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Exploring Family Systems and Preferences for Obesity Prevention Strategies With African-American Mother/Daughter Dyads

Research Team

Monique Reed, PhD, RN, Principal Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing
Diane McNaughton, PhD, APHN, Co-Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing
Wrenetha Julion, PhD, Co-Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing


According to data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), African American (AA) adolescent girls and women have the highest reported rates of overweight and obesity in the nation. Middle adolescence, ages 12-17, is an important developmental period during which many future health behaviors are established. However, a recent review of randomized controlled trials of obesity-prevention studies conducted from 1990-2014 that included AA daughters (age 6-17) and their mothers found that of the eight trials published to date, none included adolescents over the age of 12. Due to small sample sizes most of the studies did not show significant results although findings were in the expected direction. Obesity-prevention interventions that include AA daughters and their mothers may be more successful with strategies that are age-appropriate and supplement strategies with a family oriented approach. Such an approach will facilitate communication, problem solving and role modeling within the daughter/mother dyad. The purpose of this preliminary study is to obtain an understanding, from the perspectives of AA adolescent daughter/mother dyads, of appropriate strategies and structure of obesity prevention interventions using a social cognitive theory and family-based approach. The specific aims are to (1) identify culturally appropriate, social cognitive theory and family systems-based strategies that are relevant for AA adolescent daughters and their mothers and (2) determine structural characteristics of an obesity prevention intervention acceptable to AA adolescent daughters and their mothers. A qualitative deductive exploratory design will be used with five focus groups. Methods: An interview guide will be used to direct discussion in the five focus groups (6 daughter/ mother dyads per focus group). Freshman and sophomore daughters and their mothers will be recruited from one Chicago Public High School. The discussions will be audiotaped, transcribed and examined for themes. Results from these focus groups will inform a culturally appropriate intervention that will be tested in future randomized controlled trials that target AA adolescent daughter/mother dyads.