Background: African American youth (aged 8-14 years) do not adhere to national dietary and physical activity guidelines. Nonadherence to these recommendations contributes to disproportionate rates of obesity compared with their white counterparts. Culturally tailored electronic health (eHealth) solutions are needed to communicate nutrition and physical activity messages that resonate with this target population. Objective: This study aimed to identify the impact of exposure to a website hosting culturally tailored cartoons to inspire fruit and vegetable uptake and physical activity levels in African American mother-child dyads. Methods: Statistical analysis included paired sample t tests to evaluate knowledge gains, self-efficacy, and readiness to change. Adapted items from Prochaska's Stages of Change toward the following 4 behaviors were assessed with pre- and posttest surveys: (1) fruit and vegetable selection on my plate, (2) meal preparation, (3) fruit and vegetable selection outside of home, and (4) physical activity. Open-ended comments on videos from mother-child dyads were used to determine user acceptance. Observations of repeated responses during content analysis informed coding and development of key themes. Results: A final sample size of 93 mother-child dyads completed the study. Mothers reported significant improvement from precontemplation or contemplation stages to preparation or action stages for (1) fruit and vegetable selection on her plate (P=.03), (2) meal preparation for her family (P=.01), (3) fruit and vegetable selection outside the home (P<.001), and (4) physical activity (P<.001). Significant improvements were found in knowledge, stage of change, and self-efficacy for the 4 target behaviors of interest (P<.001). Children's open-ended commentary reported vicarious learning and positive character identification with brown-skinned cartoons exhibiting healthful food and exercise behaviors. Mothers commented on the lack of accessible produce in their neighborhoods not depicted in the cartoon videos. Conclusions: Culturally adapted cartoons that incorporate tailored preferences by African American families, such as race or demography, may help increase adherence to target health behaviors when developing eHealth behavior solutions.
Chung, A., Wallace, B., Stanton-Koko, M., Seixas, A., & Jean-Louis, G. (2019). Feasibility and acceptability of a culturally tailored website to increase fruit and vegetable intake and physical activity levels in african American mother-child dyads: Observational study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(3). https://doi.org/10.2196/12501