Family-Focused Physical Activity, Diet and Obesity Interventions in African-American Girls

A Systematic Review

While family-based obesity interventions among African-American girls have begun to yield positive outcomes, a far distance remains to overcoming the disparity in obesity rates between Black and White girls. African-American girls have responded positively to obesity interventions focused on physical activity and diet. When obesity rates among minorities rise relative to those among Caucasians, there is a disparity between the two groups. Compared with Caucasian girls, a greater percentage of African-American girls experience both obesity and it’s more severe instances.

This literature review surveyed 27 articles about family focused obesity interventions with African-American girls. The authors culled the journal articles and abstracts of public health databases, including AGRICOLA, EMBASE, and MEDLINE; they revisited studies that included the following criteria: 1) had as their samples African-American girls ages 5-18; 2) involved the girls’ families; and 3) targeted nutrition, physical activity, and/or weight. The study measured the impact of family involvement on the obesity interventions described. 

Key Findings:

  • Most of the interventions had been culturally adapted for African-American participants.
  • A 1995 study employed a “Rap against Fat” activity.

While family-based interventions have begun to change the behavior of African-American girls with respect to physical activity and diet, there is still an uphill climb before the disparity in obesity rates between Black and White girls is overcome.

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