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Abstract

The obesity epidemic continues to be a major concern in the United States. The World Health Organization reported that 1.4 billion adults were either obese or overweight African American (AA) women have the highest incidence of obesity worldwide. A qualitative descriptive study was used to explore the perceptions of obese AA women about altering how they prepare soul food to make it healthier. The empowerment model and the health belief model were used to frame this study. Data were collected using a nonprobability purposeful sampling strategy. The sample for this study consisted of four focus groups with six to seven obese AA women ages 21–90 who prepared and consumed high-calorie soul foods and had a body mass index ³30. Focus group transcripts were analyzed using a constant comparative analysis. It was found that obese AA women were willing to alter their traditional soul food preparation only if it tastes good, recipes are available, it is cost effective, and it produces minimum food waste. Barriers that could limit participation in an intervention as well as recommendations for designing interventions are discussed.

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