Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Nutrition and Food Systems

Committee Chair

Holly Huye

Committee Chair Department

Nutrition and Food Systems

Committee Member 2

Carol Connell

Committee Member 2 Department

Nutrition and Food Systems

Committee Member 3

Alicia Landry

Committee Member 3 Department

Nutrition and Food Systems


The Lower Mississippi Delta (LMD) region has a large minority population with concentrations of poverty and health disparities much higher than other parts of the country. The purpose of this project was to assess the health perceptions of minority women living in the LMD using a combination of PhotoVoice and journal reflections. After an initial interview, 10 women were provided digital cameras and asked to take photographs that reflected the health of their communities. A final interview was conducted to glean more information from the women about their photographs. Seven Black women and two Latinas completed the study. The photographs, journal reflections, and transcripts collected during the study were analyzed using grounded theory principles. The core category identified by the researchers was Hope for a Healthy Future. The participants were optimistic about the future of the LMD and were striving to attain the Ideal Healthy Community, which consisted of five pillars: Access to Healthy Food, Nutrition Education, Physical Activity, Safety and Cleanliness, and Role Models. Participants identified barriers and facilitators to each of these pillars in their communities. The primary facilitator to health was Spiritual, Familial, and Community Ties. The primary barrier to health was Resistance to Change. Overall, striving towards the Ideal Healthy Community was a source of participants’ Hope for a Healthy Future. Findings from this study can be used to further understand the health-related needs of minorities in the LMD and to advocate for positive change in LMD communities.