Date of Conferral





Health Services


John Oswald


Childhood obesity affects children from every socioeconomic level, but there is a higher prevalence of obesity among preschool-age children from low-income families. Some obese children are experiencing symptoms (e.g., high cholesterol and diabetes) generally experienced by adults. As a result, healthcare costs have increased. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to understand how low-income African American parents contribute to the prevalence of obesity in preschoolers. The conceptual framework and constructs from the health belief model (HBM) guided this study. Interview data were gathered from 8 participants who met the inclusion criteria of being a low-income African American parent with an overweight/obese child living in the Atlanta Region. Creswell's simplified version of Stevick-Colaizzi-Keen's data analysis led to the following themes among the participants. The themes were time restraints for preparing a healthy meal and limited activities-playtime, family time, America's childhood obesity, inappropriate diet, and lack of knowledge. Results demonstrated that parents might not understand that a lack of adequate sleep, physical activity, and healthy meals (consumed with parents) contribute to the prevalence of childhood obesity. Positive social change can be achieved through decreased healthcare costs associated with obesity related diseases by implementing the recommended 60 minutes of structured and unstructured playtime activities at learning centers and parents introducing small dietary changes, with healthy choices, which can start preschoolers eating healthier at a young age.