Identifying Perceptions of Food Habits among Adult African Americans

Identifying Perceptions of Food Habits among Adult African Americans

Chapter III: Methodology


The present chapter examines the methodological aspects of the study that will be used for evaluating the empirical data regarding the perceptions of food habits among adult African Americans. The elaboration on methodological issues is important for preventing potential bias and selecting the methods that will correspond to the formulated research problem. It will also ensure the maximum statistical significance of findings and their corresponding practical implications. This research will use a qualitative methodology that supports the work of the researcher to determine the opinions of the participants. Qualitative methodology is also based on the identified methodologies, especially the methods that determine how the people observe and perceive the world. It is never easy to have a model that can directly show the various range of health-related behaviours and the method of regime compliances (Niemeier,  Raynor, Lloyd-Richardson, and Rogers, 2006).




Project Methods

It is reasonable to combine several project methods for the purpose of this study. On the one hand, focused groups and questionnaire may be used for collecting the empirical data from participants. A set of questions can be prepared and distributed among the target members. On the other hand, qualitative methods will be used for verifying the statistical validity and reliability of obtained results as well as the possibility of their meaningful aggregation should be made (Hupp, 2017). Project methodologies have to follow the procedure that has been set by the researcher to guarantee that the methods used are not biased (Lowry, Kann, Collins and, Kolbe 1996). The combination of such project methods will allow reaching the intended research outcomes. The research will, therefore, use a combination of the survey questionnaire to determine the opinions of the participants on the behaviours of the African Americans (Story, Nanney and Schwartz, 2009). The qualitative data collection method is essential as it will make the data easier to analyse and be used in relation to the set targets. The interview method is important; it allows for close analysis and discussion with the participants.

Research Design

             The qualitative research design will be applied in the study. It will include focused groups used for primary data collection. It will also indicate the influence of local and mainstream cultures on the actual behaviour of African Americans. It will also be applicable to specify the cause-and-effect relationships between food perception and actual behaviour of African Americans. A research design also depends on whether the researcher would like to apply the experimental methods or those that use the combination of the quasi-research and quasi-experimental procedures (Sallis, Owen and Fisher 2008). A qualitative study method is optimal in this situation as it is flexible in terms of the content of data gathered.  This allows the researcher to adjust to newly collected information often resulting in the integration of data collection styles (Polit & Beck, 2017). The data collection method will be consistent with the study design and the project’s objectives, which reduces potential bias and improper interpretations of participant response thereby promoting positive findings.

To measure the impact of food consumption autonomously within the sample group, structured interviewing will be the main source of data collection. The selected questions will cover all major aspects of the participants’ decision-making, to gain a complete representation of their values and beliefs on food and nutrition. Open-ended and closed-ended questions will be created to fulfil this objective, allowing for a variation in response structure and application to the general population.  The latter is needed for comprehending the positions of respondents and justifications they offer in such cases (Connelly, 2016). It is significant for qualitative studies at the point of results’ clarification and recommendations’ to be globally beneficial. the benefits f the letter of consent is that it can be seen by everyone in the organisation so that they can permit the participants to give the information. According to the united states department of agriculture, it is important that people follow the rightful routines in good behaviour to avoid the many health complications that hen society is facing. Many people in society are suffering from food illnesses or the conditions that are brought about by the lack of getting the right ideas. Everyone has the ability and the potential to create the right information (United States Department of Agriculture, 2010).

According to Ottrey, Jong, & Porter (2018), qualitative methodologies are being recognised in the use of nutrition and food research studies.  Ethnography is the approach being regularly applied to assess cultural reference to food and nutritional choices (Cordner, Klein, & Baiocchi, 2012). Using the qualitative approach of ethnography is invaluable when the observed sample group is a specific ethnic group.

The overweight people are also those that live in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods that are recruited to take part in the focus groups o that they can give their experience with the healthy eating habits and what they believe in terms of the food perceptions (FRAC, 2012). The community also have the perception when it comes to the opinions on the food behaviours of the African Americans (Bevans, Sanchez, Teneralli and  Forrest 2011). The people who participated in the program had to complete a telephone conversation to brief them about the plan for the research.




Research Questions

What Are the Best Practices for Identifying Perceptions of Food Habits among the Adult African American in the Primary Care Setting?

Apart from these, the following research questions are used to get the best out of the research.



Interview questions

  • What are some of the ideas or item that massively influence the general food choices that you make?
  • How many times do you participate in the school meal programs? If not why don’t you participate knowing the programs?

