A Systematic Review of Literature on Culturally Adapted Obesity Prevention Interventions for African American Youth

J Sch Nurs. 2016 Feb;32(1):32-46. doi: 10.1177/1059840515605508. Epub 2015 Sep 21.


Obesity and overweight prevalence in African American (AA) youth continues to be one of the highest of all major ethnic groups, which has led researchers to pursue culturally based approaches as a means to improve obesity prevention interventions. The purpose of this systematic review was to evaluate culturally adapted obesity prevention interventions targeting AA youth. A search of electronic databases, limited to multicomponent culturally adapted obesity prevention controlled trials from 2003 to 2013, was conducted for key terms. Eleven studies met inclusion criteria. We used the PEN-3 model to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of interventions as well as to identify cultural adaptation strategies. The PEN-3 model highlighted the value of designing joint parent-youth interventions, building a relationship between AA mentors and youth, and emphasizing healthful activities that the youth preferred. The PEN-3 model shows promise as an overarching framework to develop culturally adapted obesity interventions.

Keywords: cultural issues; health/wellness; integrative reviews; obesity.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Black or African American*
  • Culturally Competent Care / methods*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • School Nursing