All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Glenda L Smith

Advisory Committee Members

Pamela Bowen

Becky Christian

Loretta Cormier

Shannon Morrison

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Nursing


Nearly 36% of African American children ages 2 to 19 are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity results in children with social and psychological disorders, chronic disease, and an increase in morbidity and mortality. Solutions have been offered but none have made a significant impact on African American children living in the Southern United States. Studies that implement life style change produce short-term reductions in African American children but few show life-long change. Parents are responsible for making lifestyle choices for children, it is imperative to understand parental perceptions of child and adolescent obesity and its relationship to lifestyle change. The constructivist paradigm was used to grasps the knowledge of African American’s interpretation of their reality, their beliefs and experiences in their environment related to the phenomenon of child and adolescent obesity. A modified ethnographic approach was employed to understand and examine the cultural roots of the phenomena of child and adolescent obesity in African American children. A purposive sample of 15 African American parent/caregivers and 15 of their children, aged 6-19, were recruited from four faith-based facilities. A data form was used to collect the child's actual height, weight and calculated BMI. An interview guide of open-ended questions composed by the researcher was used to facilitate focus group discussions. Recorded interviews were transcribed and reviewed for accurate reflection of the focus group interviews. Field notes, journaling, observations, and transcripts were reviewed observing for themes. The themes were coded based on the interviews, patterns of thought, and behavior expressed by the participants to understand the perception that African American parents have related to child and adolescent obesity. Data were uploaded into NVivo 11 to assist with capturing, organizing, and finalizing analysis of collected data. Final data analysis results revealed themes: false perception, culture and traditions, time and convenience, and expenses. Culture and traditions were found to be very significant to this African American population thus possibly contributing to child and adolescent obesity. Further studies on African Americans, their perceptions and perspectives of child and adolescent obesity will help researchers understand and implement culturally appropriate interventions in this population.

Included in

Nursing Commons



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