What is your opinion on the food perceptions of African American people and students?

  • When are you thinking about the various processes o having a healthy eating habit? What foods are available in your stores,or schools cafeteria?

What are the main types of food that you think about when you talk about food diets and behaviours?

  • How do you intend the type of food choices especially from the ones that have been availed in the stress and the cafeteria?


What are the types of food that you considered to be healthy?

What foods do you believe are unhealthy to you?

What foods do the African Americans believe to be unhealthy and how do they do about them?

How many times do you think you make healthy choices of food in your area?

How do you judge the food temperature within your cafeteria?

In the past, what types of foodstuffs have you liked?  And what has changed about your food behaviours in the past?

How has eating habits affect your health and what do your friends say about your eating habits?

  • Do you sense like you have adequate room to eat securely? Is the restaurant or the place where you get the food bright enough to allow you to see everything during the meals?

In the hotels, do they arrange the foods conveniently and how you expect them?

Are there ways that you wish you could advise the African Americans to live their lives or to change their food behaviours?

What is your eating routine? Do you think they are the best?

Do your think people should change and use this routine?

How do you time your eating times, what times do you eat?

Do you think you have the right time for processing the food that you are looking for?

What are some of the factors that affect the eating and the food habits for the African Americans, and which ones do you think that should be changed?

Where o you get your nutrition information?

Are the information s that you receive well suited for the right reasons?


What can people do to promote healthy eating habits?






The recruitment will be randomly conducted throughout the country among those individuals who meet eligibility criteria. During the school year, there has been the focus on the African American students at various places who had to participate in this research. In many cases, African Americans are the people who are most;y affected by the issues of overweight and poor dietary (Larson, Story 2009). One of the major reasons for this is the fact that most of them cannot afford the expensive balanced diets that are recommended by the dieticians (Fitzgerald, Heary, Nixon and Kelly 2010). The participants have to between the ages of 21 to 65, and they involve the people in colleges and the young adults in their early twenties. This area was chosen because it gave the needed diversity in the background for the students who come from different ethnic groups.  This is a school that serves more than six thousand students, most of whom are African Americans. The participants belong to the following criteria that were used to select them.


Inclusion and exclusion criteria.

Inclusive Criteria:

Males and females from 21 – 65 years old.

African Americans

Exclusion Criteria:

Under and overage

Non-African Americans

People with mental illnesses


To implement the strategies of research, it is important that the researcher chooses the best setting that would guarantee the best results from the participants (Woo, and Lee, 2013). This is the main reason why the researcher had to choose these locations.Physician’s office and primary care settings will be used for implementing the process of primary data collection (Reed, 2017). Participants will be offered to provide their responses to all questions from the questionnaire. Also, the questions can be explained to those that are not able to understand,.in case there are issue or the idea tha are not clear, it is the responsibility of the participants to ask for the questions on the things that they do not understand (Wansink, Just, Payne and Klinger, 2012).

Informed Consent

Informed consent presupposes obtaining permission before initiating intervention or utilising participants’ personal information for research objectives. All participants will be informed about the research objectives and methods (Hupp, 2017). The confidentiality of their private data will be guaranteed (the findings will be presented only in the aggregated form). Every individual will be able to suspend his/her participation in the study at any stage. The informed consent procedures ensure that all participants comprehended the nature of the research, which also avoids any potential misunderstandings and legal issues. Participants privacy will be ensured by not revealing any participants’ personal information. A Certificate of Confidentiality was not obtained, but it was not required in that case. Vulnerable groups are excluded from this study which focuses on the nutrition patterns of adult African Americans. Apart from the increasing concern about consent, privacy is important in the operation of the researcher. The researcher has to protect the participants unless it is necessary to give their identities. The researcher has to show the participants what they will be participating in so that they are well aware of the requirements (Krueger, 2009). The informed consent ensured that the decisions that they make are well informed. For those that would want to pull away from the research, they are also allowed to do so depending on the explanations given by the researcher.  There are several sensitive topics in society that not many people would not like to be part of. One of them is their food and eating habits (Mayring, 2000). People would not want to share the way they react towards such topics. Therefore, the participants should not be coerced to participate in the research.


See Appendix A.


            Research variables.

The main research variables that will be used in the study are reflected in Table 1 below.

Table 1.

