Journal of African American Studies

, Volume 22, Issue 4, pp 345–356 | Cite as

Exploring Childhood Obesity Perceptions Among Caregivers of African American Children

  • Dayna S. Alexander
  • Moya L. Alfonso
  • Dziyana Nazaruk


Childhood obesity efforts have been characterized by low levels of caregiver involvement. This qualitative study explores caregiver perceptions about childhood obesity prevention. We conducted 12 in-depth interviews with caregivers of African American children aged 8–11 years. We used thematic analysis to identify consistent patterns of preventing childhood obesity and encouraging healthy behaviors. Four themes emerged including rural culture and the built environment, physical and social health effects of childhood obesity, measuring childhood obesity, and preventive strategies. Caregivers are cognizant of childhood obesity risk factors and discussed challenges in their rural environment when attempting to practice and maintain health behaviors for their children. They also stated that caregivers were vital in preventing childhood obesity. Our findings highlight the value of involving caregivers in the design and implementation of childhood obesity initiatives. Additionally, future childhood obesity efforts should equip caregivers and children with behavioral skills and resources to assist in developing healthy habits.


Child health African American youth Qualitative research Obesity Caregivers Rural health 


Funding Information

This work was supported by the Georgia Southern University Graduate Student Organization (grant number 1378924576).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and PolicyUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillAshevilleUSA
  2. 2.Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, Department of Community Health Behavior & EducationGeorgia Southern UniversityStatesboroUSA
  3. 3.AtlantaUSA

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