Single African American Mothers' Work Schedules and Decisions to Feed Their Children

Maryse Desir, Walden University



Childhood obesity is an epidemic in the United States with far-reaching consequences

including serious health conditions, economic suffering, social problems, diminished

quality of life, and early death. Childhood obesity is more prevalent in low-income

African Americans than in any other ethnic group. Despite national initiatives to reduce

obesity, many children are obese, placing them at increased risk of developing obesity

related diseases. Parents play an important role in their children's eating and lifestyle

habits. This qualitative multiple case study was designed to explore the experiences and

food-related decision-making of 6 low-income, single African American working

mothers with children ages 2 to 10 years. Cognitive behavioral theory provided the

framework for the study. Data were collected from individual interviews, a focus group,

and observations of participants' shopping habits. Data were analyzed using multiple

cycle coding, first through the identification of codes through word repetitious, keywords,

comparison, metaphors and phrases. This process allowed for the coding of open-ended

responses and the categorization and development of codes into themes by level of

relevance and frequency. Findings indicated that collaborating with stakeholders may

influence policy changes, and single African American working mothers can encourage

other single mothers to share knowledge on how to balance their work schedule while

promoting healthier food choices for their family. Findings may be used to develop

family-based intervention strategies and minimize the risk of childhood obesity among

African American children living in low-income households.