Description of Research Variables Used

Variable Conceptual Definition Operational Definition


Level of Measurement Statistical Analysis
Thought process before serving food. Values related to a serving size expressed. Questionnaire’s outcome indicated by participant responses Data analysis from focus group interviews Colaizzi’s


The motivation for food choices Values related to food selection expressed. Questionnaire’s outcome indicated by participant responses Data analysis from focus group interviews Colaizzi’s


Food behaviour patterns Reasons for food choices made by the target population Questionnaire’s outcome indicated by participant responses. Data analysis from focus group interviews Colaizzi’s


The motivation for food preparation methods. Values related to food preparation Questionnaire’s outcome indicated by participant responses Data analysis from focus group interviews Colaizzi’s



            Demographic variables.

It is also reasonable to examine the main demographic variables (they are presented in Table 2).

Table 2

Demographic Variables.

Variable Conceptual Definition Operational Definition


Level of Measurement Statistical Analysis
Income level The annual income of a specific individual Questionnaire’s score indicated by participants Qualitative t-test and p-values
Gender Male or female Questionnaire’s response indicated by participants Qualitative t-test and p-values
Educational level The last academic degree obtained Questionnaire’s score indicated by participants Qualitative t-test and p-values
Family size Number of people in a family Questionnaire’s score indicated by participants Qualitative t-test and p-values


Questionnaire. The qualitative questionnaire will be used for enabling the statistical interpretation of key findings. The demographic questionnaire will be used with questions designed by the researcher to assess perceptions of food and nutrition among the target population. The questionnaire will be evaluated with the help of standard statistical methods. The percentages of respondents selected a specific answer will be specified. On this basis, the assumptions about the potential relationships between factors and effects will be formulated (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). It will also be possible to utilise the relevant statistical tests for determining the significance of the observed patterns and the possibility of their generalisations. Apart from the questions in the appendix below, the above questions will be used by the researcher to gain more understanding about the topic of discussion and whether the researcher has the indications of the consistent application. The consistent application of statistical tests will allow ensuring the maximum degree of reliability and validity (Polit & Beck, 2017). Only conclusions confirmed to be statistically significant will be used in the subsequent analysis (Reed, 2017). See Appendix B.

They are establishing trustworthiness. Audio tapes will be used to record interviews and code names starting at 001, 002, etc. will be used to label each tape to ensure patient confidentiality. Audio tapes and all transcriptions will be stored behind two locked doors, namely locked in a filing cabinet behind a locked door in an upstairs office in my home. I am the only person that enters that room, and it is the only upstairs bonus room. An outside auditor will be used to assure the credibility and trustworthiness of the findings. This will provide opportunities for the research process and findings to be challenged whenever necessary to ensure optimal research findings based on objectivity and non-bias, allowing the researcher an opportunity to summarise preliminary findings and assess the adequacy of data and preliminary results (Connelly, 2016).

Focus group variables. It is the qualitative aspect of the study that includes the following elements.

Site selection. One primary care clinic from two different socio-economic areas within Columbia, South Carolina to get a diverse perspective.

Focus group questionnaire. The focus group questionnaire will include a number of precise questions related to the dominant food habits as well as the views affected by their local community or the mainstream society.

Focus group notes. It is also necessary to provide additional notes and specifications regarding the responses provided by participants and their feedback. It will allow assessing the possibility of extrapolating the obtained findings to the broader audience.

They are demonstrating trustworthiness. Lincoln and Guba (1985) suggest four serious measures to be considered in establishing the trustworthiness of a qualitative study, which is credibility, dependability, confirmability, and transferability. A computer software program for content and thematic analysis such as IntellectusStatistics may be used to assist with data analysis and help organise multiple interview data and analyse open-ended replies. This computer software also makes sense of findings in chart and graph form which will be used to demonstrate research findings in a systematic format and to ensure validity. T-test and p-values will be used to validate research findings.

Plans and Procedures

The Rosswurm and Larrabee Model for Evidence-Based Practice Change will be used to direct the application of this academic project (Larrabee, 2009), which uses a plan with six steps to direct the execution of EBP project.

Plan and Procedures


The determination of the sample size for this research is focused on several criteria that have to be met (Patton, 1987).  These criteria include the study purpose and the importance of having to achieve the situation and the number of people that are needed for the interviewing process (Verstraeten, Van Royen, Ochoa-Aviles, Penafiel, Holdsworth, et al. 2014).  The redundancy of the content is also crucial as it has to be focused on the methods brought by the researcher. This study brought about the various range of procedures that can be achieved by determining the sufficient number. Because of the general aim of assessing the preferences,  the sensitive topics have to be considered (Deliens, Clarys, De Bourdeaudhuij and Deforche, 2014). Based on the user characteristics,  the census tracts the circumstances of the neighbourhoods and the recruitment area as well.

