Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Robert Esenberg

Committee Member

Shery Bennett

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


This applied dissertation was developed to determine if seven motivational group sessions would improve minority female high school students’ perceptions toward and knowledge of healthy lifestyle behaviors. The target population for this study was 15 female minority students ages 15-18 who attended a large urban high school and had a body mass index greater than 30.

Participants completed the Healthy Lifestyle Beliefs Scale for Teens and maintained a personal food journal. Within their personal food journals, participants listed the types and amounts of both foods they ate and beverages they consumed over two three-day periods. Participants also were supposed to answer six open-ended questions during week 1 and week 7 of this study; however, they completed the wrong set of open-ended questions, and the researcher was unable to collect this information.

This researcher compared participants’ week 1 and week 7 composite scores on the Healthy Lifestyle Beliefs Scale and determined if their eating habits and food choices improved from the week 3motivational session to the week 7 motivational session. There was a statistically significant improvement in participants’ perceptions of healthy eating behaviors from the preintervention phase to the postintervention phase: t(9) = 5.28, p = 0.001 (two-tailed value); however, they did not demonstrate a statistically significant improvement in their eating habits from week 3 to week 7: t(14) = 0.61, p = 0.55 (two-tailed value).

By participating in the intervention, participants increased their knowledge of healthy eating habits but not their ability to apply their knowledge. Future researchers should conduct a similar study and compare participants’ postintervention and preintervention bodymass indexes. Future research should also expand the scope of this study by having participants participate in a moderately rigorous physical activity.