MPH Thesis Proposal Defense: Noora Kanfash
Advisor/Chair: Dr. Mary A. Garza
Committee Members: Dr. Min Qi Wang and Dr. Luciana Assini-Meytin
Title: Examining the Role Dietary Habits Play with Food Access, Stress, Obesity, and Chronic Conditions Among African-Americans
Abstract: Research shows that African-Americans are diagnosed with higher rates of obesity as well as chronic conditions associated with diet compared to Whites. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables reduce risk for developing chronic conditions. African Americans do not meet the recommended intake of daily fruit and vegetable consumption based on the 2015-2020 United States Dietary Guidelines for Americans. African-Americans are also most likely of any racial/ethnic group to reside in low food access communities, which have limited availability of diverse, healthy, and affordable food choices. Low food access communities are associated with poorer health outcomes and increased rates of chronic conditions. Local food environments must be assessed to determine how they may influence specific dietary habits and affect rates of chronic conditions. There is also limited research analyzing African-American adults’ dietary habits, food access, stress, and chronic conditions. This proposed thesis is a secondary data analysis, using Health Advocates In-Reach and Research (HAIR) study, a longitudinal study evaluating a family health history intervention. A total of 164 participants were recruited from barbershops and salons, located in low-income urban neighborhoods in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. This secondary analysis will use baseline data (n=164) to assess how chronic conditions (i.e. obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure) are associated with demographics (i.e. gender, education, marital status, income, education, employment), stress, lifestyle behaviors (i.e. physical activity, smoking), dietary habits, and food access. The analysis will also explore what variables are predictors of food access and dietary habits. This information can be utilized by public health professionals to understand the relationships between dietary habits, food access, stress, and chronic conditions to inform the development of effective behavioral and systems based interventions.