Date of Conferral





Public Health


Dr. Melanie Smith


Obesity-related diseases have been increasing in African immigrants throughout the United States. Although research has been done to identify risk factors associated with many ethnic groups in the United States, only a few studies exist that explore obesity and type 2 diabetes diseases among Central African immigrants. The conceptual framework for this qualitative case study was social constructivism and the health belief model. The primary research question addressed the potential underlying causes for an increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes among Central African Immigrants. The secondary research questions explored how culture, illiteracy, and religion contribute to the problem of obesity in Central African immigrants, and what strategies could be effective in preventing and reducing the increase of obesity and type 2 diabetes in this population. Interviews with 17 Central African immigrants living in the northeastern U.S. were conducted to explore their social, cultural, and behavioral factors that influence the prevalence of obesity. Interview responses were transcribed and entered into NVivo software for data analysis. The results revealed that socioeconomic issues, cultural differences, and language gaps were the primary risk factors. Feeling stressed and overwhelmed and a lack of communication were also found to be significant. The results could provide health administrators and health educators with a platform for advancing policies and programs to foster greater health and well-being among Central African immigrants and thus contribute to the overall social welfare of Central African immigrants.