African-American Children from Low-Income Families Want to Engage in Healthy Behaviors, Research Indicates

Results of an Undergraduate Study to Be Presented at Upcoming CDC Conference in Atlanta

Hyunmin Lee
Hyunmin Lee

Columbia, Mo. (July 28, 2010) — Low-income African-American children living in public housing would like to be encouraged to engage in healthy behaviors by parents and friends, according to a spring 2010 research project conducted by Missouri School of Journalism undergraduate students.

The study, funded by the Missouri Foundation for Health, will be presented at the 4th National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Aug. 17-19 in Atlanta.

The research aimed to understand how low-income African-American residents, primarily children, living in public housing facilities in Columbia, Mo., define health and what they perceive as constraints from engaging in healthy lifestyles. The seniors in a strategic communication capstone course taught by doctoral student Hyunmin Lee collected data to evaluate the programs and create strategies for a social marketing campaign.

“Findings from seven focus groups with 10 adults and 30 children revealed children think being healthy mainly has to do with diet, lifestyle habits, quality of life and physical appearance.”

Findings from seven focus groups with 10 adults and 30 children revealed children think being healthy mainly has to do with diet, lifestyle habits, quality of life and physical appearance. Lee will present the collective work to individuals representing academia, public health researchers and practitioners from federal and state government and the private sector.

Strategic Campaign Capstone Class
Students from Hyunmin Lee’s strategic communication capstone class pose for a group photo after their client presentation.

The results of this project will provide public health administrators with information about what residents in public housing communities think are the main threats and obstacles for engaging in healthy life. Findings pertaining to preferred communication sources and channels also will allow practitioners to identify and utilize effective spokesperson through effective communication channel to disseminate necessary health-related information.

“I am extremely proud that our students were able to apply theory-driven research for a strategic campaign for the clients, and that their work is going to be recognized at such a prestigious conference,” said Lee, who is also part of the School’s Health Communication Research Center.

The students were thrilled to learn that their work would receive national attention.

“This capstone course was more time-consuming and challenging than we had ever imagined. Being basically thrown into a working advertising agency environment with a real client gives you no room to slack or take a breather, but it tests you and makes certain that you apply your strat comm knowledge,” said Emily Burchwell, who acted as the account executive and team leader for the class project. “When we received word that we were accepted to the national conference and were slated to present, we could not believe the amazing news.”

About HCRC

The Health Communication Research Center is a grant-funded center based in the journalism school. Its primary mission is to foster interdisciplinary research to improve communication between the health care community and the public. The center capitalizes on the University of Missouri‘s strengths in health care outreach, education and prevention.

Updated: May 13, 2020

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