259934 Community and family support for obesity prevention behaviors among Latinos and African Americans

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 1:15 PM - 1:30 PM

Holley A. Wilkin, PhD , Department of Communication, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA
Vikki S. Katz, PhD , School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ
Heather J. Hether, PhD , Department of Communication, University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA
Sandra Ball-Rokeach, PhD , Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
AIMS: African Americans and Latinos are at disproportionately high risk for obesity, and for the chronic conditions and diseases for which obesity is a key factor. Healthy behaviors like regular exercise and a healthy diet rich are key to maintaining a healthy weight. While neighborhood characteristics can constrain individuals' abilities to engage in healthy behaviors, interpersonal (e.g., family and neighbors) and community-level communication resources could aid in reducing barriers to healthy living. In this paper, we employ communication infrastructure theory to explore how community and interpersonal connections relate to African Americans' and Latinos' exercise and healthy eating practices. METHODS: A random digit dial survey of 304 Latino and 294 African Americans living in South Los Angeles was conducted in the preferred language of the respondent (English or Spanish). Respondents were mailed a gift card for participating. RESULTS: Regression analyses revealed that connections to the neighborhood storytelling network (comprised of measures of amount of interpersonal discussion about the neighborhood, time spent with local/ethnic media, and involvement in community organizations), neighbor-to-neighbor social support, and family interaction all predict residents' regular exercise; family interaction has the strongest impact on the likelihood of exercising regularly. For females and Latinos, family interaction is the only independent variable that predicted residents' daily intake of fruits and vegetables. None of the independent variables influenced fruit and vegetable consumption for men and African Americans. Implications for health communication outreach to increase these healthy behaviors will be discussed.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1) Explain the potential role of interpersonal and community level communication resources at reducing barriers to healthy living, specifically exercising and eating fruits and vegetables, in urban environments. 2) Compare the impact of family interaction on healthy eating behaviors for males and females and African Americans and Latinos.

Keywords: Community Health, Minority Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an assistant professor focusing in health communication research and conducted this research as a postdoctoral research associate with the USC Metamorphosis Project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.