The researcher must therefore agree to the presented saturation that has to be achieved based on the themes that are in the barriers (Stevenson, Doherty, Barnett, Muldoon, Trew, 2007). Focused group research also eliminated the problems that come with focused groups.

The selected evidence-based change model is the Rosswurm and Larrabee Model for Evidence-Based Practice Change. The reason is that it includes some interrelated steps that allow achieving the maximum practical impact on the target audience (Larrabee, 2009).

Step 1: Assessing the need for change in practice including the positions of all stakeholders. It is necessary to arrive at the consensus regarding the need to find new modes of interventions regarding African Americans’ food habits.

Step 2: Locating the best evidence and identifying the source of evidence. It is reasonable to utilise empirical data for evaluating the available evidence.

Step 3: Critically analysing evidence and specifying their corresponding weight. It is necessary to combine both qualitative and statistical methods for making the ultimate conclusions.

Step 4: Designing practice change and identifying the required resources. On the basis of the performed analysis, concrete suggestions about the adjustments in practice will be formulated.

Step 5: Implementing and evaluating the ultimate change in practice. The suggestions should be applied to adjusting the food intake patterns of many African American adults (although their voluntary agreement should necessarily be obtained).

Step 6: Integrating and maintaining change in practice including the close monitoring of the entire process. The change in practice can be promoted by the well-integrated interventions and the relevant adjustments made to the reactions and responses of different individuals.

It is also necessary to adequately measure the ultimate achievements and outcomes. It is possible to utilise t-tests, and p-values for confirming the statistical significance of potential improvements to be achieved after the suggested adjustments in nutrition patterns are introduced (Polit & Beck, 2017). It is also possible to combine both the objective indicators of respondents’ health and their subjective responses about their health conditions and satisfaction. In this way, well-supported conclusions can be made.

Data will be gathered by using the questionnaire with the set of questions about the cultural influences of African Americans’ food consumption choices as well as their openness to adjust their current nutrition patterns if the sufficient evidence and support are provided. The structured interviews will be provided throughout the country to generate a sufficient sample for making the well-supported conclusion about the structure of African American adults’ food consumption priorities. The maximum confidentiality should be ensured for all participants. They should also be able to suspend their participation in the data collection procedure at any moment. The high-qualified assistants should respond to any questions regarding the ultimate objectives of research or clarify any questions if it is needed. After all, data are collected, they will be systematised in a way to enable the subsequent aggregated analysis while at the same time maintaining the maximum degree of privacy and confidentiality (Hupp, 2017).

People responsible for data collection will not participate in the analysis to avoid any biases or unsupported assumptions. All participants will have 30 minutes for completing the questionnaire (although they will be able to complete it earlier). The multiple-choice questions will be obligatory for all respondents. At the same time, they will be able to decide whether to respond to open-ended questions or not. This information will be important for gaining additional understanding of the reasons for people’s food choices and potential interventions to be selected. Overall, the selected methods appear to be relevant to analysing the examined research question. The data collected have to meet the conditions that had been set by the researcher to guarantee consistency which is a key issue in academic research (Byker,  Pinard, Yaroch andSerrano 2013).


Data analysis

This research project will utilise qualitative data analysis to present findings.

Statistical data analysis. It will be performed on the basis of applying the relevant statistical tests to the target population. In addition, the questionnaire will be designed to enable further assessments. Data analysis refers to the process of getting the meaning of the data that have been providing by the participants. The data can be analysed in the form of the table or in the form of a pie chart where the researcher can make the meaning of the provided information (Nago Verstraeten, Lachat, Dossa and Kolsteren, 2012).

Qualitative data analysis. The Colaizzi method will be used to analyse data obtained during focus group discussions (Polit & Beck, 2017). The seven steps in the Colaizzi method are:

  1. Read all protocols to acquire a feeling for them.
  2. Review each protocol and extract a significant statement.
  3. Spell out the meaning of each significant statement (i.e. formulate meanings).
  4. Organise the formulated meanings into clusters of themes. a) Refer these clusters back to the original protocols to validate them. b) Note discrepancies among or between the various clusters, avoiding the temptation of ignoring data or themes that do not fit.
  5. Integrate results into an exhaustive description of the phenomenon under study.
  6. Formulate an exhaustive description of the phenomenon under study in as unequivocal a statement as possible.
  7. Ask participants about the findings thus far as a final validating step.

