Date of Conferral
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
Obesity is epidemic among Black adolescent females, and adolescent obesity often leads to adult obesity. Previous research suggests that there may be an interaction between physical activity and dietary fruit and vegetable intake on body mass index (BMI) in obese adolescent females in general, but it was unclear whether the same pattern is evident in Black adolescent females, who, on average, tend to have low levels of physical activity and fruit and vegetable intake. Bandura's social learning theory implies the possibility that adolescent females might model their behaviors on the behavior of others in their high school years, including physical activity and dietary behaviors. The primary research question for this quantitative, retrospective, cross-sectional study asked whether there is a statistically significant interaction between dietary fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity on the BMI of Black adolescent females. In this study, data from 1,211 Black female adolescents in the Center for Disease Control Youth Risk Behavior Survey database were analyzed using multiple linear regression statistics. BMI was the dependent (outcome) variable, physical activity was the independent (predictor) variable, and fruit and vegetable intake was the moderator variable. Physical activity had a significant negative association with BMI while intake of fruits and vegetables showed no significant association with BMI. Unlike previous research that was not focused specifically on Black adolescent females, Fruit and vegetable intake did not significantly moderate the relationship between physical activity and BMI. This study has positive social change implications for practitioners designing obesity prevention programs for Black female adolescents, which should focus on increasing physical activity levels towards controlling BMI, leading to a healthier life for Black female adolescents.