Date of Conferral





Health Services


Scott McDoniel


Nutritional food label understanding (NFLU) in African American Women (AAW) is a philosophy that addresses obesity. Public health efforts have implemented nutritional and caloric information to packaged and restaurant foods to improve nutrient and calorie literacy. Research suggest NFLU might have a minimal effect on reducing obesity. However, it is not known how obese AAW born during the baby-boom era (51 to 64 years of age) perceive NFLU in relation to their dietary behaviors. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand the lived experience of obese AAW regarding NFLU from a cognitive and behavioral perspective. Twelve, AAW answered 21-semi-structured questions that were audio recorded and transcribed verbatim. Findings of the study revealed the limited appreciation of NFLU in relation to healthy nutrition behaviors. Reasons for not applying nutritional food label (NFL) information centered on self-help perception, the time to read and understand the content on the NFL, skills required for effective NFL usage (math, organization of content), barriers to overcome while grocery shopping and motivational interest to change their behavior. In addition, the interviews of obese AAW revealed a lack of interest in NFL information while dining out despite understanding the perceived health benefits of knowing such information. Positive social change implications for obese AAW include improved nutrition literacy and nutritional behavior using NFLU as the guide to healthier dietary choice. From an individual, community, societal and nation level, reversing the trajectory of obesity through nutritional health literacy needs further improvement and individual adoption to possibly assist with obesity self-management.