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A qualitative study on the perceptions of African-American family strengths, health and childhood obesity

Chiquita A Briley, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


To discover the perceptions of African-American families on the issues of African-American strengths, health and childhood overweight/obesity, three in-depth interviews were conducted with attenuated nuclear (single-parent), extended and simple-nuclear families. A total of six adults participated. Results indicated that these African-American families depended on community agencies to assist with resources. Spirituality/God and the concept of Church provide non-kinship bonds to create extended families and support systems. Resiliency was indicated as a mechanism to resolve adversity. Health data described that financial stability has a factor on the health status of African-Americans. Families interviewed suggested that the cost of food items was a determining reason for food selection. On the issue of childhood obesity, none of the families could provide an accurate definition. Many of them made a distinction between “overweight” and “obesity” indicating that being overweight meant that a child could still be healthy whereas obesity meant that a child was extremely large and could not perform daily living activities. Families also suggested there were various levels of being overweight. Cultural and regional difference in the acceptance of childhood overweight/obesity was a factor that dictated acceptance of an overweight/obesity weight status. There was consensus among families that parents and family members played a major part in being role models for positive nutrition behaviors. Interventions need to combine African-American family strengths and their outlook on childhood obesity in order to provide more culturally sensitive and competent nutrition information. ^

Subject Area

Health Sciences, Nutrition|Health Sciences, Public Health

Recommended Citation

Briley, Chiquita A, "A qualitative study on the perceptions of African-American family strengths, health and childhood obesity" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3159534.