Date of Graduation

12-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Nursing

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Nursing

Advisor

Smith-Blair, Nancy J

Reader

Osborne, Cara

Third Reader

Scott, Allison

Abstract

Childhood obesity is on the rise in the United States, especially among the Southern states and in minority ethnic groups. This condition is a known contributor to many chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, which develop in early adulthood. The Marshallese people - whose population is higher in Northwest Arkansas than anywhere else in the contiguous United States - have a high incidence of obesity and diabetes. Additionally, the Hispanic population per capita in Northwest Arkansas is more than triple that of the state of Arkansas, and have comparable obesity rates to the Marshallese population. The purposes of this study were to explore if there are differences between Marshallese and Hispanic mothers' perception of their children's body size; to determine if there were differences in Marshallese and Hispanic mothers correctly identifying obese children's body silhouettes; and to examine whether there are differences between Marshallese and Hispanic mothers' knowledge of the impact of obesity on the future health of their children. Identification of possible factors that contribute to the rise in childhood obesity of the Marshallese and Hispanic populations could mitigate preventable chronic life-threatening conditions in children. A body image tool was used in this study to examine body size perceptions in parents of obese Marshallese and Hispanic children and their health perceptions of diseases related to childhood obesity. The results revealed educational, cultural, and linguistic barriers and yielded a better cultural understanding of health between these groups with the goal of preventing childhood obesity and developing strategies in teaching prevention.

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