Determinants of obesity in two urban CommUnities: PerCePtions anD CommUnity-Driven solUtions

Academic Article


  • Objective: In the search of solutions to the rising rates of obesity, community perspectives are important because they highlight areas of need and help determine the level of community support for potential interventions. This study aimed to identify community perceptions of factors associated with obesity in two urban municipalities – one racially mixed and one predominantly African American – and to explore community-driven solutions to the problem of obesity. Methods: The study used Photovoice methodology to understand what community members perceived as obesity-promoting factors in their residential environments. Results: A total of 96 photographs of factors relevant to obesity were discussed. Most commonly depicted were restaurants, grocery stores, fast food, and fitness centers. In 10 race-stratified focus groups, participants made 592 comments on 12 themes, the most common being restaurants, physical activity, food stores, and proposed solutions. The top three themes – restaurants, physical activity, and food stores – accounted for 58% of all barriers to healthy weight. Proposed solutions ranged from personal efforts and peer support, to educating adults and children, to community action. Conclusion: Interventions addressing the immediate food and physical activity environment – restaurants, grocery stores, and resources for physical activity – may have high likelihood of success as they align with community needs and understanding of priorities. Health education and promotion programs that increase food-related knowledge and skills are also needed and likel to receive stron communit support.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 9058846
  • Author List

  • Oates GR; Phillips JM; Bateman LB; Baskin ML; Fouad MN; Scarinci IC
  • Start Page

  • 33
  • End Page

  • 42
  • Volume

  • 28
  • Issue

  • 1