Term of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Doctor of Public Health (Dr.P.H.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)


Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health

Committee Chair

Greg Evans

Committee Member 1

Evans Afriyie-Gyawu

Committee Member 2

Gulzar Shah


The prevalence of Coronary heart disease (CHD) and the associated modifiable risk factors, combined with the known health disparities that exist in the African American (AA) community, increases the significance of prevention exponentially. Theories involving genetic and environmental factors and their interaction are gaining popularity as relevant influences on both modifiable and fixed risk factors for CHD. Innovative and targeted strategies of health promotion and preventative measures are needed to combat the growing trend of modifiable risk factors for heart disease within the southern rural AA population. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of an after school diet and exercise intervention and the results within the community. A quantitative, quasi-experimental, pre and post-test design was used to examine the feasibility in recruiting rural, school-age AAs participants (n=58), their parents (n= 21) and community members (n= 26) and the effectiveness of the intervention program. The findings of this pilot study features the significance of an intervention provided to meet specific aspects of southern rural AA communities with a high prevalence of CHD. This research describes the rationale and methods used in an individual level intervention, within a rural AA community, with children as the proponents for change.

Continued research is needed to elucidate pathways by which promising strategies can be implemented to reduce the prevalence of modifiable risk factors and therefore close the gap of CHD disparities in southern, rural AA communities.