Date of Conferral



Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)


Health Services


Precilla L. Belin


Childhood obesity is a global concern among all ethnic groups. Childhood obesity is a problem that continues into adulthood, exacerbating the incidence of diseases such as diabetes or heart disease. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore, understand, and describe the perceptions and experiences of African American parents in the management and care of their obese or overweight children. This study used the health-belief model (HBM) as its theoretical foundation, focusing on the constructs of perceived susceptibility, perceived severity, perceived benefits, perceived barriers, cues to action, and self-efficacy. This research study used an interview tool and an 8-item demographic questionnaire to explore and describe how African American parents managed the care of obese children between the ages of 6 and 11. Interviews were transcribed and then inductively analyzed for themes. Parents reported having a difficult time deciding how to implement successful overweight strategies on a daily basis. Parents felt helpless in supporting their child's efforts to lose weight. Parents shared that their child and family members participated in weight-loss activities such as making diet changes and physical activities. The implication for social change from this study is in providing local public health leaders with increased understanding of the personal experiences of African American parents in the management of overweight children. Findings may assist in effective program development for the targeted population.