public health issue and improve the eating of fruits and vegetables. The incorporation of social media marketing will be a crucial component of this research to not only empower youth as role models through the digital promotion of their own stories, but also because platforms such as Facebook and Instagram in today’s digital society present opportunities to widely disseminate advocacy about healthy eating practices and influence policy makers. To date, there is little research conducted on the issues of fruit and vegetable eating; and the nature of youth enterprise in healthy eating.  Therefore, the aim of this research is to create an opportunity for youth to voice their experiences and ideas about heathy eating enterprises and empower or inspire others, to contribute to a model of Pacific youth entrepreneurship for fruit and vegetable eating. Using a qualitative co-design Pacific based epistemological framework; Talanoa participatory action research, this research will explore the role of Pacific youth as health entrepreneurs in fruit and vegetation enterprises, or indeed fruit and vegetable entrepreneurship and NCDs or Pacific youth leadership and NCDs, investigating the links between such entrepreneurship and reducing the prevalence of NCDs.  In doing so, a series of Talanoa/storytelling sessions will be used in a collaborative and digital oriented approach and analysed through inductive thematic data analysis. This is a comparative study conducted in the Fijian context, that will draw upon and reflect a study undertaken in urban Suva, Fiji exploring the perspectives of youth entrepreneurs in the Fijian fruit and vegetable industry. It is envisaged this research will contribute to knowledge base on Pacific youth health entrepreneurship and other leadership roles, in the context of actions to promote fruit and vegetable eating within a sustainable food system. This is vital to inform current and future government policy and practice.