Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Suzanne Mazzeo, PhD

Second Advisor

Marilyn Stern, PhD

Third Advisor

Micah McCreary, PhD

Fourth Advisor

Aashir Nasim, PhD

Fifth Advisor

Leroy Thacker, PhD


Increasing rates of obesity across all race, ethnic, gender, and age groups over the past thirty years have generated significant public health concern. Black children face disproportionately higher risk for overweight and obesity compared with their White peers. Substantial evidence suggests that parent involvement improves pediatric obesity treatment outcomes. Moreover, churches are feasible and culturally congruent places to host health promotion interventions within the Black community. The current study examined the feasibility of disseminating an existing pediatric obesity intervention, NOURISH, in Black church communities. Twenty-five families participated in baseline assessment of the NOURISH-C. Five churches hosted the intervention and eight individuals were trained to lead the sessions. It was hypothesized that parent participation in NOURISH-C would be associated with improvements in child dietary intake, quality of life, and physical activity. Significant increases in quality of life were found, but no other hypotheses related to child health outcomes were supported. Nonetheless, this study offers a unique contribution to the pediatric obesity literature through its focus on implementing a community based intervention in a primarily Black sample. Outcomes from the primary aim, which assessed feasibility, provide important guidance for future research. Specifically, barriers to and facilitators of the implementation of NOURISH-C are reviewed to inform future church based health promotion interventions. Additionally, current findings provide a framework for future community based iterations of NOURISH.


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