Date of Conferral





Public Health


Cynthia Tworek


Low-income Hispanic women are the fastest growing minority population in the United States, and they have increased risks of obesity and secondary health issues, such as diabetes, related to their obesity. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore the barriers to lifestyle change among obese, low-income Hispanic women (OLHW). A health belief model lens was used. The study sample consisted of 15 OLHW who were clinic patients and ranged in age from 20-59. Recruitment occurred in a low-income, Southern California, outpatient clinic setting through volunteer participation from recruitment flyers. Fifteen women took part in 1-hour, in-depth interviews, which were digitally audio-taped with their consent. All interviews were transcribed and analyzed using both NVivo 11, and hand coding to identify common themes after word frequency and concept frequency analysis. Common themes identified included barriers of cost, time, physical health, family care, location, knowledge and education, depression and stress, and sleep issues. These findings contribute to the existing literature by increasing public health researchers' and program planners' knowledge of the experiences and obesity-related barriers to health behavior change within this underrepresented minority group, which can provide guidelines for future public health interventions in addressing these barriers. Obesity reduction efforts may help increase quality of life and create a new paradigm of public health interventions based on the stated needs of OLHW.