Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Public Health


Amiee E. Ferraro


The problem of obesity is significant in the United States, and more information is needed about the factors that increase the risk for obesity among migrant populations like Albanian Americans. The purpose of this study was to discover the lived experience of Albanian migrants who became obese after moving to the United States. This study was guided by the social ecological model. The research questions were used to examine how individual, relationship, community, and societal level factors impacted lifestyle changes and obesity for Albanian American migrants after moving to the United States. This qualitative study involved the use of a phenomenological approach, which required transcription and thematic analysis of data obtained via semi structured interviews with the 11 research participants. Participants revealed that their disposition, lifestyle, social life, family, food availability, living situation, judgment about obesity, and political system all have had an impact on their weight and health after moving to America. A future study could also include non-English speaking Albanian Americans to make sure their perspective is not lost. Positive social change from this study could be that the results of this study can inform education campaigns and interventions directed at Albanian Americans to increase their understanding about healthy, non-genetically modified organism (non-GMO) food, improve access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and increase regular physical activity. In addition, public health policy changes to encourage removal of GMO food from the market and increase economical healthy food choices can impact obesity for Albanian Americans and other migrant populations in the United States.