Date of Conferral





Public Health


Naa-Solo Tettey


In the United States (U.S.), African American women suffer disproportionately due to obesity and chronic diseases. Many studies have examined the culture of African Americans and its influence on their health behaviors in order to gain knowledge to inform obesity and chronic disease prevention interventions. However, a geographical segment of the U.S. African American population shares a unique culture that had yet to be studied. This qualitative study used in-depth interviews to understand the perceptions of overweight and obese African American women living in the Greater New Orleans region about their culture’s role in the prevalence of obesity and obesity-related conditions in their communities and how they perceived their culture and lived experiences influenced their beliefs about obesity and obesity prevention. The study’s sample consisted of 12 overweight or obese African American women over the age of 18, who self-identified as African American or Black and were native to the New Orleans area. The health belief model guided the study, and the data were collected through semi-structured, in-depth interviews and examined using interpretive phenomenological analysis. Findings demonstrated culture was felt by participants to be a major influence on their health behaviors. This culture influenced their beliefs and attitudes about weight standards, recommendations, and health and body image. Participants desired more culturally relatable and realistic recommendations to address obesity in their communities. This study addresses health behaviors and beliefs of this unique subculture and demonstrates the need for more specific culturally tailored interventions to address disparities in this population.