Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Childhood obesity is a prevalent chronic condition affecting millions of children and adolescents in the United States and is rising in record-breaking numbers among African Americans in low-income communities. Guided by the social cognitive theory, the purpose of this evidence-based project was to understand the impact of an educational intervention on parents' perceptions of childhood obesity risk factors, weight status, and prevention strategies in a rural South Carolina community. A convenience sample of parents who attended a church-based community health promotion service in a low-income area (n = 10), aged 28 to 54, completed The Childhood Obesity Perceptions survey before and after the completion of the educational program. The pretest and posttest responses were analyzed with paired sample t tests and frequency tables. There were several responses with a statistically significance change (p < .05), including the impact of obesity on the development of diabetes, stroke, cancer, and bone or joint problems. Survey participants strongly agreed (90%) that they could help their children live a healthier lifestyle by initiating preventive strategies which include providing healthy snacks and increasing exercise. Findings suggest that African American parents in low-income communities would benefit from regularly occurring education on the prevention of childhood obesity, including information on healthy diet choices, exercise, and the risk factors for childhood obesity. By educating parents, healthcare providers and community leaders can begin forming community health and childhood obesity prevention programs that support positive social change and help low-income families to achieve healthy lifestyles.