Stakeholder perspectives on barriers for healthy living for low-income African American families

Veronnie Faye Jones, Michael L. Rowland, Linda Young, Katherine Atwood, Kirsten Thompson, Emma Sterrett, Sarah Morsbach Honaker, Joel E. Williams, Knowlton Johnson, Deborah Winders Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Background: Childhood obesity is a growing problem for children in the United States, especially for children from low-income, African American families. Objective: The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand facilitators and barriers to engaging in healthy lifestyles faced by low-income African American children and their families. Methods: This qualitative study used semi-structured focus group interviews with eight African American children clinically identified as overweight or obese (BMI ≥ 85) and their parents. An expert panel provided insights in developing culturally appropriate intervention strategies. Results: Child and parent focus group analysis revealed 11 barriers and no definitive facilitators for healthy eating and lifestyles. Parents reported confusion regarding what constitutes nutritional eating, varying needs of family members in terms of issues with weight, and difficulty in engaging the family in appropriate and safe physical activities; to name a few themes. Community experts independently suggested that nutritional information is confusing and, often, contradictory. Additionally, they recommended simple messaging and practical interventions such as helping with shopping lists, meal planning, and identifying simple and inexpensive physical activities. Conclusion: Childhood obesity in the context of low-resource families is a complex problem with no simple solutions. Culturally sensitive and family informed interventions are needed to support low-income African American families in dealing with childhood obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137
JournalFrontiers in Pediatrics
Issue numberDEC
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Jones, Rowland, Young, Atwood, Thompson, Sterrett, Honaker, Williams, Johnson and Davis.


  • African American
  • Childhood obesity
  • Poverty
  • Qualitative methods
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Stakeholder perspectives on barriers for healthy living for low-income African American families'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this