Date of Conferral





Public Health


Richard Jimenez


Obesity is a significant global issue, and its incidence has increased over time. A substantial percentage of the U.S. population suffers from this disease with a relatively high prevalence seen in individuals from the Caribbean. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to explore Caribbean women's perception of how migration to South Florida may have impacted the onset of obesity in this population. The social ecological model provided the framework for the study. Data were collected from 1-on-1 interviews held with 12 female participants between the ages of 18 and 35, who previously resided in the Caribbean at a healthy weight but became overweight after migration to the United States. The information collected were analyzed using manual coding to identify 5 themes: consciousness of weight gain, challenges associated with weight gain, factors causing weight gain, attitudes toward weight gain, and efforts aimed at weight loss. Participants reported they felt that migration adversely affected their health by causing weight gain which eventually developed into obesity, caused by a modification to their lifestyle as well as an overall change in attitude towards weight gain. The social change implications of these findings are that they may be used to raise awareness of the risks of obesity among Caribbean immigrant women and to develop interventions to address the issue. Such interventions may result in increased well-being, healthier lifestyles, and prevention of obesity associated morbidity and mortality among this population.