Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity for African American Daughters/Mothers

Research Team

Monique Reed, Principal Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing
Diane McNaughton, Co-Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing
Joellen Wilbur, Co-Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing
Christy Tagney, Co-Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing
Michael Schoeny, Co-Investigator, Rush University College of Nursing

Award Period


Funding Source

2015 Schweppe/Armour Bequest Pilot Project


African American (AA) adolescent girls have the highest reported rates of overweight and obesity in the nation. Middle adolescence, ages 12-17, is an important developmental period to intervene. Parental involvement in obesity-related interventions has been associated with healthy weight in children, but to date no school-based obesity prevention interventions for girls over 12 have included a parent. The purpose of the study is to: (1) develop a school-based nutrition and physical activity lifestyle intervention with six group meetings, goal setting, and self-monitoring of progress toward meeting goals for AA adolescent daughter/ mother dyads to improve their nutritional intake, increase physical activity (PA) and maintain/reduce weight; and (2) test the feasibility, acceptability, and impact of the nutrition and PA lifestyle intervention delivered every 2 weeks over three months in the school setting. Guided by the social cognitive and family systems theories, the proposed study will take place in 2 phases. During Phase I, the intervention will be initially developed by nutrition and PA content experts. A qualitative exploratory design using focus group methods with an expert panel of 2 school nurses and 2 dietitians and an advisory panel of 4 AA adolescent daughter/mother dyads will then be used to refine the intervention. Phase II will be a pilot test of the nutrition and physical activity lifestyle intervention using a 12 week pre-test post-test within-subjects design. Six face-to-face group sessions will be held every other week for 12 weeks and self-monitoring will use physical activity trackers (Fitbits). Twenty daughter/mother dyads (2 groups, 10 per group) will be recruited from a high school located on the near west side of Chicago serving more than 70% AA students. Inclusion criteria include 9th and 10th grade African American girls and their biological/surrogate mothers, English-speaking, BMI ≥25th percentile (daughters), primary responsibility for food preparation (mothers), and internet access. Feasibility will be assessed by attendance at group sessions and proportion of days they record nutrition and wore activity tracker (obtained via Fitabase web-site). Acceptability will be assessed by program satisfaction at 12 weeks. Outcomes include: nutrition (food frequency questionnaire), physical activity (self-report questionnaire, accelerometer) and body composition assessed at baseline and post intervention (12 weeks). This will be one of the first school-based nutrition and PA interventions for AA adolescent daughters and their mothers using family systems in addition to social cognitive theory. Findings will inform a larger RCT to test the efficacy of a lifestyle intervention delivered in the school setting for improving nutritional intake, increasing PA and maintaining/reducing weight in AA adolescent daughters and their mothers.

For more information about this project, please contact Monique Reed.