All of the above steps will be consistently applied to the target population of African Americans.

Time Table

The time table for the scholarly proposal is provided in Table 3.

Table 3

The timetable for Scholarly Proposal

Month/Year Step
November 2019 Review planning including specification of resources needed
December – February 2020 Organising the training for personnel involved in data collection and analysis; developing and revising questionnaire if needed
March-May, 2020 Conducting the primary data collection
July – September 2020 Analysing the obtained data
October – November 2020 Making conclusions and implications


The main limitation of the study refers to the limited sample and statistical risks associated with utilising the obtained findings. The study is also largely based on the subjective perceptions of adult African Americans regarding their food habits, and it may be biased to some degree. The number of the units of analysis you use in your study is dictated by the type of research problem you are investigating. Research limitation shave o be identified because they show that the researcher have identified the potential problems that make the research unworthy of the trust from the peer reviewers (Molaison, Connell, Stuff, Yadrinck and, Bogle, 2005).


Sample size:  the number of participants and the individual data collected in this study has been dictated by the qualitative research question being investigated, bearing in mind that they generally require smaller sample sizes in qualitative research.

Self-reported data. The main limitation of the study refers to the limited sample and statistical risks associated with utilising the obtained findings. The study is also largely based on the subjective perceptions of adult African Americans regarding their food habits, and it may be biased to some degree. The application of self-reported data may be limiting as it almost can never be independently verified. Participants responses during interviews or on questionnaires have to be taken at face value opening the possibility to several potential sources of bias, which may be noted if responses are different from data collected from sources of the same topic.


The study can be generalised to the broader population of African Americans based on the obtained findings and results of statistical analysis. For example, with the likelihood of 95%, some food-related implications can be made. In addition, the recommendations about the way to affect nutrition patterns can also be generalised but with the specification of statistical reliability. The African America population have to continuously wat their diets especially with the cases of obesity and illnesses that come from poor diets increases (HEALTHY Study Group et al. 2012). With the continuous focus on the categories of healthcare demands, it is difficult to focus on the right diet for African Americans. The opinions that people have on the African Americans on their diets also varies with other things such as the places where they come from (Campbell, 2009). For those that depend on first food, it becomes difficult to have the right strategies and mindset of the right and healthy diet (Wang, Jahns, Tussing-Hymphreys, Xie, Rockett, et al. 2010). A healthy diet also calls for the right amount of resource as most of these foods are expensive for many people (Contento, Manning, and Shannon, 1992). This methodology has given the researcher the right basis and the foundations that can be used in building upon this research.




The methodological aspects are highly important for organising the research process in an optimal way. It is necessary to ensure that research methods adequately correspond to the formulated goals and objectives. In the present study, qualitative research methods will be used with the elements of qualitative research. The questionnaire will be designed in a way that will enable the application of such methods with statistically significant results. The focused groups will be used for collecting primary data about food perception and habits among African Americans. The correct application of the research methods will allow properly generalising the obtained findings to the broader population.









Appendix A

Appendix B


Connelly, L. M. (2016). Understanding Research. Trustworthiness in Qualitative Research.

MEDSURG Nursing, 25(6), 435–436. Retrieved from

Cordner, A., Klein, P. T., & Baiocchi, G. (2012). Co-Designing and Co-Teaching Graduate

Qualitative Methods: An Innovative Ethnographic Workshop Model. Teaching Sociology, 40(3), 215–226. Retrieved from url=

Hupp, J. R. (2017). Evidence-based practice: Research opportunities. Journal of Oral and

Maxillofacial Surgery, 75(5), 881-882. doi:10.1016/j.joms.2017.03.001

Larrabee, J. H. (2009). Nurse to nurse Evidence-based practice. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Lincoln, S., & Guba, E. G. (1985). Naturalistic inquiry. SAGE Publications.

Ottrey, E., Jong, J., & Porter, J. (2018). Ethnography in Nutrition and Dietetics Research: A

Systematic Review. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Polit, D.F., & Beck, C.T. (2017) Nursing research generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. 10th Edition. Wolters Kluwer.

Reed, P. G. (2017). Translating the nursing philosophy for practice and healthcare policy. Nursing

Science Quarterly, 30(3), 260-261. doi:10.1177/0894318417711763

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