Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Tidwell, Diane K.

Committee Member

Briley, Chiquita A.

Committee Member

Threadgill, Paula

Committee Member

Williams Jr., Ronald D.

Committee Member

Taylor, Walter N.

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Food Science, Nutrition and Health Promotion


African American women are suffering from high rates of debilitating illnesses and diseases. Over 50% of African American women are obese; close to 44% of African American women have hypertension or are taking medication for high blood pressure; 4.1% of African American women have had a stroke; and 12.4% of African American women have diabetes. Dietary behaviors play pivotal roles in improving the health of African American women. African American women have shown consistent dietary habits that include eating foods higher in fat, and foods lower in desirable nutrient content. These dietary habits have been linked to higher prevalence of obesity, hypertension, stroke, and diabetes. The culture of African American women often includes the African American church, which is a venue that may be utilized to promote dietary interventions. Eve’s Apple Nutrition Education program was an 8-week program designed using a faith-based approach to promote healthy dietary behaviors among African American women. Program objectives were to increase lowat eating behaviors and decrease negative dietary behaviors. The program was implemented with African American women (n=38) in Little Rock, Arkansas. Data were collected from pre and post surveys, as well as a focus group survey. Paired-samples t tests determined that at eight weeks, participants significantly decreased all negative dietary behaviors (emotional eating, snacking on sweets, haphazard planning, meal skipping, cultural factors) and increased lowat eating behaviors and lowat eating styles (p<.01). These results indicate Eve’s Apple Nutrition Education Program was successful in improving dietary behaviors during the program. A focus group with eight of the participants was completed post-intervention and also indicated that the faith-base was an important component in improving dietary behaviors. For African American women, faith-based nutrition education programs provide cultural relevance, support, and are unique in specifically targeting their health and nutrition needs.