Community Action to Increase Demand for Health Food in African American Communities: Phase 1: Exploratory Research to Inform Community Action


The rapid rise in the prevalence of overweight among children and adolescents is a major health concern in the United States. Data from the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2003-2004) indicate that disparities in overweight between African Americans and whites develop as early as the preschool years. Previous evidence suggests that food marketing plays a major role in the development of overweight among African American youth. The primary purpose of this study is to obtain an in-depth understanding of African American families and their children as consumers in the current food marketing environment. Multiple qualitative methods including in-depth interviews, photo elicitation, and participant observation will be used to assess food marketing perceptions of 20 primary caregivers of preschool age children (ages 3-6). Results from data collection with primary caregivers will be presented at a community forum to obtain feedback from the broader community. During community forums, members will be asked participate in a concept mapping process to generate potential community action strategies to address food marketing environment concerns. Findings from the study will be used to inform the development of a community action plan to improve African American families’ consumption of healthy foods.

Research Product(s)

Odoms-Young A, Zenk S, Holland L, Watkins A, Wroten J, Oji-Njideka N, Ellis S, Davis I, Dallas C, Fitzgibbon M, Jarrett R, Mason M, Webb A, Sharp D. Family Food Access Report: “When We Have Better, We Can Do Better.” Chicago: University of Illinois at Chicago and Chicago Department of Public Health Englewood Neighborhood Health Center; December 2010. [Read report.]

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