4274.0 Understanding food choices in African American communities: The first step in creating demand for change

Tuesday, November 9, 2010: 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Food availability and marketing to African Americans are targeted, that is, they are skewed toward high calorie-low nutrition foods and beverages compared to such marketing in general. This may contribute to higher levels of obesity and other diet-related chronic diseases disproportionately prevalent in African American communities. Although one of the precepts of good marketing is to target products to specific consumers, questions can be raised as to how patterns of food and beverage marketing to African American relate to the underlying interest of community members in having access to healthy foods. Specifically, it is unclear how consumers perceive their food and beverage marketing environments in relation to their preferences and needs. Researchers affiliated with the African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network and their collaborating community partners used qualitative research methods to explore how food marketing is perceived and influences food and beverage intake. Studies were conducted in partnership with African American community organizations in Baltimore, MD, Birmingham, AL, Chicago, IL, and Durham, NC using site-specific approaches to gathering data on this common theme. Data collection methods across sites included observations, focus groups, semi-structured interviews, photo journaling and photo elicitation. Participants included pre-school children, adolescents, caregivers, and parents and other adults. Results indicated similar and divergent themes that emerged across sites. For example, participants from all sites perceived high availability of unhealthful products in their neighborhood/community. In contrast, one site found that perceptions of the factors that influence teens’ food purchases varied between youth and adults. Presenters from each site will highlight the both common and unique features of their study designs and settings and describe the novel themes that emerged. This body of work contributes to the overall understanding of responses to targeted food marketing in African American communities and identifies potential trigger points for facilitating social change. As public health officials look to previous successful public health campaigns for strategies to combat childhood obesity, it may be appropriate to view the issue through a “social justice” lens in which African Americans exercise their rights to have a healthier mix of foods sold and promoted in their communities.
Session Objectives: 1. Describe the utility of qualitative methods to describe the social and environmental contexts of food purchases and eating behaviors in a high risk population for diet-related diseases. 2. Identify the perceptions of food environment influences that encourage over-consumption of calories among African American youth. 3. Describe the relevance of partnering with the community in conducting research to facilitate social change.
Sonya Grier, PhD, MBA

Marketing influences on food consumption, acquisition, and purchasing behaviors in low income African American families with young children
Summer Porter, MS, Shannon N. Zenk, PhD, April Watkins, Jacqueline Hoskins-Wroten, BSN, MPH, Loys Holland, Olamide Bamidele, BA, Justine Bandstra, BA, RN, Charles Tate and Marian L. Fitzgibbon, PhD
What Do You Want to Eat? Children's Influences on Caregivers' Food Purchasing Behaviors
Lori Carter-Edwards, PhD, Janelle Armstrong–Brown, MPH, Lesley Williams and Ashley Johnson
Perceptions of the food marketing environment among African American adolescents and adults in Baltimore
Wendy S. Bibeau, MEd, Brit I. Saksvig, PhD, Sonja Williams, Lindsey Jones and Deborah R. Young, PhD

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Food and Nutrition
Endorsed by: APHA-Committee on Women's Rights, Social Work

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

See more of: Food and Nutrition