Date of Conferral





Public Health


Dr. Frazier Beatty


The food decisions, dietary patterns, physical activity, and weight-related convictions of African American mothers are affected by their self-perceptions and views of body weight. The gap in the literature regarding the impact of these perceptions on children's food choices, eating habits, and body image is significant. Using the health belief model as the theoretical foundation and a cross-sectional survey as the research design, this study assessed the potential relationship between mothers' and children's eating habits and whether mothers' perceptions of their children's body image were reliable indicators of childhood obesity. Eighty-six mothers provided demographic information and completed the Child Feeding Questionnaire (CFQ) and the Figure Rating Scale (FRS); 86 children completed the FRS. All 172 participants self-reported weight and height. No other measurements were taken. Logistic regression and correlation analysis were used to answer the research questions. Correlation analysis showed a significant relationship between the mothers' perceptions of their children's body image and the children's self-perceptions of their body image. The results of regression analyses indicated that the mothers' perceptions of their weight as children influenced food choices for their children as well as their children's self-perception of body image. Positive social change in the African American community may occur by having community and health care professionals offer awareness programs to African American mothers.