Date of Conferral





Health Education and Promotion


Theresa Gibble


Obesity continues to be an important public health issue in the United States, especially among minority populations. However, one minority group experiences the lowest obesity rate: Asian Americans. As a result, there is not much research available involving the impact of obesity and weight gain among this population. The purpose of this basic qualitative exploratory study was to improve the understanding of obesity’s impact on the Asian American population, specifically in Southern California, whose goals were to lose weight and become more informed about obesity’s impact on health. The study consisted of three main research questions. Twenty-five participants were interviewed using an original interview guide formulated using the health belief model (HBM) as the theoretical framework. Interview transcripts were coded conducting a thematic content analysis to identify common themes to answer the research questions. Six themes emerged: physical and mental health disadvantages, lack of consistency and motivation, the taboo nature of being overweight or obese within Asian culture, Asian Americans are not a model minority, Western vs. Asian culture, and outdated BMI. Though the themes from the shared experiences cannot be generalized as Asian Americans from other parts of the U.S. may have different experiences, it demonstrates more inclusion is needed when addressing obesity prevention. Furthermore, the results from this study provide opportunities to affect positive social change, such as increased social awareness of the health struggles Asian Americans experience, increased cultural competence among healthcare professionals when treating Asian American patients, and lastly, increased inclusivity and representation of Asian Americans in health discussions.