Date of Conferral







Leann Stadtlander


The obesity epidemic continues to be a major concern in the United States. The World Health Organization reported that 1.4 billion adults were either obese or overweight. African American (AA) women have the highest incidence of obesity worldwide. The obesity rate among AAs has continued to rise over the past 2 decades. The problem is that AA women prepare and consume high caloric foods that contribute to obesity. This qualitative descriptive study explored the perceptions that obese AA women have about altering how they prepare soul food to make it a healthier soul food. The empowerment model and the health belief model were used to frame this study. Data were collected using a non-probability purposeful sampling strategy. The sample for this study consisted of 4 focus groups with 6-7 obese AA women (n = 25) who prepare and consume high caloric soul foods and have a body mass index of 30 and above. Focus group transcripts were analyzed using a constant comparative analysis and NVivo 11 computer software. It was found that obese AA women were willing to alter their traditional soul food preparation only if it tastes good. It was also found that participants would maintain new healthier eating behaviors depending on the taste, availability of recipes to use, low cost of healthy ingredients, accessibility of the ingredients, learning how to substitute various herbs and spices, and amount of food waste. Barriers that could limit participation in an intervention designed to develop healthier eating habits were identified as ignorance and laziness, transportation issues, lack of motivation, lack of education, lack of time, no incentives, and bad reviews.