Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Health Services


Cheryl Anderson


Obesity is currently viewed as one of the most important health concerns in the United States. Researchers have minimally investigated perspectives surrounding obesity within the African-American female population. This lack of research presented a gap in knowledge concerning the perceived social, environmental, and cultural influences of obesity within this population. The research questions asked African-American females about their views toward these influences. This research was guided by tenets of the social cognitive theory and the transtheoretical model for behavioral change. Thirteen African-American females participated in the interviews. The data collected were reviewed and coded using word frequencies and themes. Findings included recurring themes of cultural influences, social disparities, and the lack of access to healthy food sources and health providers. Positive social change could result from this research to help enlighten public health professionals and community planners to understand the perspectives of African-American women's belief systems surrounding obesity. The information delivered by this research could possibly empower the participants to address the issues within their communities with civic leaders and policy makers to create and sustain needed change.