Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


James E. Rohrer


Obesity increases risk for heart disease, hypertension and other chronic diseases, and it affects minority ethnic groups disproportionately. However, it is unknown if African American immigrant adults, an increasing segment of the population, are at higher risk for obesity than African American non-immigrant adults residing in the United States. This study examined the association of obesity and immigrant status by comparing African American immigrant adults now residing in the United States to the general population of African American adults. The socio-ecological model provided the conceptual framework for this study. This study used a cross-sectional quantitative self-administered web-based survey to collect primary data on 303 adult African American immigrants and non-immigrants residing in the United States. Data were analyzed using EpiInfo statistical software. It was hypothesized that the risk of obesity in African American adults is associated with immigration status after adjusting for other factors. The data revealed no significant relationship between obesity and immigration status in African American adults. However, binge drinking and other variables were revealed to be risk factors for morbid obesity in African American immigrants. The results impact social change by demonstrating that obesity control programs targeted at African American immigrant communities should incorporate socio-ecological risk factors. Specific interventions that could be implemented should include screening for alcohol consumption.