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2004 - 2nd Annual Scientific Meeting & Workshop

"Achieving Healthy Weight in African American Communities"

In August 2004, AACORN convened an interdisciplinary workshop on "Achieving Healthy Weight in African American Communities" to begin a process of defining broader frameworks for obesity research in African American communities, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity, the workshop sponsor. Participants included researchers, research trainees, and community partners engaged in food intake, physical activity, or obesity research or programs in African American communities, several CDC staff, and others who were from research funding organizations. Presentations from disciplinary perspectives not usually present at scientific meetings on obesity included: "Historical and Contemporary Sociological Factors Influencing African American Life"; "Expressions of African American Life in Literary Works"; "Spiritual and Philosophical Underpinnings of African American Cultural Values", and "The Collective Psyche of African Americans".

Findings were synthesized under five overarching themes:

  • Understanding the context of African American community and family life
  • Considering African American history and core values
  • Engaging communities in identifying determinants and developing solutions
  • Employing qualitative and non-traditional methodologies to understand issues and identify solutions
  • Critical directions for future weight, eating, and physical activity research in African American communities

Overall, the workshop planted the seeds for transdiscplinary research to challenge the primarily biomedical paradigm still used to study obesity, food intake, and physical activity, and pointed to potential directions for researchers and community partners who study these topics--particularly those who focus on health disparities. The findings add structure and detail to the previously developed AACORN research agenda particularly with respect to convening multidisciplinary experts and supporting multi-institutional and interdisciplinary collaborations and also help to define the research that African American scholars in fields related to obesity feel uniquely suited to conduct.

Download the workshop proceedings [PDF]