Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Childhood obesity has become a national epidemic. Although many of the consequences of childhood obesity are known, such as physical, social, emotional, and academic effects on a student's development, there is a lack of literature on the topic of childhood obesity in Native American tribes. The purpose of this case study was to explore how school personnel address the effects of obesity on students' social, emotional, academic, and physical development in an elementary school in the southwest United States where 90% of the students are Native Americans. Bronfenbrenner's socioecological model served as the theoretical foundation. The research questions explored strategies for how school personnel addressed childhood obesity. Interviews with 7 teachers, 1 administrator, 1 school nurse, 1 school psychologist, and 1 cafeteria manager were conducted. Open, axial, and selective coding strategies were employed to analyze the data. Findings revealed that the local school personnel lack professional development on working with Native American obese students and desire to implement a prevention and intervention obesity program targeted for Native American students. Recommendations include creating professional development related to childhood obesity, providing alternatives to food rewards, allotting time for healthful living practices, writing grants for healthy snacks, and collaborating with families and tribal affiliations. Implications for social change include greater understanding among school personnel at the study site of practices to address childhood obesity in Native American students, which may lead to effective interventions for enriching the academic success of obese students.